“Rookie Blue” star Charlotte Sullivan talks playing gay cop Gail Peck

Rookie Blue’s Gail Peck may be a hard-ass, but Charlotte Sullivan who plays her is an absolute sweetheart. Last season Gail fell for Holly (Aliyah O’Brien), only to have her heart broken. This season we’ve seen Gail heavily involved in an adoption storyline and some family drama, but, yes, she’s still gay.

Ahead of the Rookie Blue season finale that airs in Canada next Wednesday, Charlotte spoke with us about pushing for her character to be gay, her thoughts on Holly and Gail, her storyline this season, and just how awesome her gay fans are.


AfterEllen.com: So I did have the pleasure of speaking with Tassie Cameron a while back, and she told me that you always thought Gail was gay. Is that true, you always kind of knew? And if it is, why did you think that?

Charlotte Sullivan: It was probably, I think it was like five years ago. I sort of said, “Tassie, like, am I gay?” And she said, “No.” I’m like, “Are you sure?”

I just felt there were these undertones in the script that kind of alluded to her sexuality. And certainly she wasn’t connecting – not that you need to connect with men properly, you know, just to be heterosexual. But I just felt like–I even felt there were jokes in there that were kind of like, “Are they making fun of my sexuality? What’s happening here?” And so she said, “Absolutely not. That’s not what we had planned for you.” For whatever reason, that little bug kind of stuck in her ear, and she loved the idea.

The thing that bothers me with this sort of TV is they always have to remind the audience that I’m gay. I’m not talking about Gail Peck, I’m just talking in general. Gay characters really have to have this kind of coming out sort of scenario, and I just don’t feel – it’s so normal, it’s so regular, that why can’t it just be? Like I certainly as a heterosexual person did not have to come out and declare my heterosexuality to my friends and family. So why should you have to do that as a gay person? And so I really admired the way Rookie Blue handled it. We didn’t have this big coming out party.

We have a lot of gay writers on our show, and I felt they just handled it really beautifully. But what I don’t like about most shows when they’re dealing with sexuality is they just kind of have to beat it over the head with the audience, like constantly remind the audience that this person’s gay. It’s like, why can’t a person just be a person? It’s sort of a slap in the face to the gay community, I feel. It’s like let them be gay on TV. Who cares?

But I think it’s also really important to be represented on television, and that’s where I was really happy to do that. Because it creates all these different layers for my character. It’s like oh my god, that makes her even more loveable to me.


AE: You also did away with that question by giving Gail a very gay haircut. But I heard that was because you needed it, correct?

CS: That was not a gay choice on our end. That was simply a matter of peroxide gone on too long, and my hair fell out. Like that’s really what happened.


AE: It’s a good look on you. It went hand in hand, by coincidence, with Gail’s transformation.

CS: It’s sort of weird how that worked out.


AE: I have to ask you about Holly and Gail. What did you think of their relationship?

CS: First of all, I love Aliyah O’Brien. She’s an amazing, amazing human. And I have such a beautiful connection with her, and getting to work with her was really such a wonderful surprise. And I loved their relationship. I mean Gail obviously always runs, she’s like a runner. I wish certainly that we had had more time to delve into that relationship.

The reason that we couldn’t really focus and delve deep into the Holly relationship was because Aliyah was based in Vancouver, and our show shoots in Toronto. So it’s really a logistics thing, which is kind of heartbreaking. But yeah, I really wish that we had gone on and it kept going and going and going. That would have been my favorite part of it.

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AE: So would you like Gail to pursue another serious girlfriend, or like a lot of us are you waiting for Holly to come back?

CS: Well I mean, I think there’s nothing wrong with having some fun and going out there and seeing what else it out there. But at the end of the day, I think it was Holly–for me. I did. I really loved that relationship.