For Jay Ryan, “Mary Kills People” is a far cry from “Beauty and the Beast,” but it's yielding its own rewards for him.
Among those are big changes for his character in Season 2 of the Canadian-made Lifetime series, which begins today. Caroline Dhavernas returns as the title character, a doctor who secretly deals in assisted suicide, with Ryan as a police detective who caught on to her and her once-and-again partner in death dealing (Richard Short). Rachelle Lefevre (“Under the Dome”) joins the show for its sophomore round of six episodes.
Ryan's Ben Wesley ended Season 1 by meting out death himself, and Lefevre plays the sister of his victim Grady, who supplied drugs to Mary and Des (Short). Reflecting that the series “raises all these different questions,” the friendly Ryan notes that it still encompasses “many pillars of what makes great drama ... lots of conflict, unrequited love, et cetera.
“This is a really nail-biting kind of show that the creators (including literal series creator Tara Armstrong and executive producer Tassie Cameron) have made. I have this bad habit of actually biting my nails, but that's how thrilling it is that those who surround Mary all have such power struggles. They're living in danger, with a lot on the line. I think these are characters that viewers can identify with.”
Ben is one of them, in Ryan's view: “He's a man of many masks. He likes to hide behind roles, and that makes him feel safe and secure – but as he delved into Mary's world a bit more, those masks slipped away. In Season 2, Ben has put all of that behind him. He realizes he crossed a line and almost lost his job, and he's a bit of a lost soul again. He's on another case, and he doesn't expect to run into Mary at all. Of course, she's involved, and we see which one is going to jump back from the flame first.”
Though his “Mary Kills People” work is vastly different from his four seasons as the troubled, romantic Vincent opposite Kristin Kreuk on “Beauty and the Beast,” New Zealand native Ryan appreciates the ongoing support of that former CW show's devotees.