Lesbian TV writer Noelle Carbone on writing for gay cop Gail Peck on “Rookie Blue”

AE: As for the Gail adopting a child storyline, was that planned for a long time or was it born of Holly being out of the picture?

NC: If memory serves, the storyline about Gail adopting a child was born from seeing how wonderful Charlotte’s performance was when she first met Sophie. We all saw something there that was special and unexpected. It wasn’t at all related to her storyline with Holly. If Holly had still been in the world, the adoption story may have played out differently and caused different conflict. But it would’ve happened regardless.

And our American viewers can see how that story plays out this Thursday on ABC. It’s the last episode of Rookie Blue I wrote and it’s my favorite. So many great performances, including Charlotte in the adoption storyline.

 

AE: So when you are writing for that week’s episode, do you find yourself trying to give Gail more lines? Because that is basically what we all want.

NC: [Laughs] Oh, me too. I’m always angling for more Gail because she’s just so damn fun to write. Imagine you could go through the world saying whatever you wanted without fearing the repercussions. That’s what writing for Gail is like. Pure wish fulfillment.

 

AE: We are all hoping the show gets picked up for another season and if it does, would you rather see Gail navigating through a relationship or single and in the dating scene?

NC: Hmmmm…I think Gail playing the field would be comedy gold. But ultimately what would be more satisfying–because I think it’s what Gail truly wants–is for Gail to find her “person” and to start building her life with that person. Then again, maybe Gail’s already found her person and Gail just needs to convince her to move back to Toronto so they can give it another shot. Not that I have anyone particular in mind. How’s that for subtle?

rookie-blue-invu-charlotte-aliyah_560x560

AE: [laughs] Very “subtle,” Noelle! Now, you also write for Saving Hope. Last season had a kissing scene between Maggie and Sydney. Did these women officially come out as queer?

NC: Last season Waneta Storms–yes, that’s her real name–wrote a gorgeous, heart-wrenching episode of Saving Hope wherein one of the doctors, Sydney Katz, who happens to be an Orthodox Jew, had to deliver a baby for a lesbian couple. And the woman giving birth turned out to be a childhood friend that Sydney outed when they were kids. That girl was then shunned from their community leaving Sydney to grapple with her guilt–and her own internalized homophobia. In the episode, Sydney shares that struggle with her fellow doctor, Maggie, and the two ultimately find themselves in bed together. (Well, it was a cot. But you get the picture.) I wasn’t in the story room at the time but I thought the writers did a wonderful job with that story. Sydney ultimately accepted her sexuality and broke up with her fiancé–the man everyone expected her to marry. And Maggie just kept being Maggie. She didn’t have a giant existential crisis about whether or not being with Sydney that one time made her a lesbian or not.

maggie

AE: So can we expect to see more of them or any queer women on this show?

NC: Coming into Season 4, we talked a lot about the Sydney/Maggie dynamic. Unfortunately, the amazing actress who plays Sydney (Stacey Farber) wasn’t available to us at the beginning of this season so we couldn’t really explore that relationship. But we did talk a lot about what it meant for Maggie–whether or not that made her queer. For me, the way it played out on screen last season, sleeping with Sydney seemed like something Maggie did in that moment because she felt a real connection with Sydney. It wasn’t necessarily a sexual awakening that was going to launch Maggie into a series of lesbian romances. Hopefully her schedule frees up because we’d all love to see Sydney back–and see more of her sparky dynamic with Maggie, whatever comes of it.

All that being said, the Maggie/Sydney season 3 story was a lovely, heartfelt, fun, poignant story about sexuality and culture and friendship and connection. I thought it was really beautiful.

 

AE: Can we count on you to continue to write queer female characters in television?

NC: God, I hope so!  Presuming I’m employable after this interview. In all seriousness, it would be an absolute dream if my daughter grew up in a world where race, creed, gender and sexuality were no longer character traits that demand debate and discussion around a story room table. I think we’re a long way off from that but I do think we’re making strides in the right direction. And I have hope that by the time my kid is old enough to watch prime time TV, two girls kissing will be as commonplace as the car commercials that run in between smooches.

 

Rookie Blue airs this Thursday at 10/9c on ABC. Saving Hope premieres in Canada on Thursday, September 24 at 9PM ET on CTV. You can follow Noelle on Twitter: @noelcarbs

Follow Erin Faith Wilson on Twitter: @erinfaithwilson