The new romantic drama “Cedar Cove” premieres Saturday night on the Hallmark Channel. Based on a series of best selling books by Debbie Macomber, it is a gentle, wholesome saga about the residents of a town that is every bit as quirky as “Hart of Dixie’s” Blu Bell or “Gilmore Girls” Stars Hollow. The pilot features a seagull calling contest and a fisherman who only catches inanimate objects. At the center of it all is judge Olivia Lockhart (Andie MacDowell) who uses her position to help her neighbors by rendering judgments based on her beliefs as well as the law. But Olivia has a few problems of her own to solve, like her attraction to the town’s pushy new newspaper editor, Jack. McDowell revealed why the triangle is the most popular shape in Cedar Cove, how Olivia becomes more human over the course of the show and which two men have a claim on her character’s heart.
How would you describe your character Olivia?
Olivia is the core of the cast, the moral compass. She has the ability to connect to people, to help people. In the pilot, she helps a young couple that wants a divorce. Ultimately, I don’t want to spoil the whole story, but she transforms their life.
In the pilot, Olivia seems like a nearly perfect character. She always does the right thing throughout the episode. Will she develop more flaws as the series progresses?
[The series] started off with a lot of Olivia in the courtroom, how she’s communicating, what she does to help other people. But as [the show] draws along, to [focus on] her other relationships, you start to see her as more human. You see the loss of her son and her relationship with her husband that she divorced and with Jack (Dylan Neal) and you see other more human qualities for Olivia – less of her work as a judge and more of her as a person.
Watch the First 10 Minutes of “Cedar Cove” Here:
She and Jack have an immediate connection. How is their relationship going to develop?
It’s the first relationship that Olivia has had since she got a divorce. It is complex because Jack has a history. He had a drinking problem in the past. That is revealed to her over the series, and the issues that he carries with that, the pain that he carries, he starts to reveal on another level. It’s interesting the whole triangle that will happen with her ex-husband and Jack and her ability to be able to fall in love with Jack if that happens.
When are we going to meet her ex-husband? Who’s going to play him?
Andrew Airlie plays [Olivia's ex] Stan and he’s a wonderful actor. It’s interesting. He has different layers that he has to play because you like Stan and you don’t like him at the same time. So there’s that complex part of his personality. [Airlie] has done a really good job with Stan of showing his sensitivity and that at the same time there’s going to have to be an element to this person that is misleading. We have a great scene tomorrow that I need to learn. It will be interesting to see what he does with it.
Watch a Special Message From Andie MacDowell:
What about Olivia’s daughter Justine? In the pilot she seems to end her relationship with her older boyfriend Warren and reconnects with a fisherman named Bobby. Is she completely done with Warren?
No, she’s not. There’s a love triangle there as well with Bobby [Ian Tracey] and Warren [Brennan Elliot]. That’s taken from the book but it’s really interesting. I’m looking forward to seeing what Brennan does with it. [Warren] gets sick and you start to see his vulnerable side that you don’t see very often. I haven’t seen it at all. I was asking Sarah [Smyth] who plays my daughter Justine about that and it’s been really interesting for her because now there’s this whole other part which I think is important for Warren. I need to understand why my daughter’s attracted to him. To see all that you have to show someone’s good side. But Bobby is definitely going to be the one everybody’s rooting for probably. He’s sort of the all-American healthy, relatable, not greedy while Warren is definitely all about money. He has a lot of good characteristics.
“Cedar Cove” premieres Saturday, July 20 at 8/7c on the Hallmark Channel.