EXCLUSIVE | Burden of Truth's Sera-Lys McArthur teases Kodie's future in Season 3 as bond with Joanna thins
Spoilers for 'Burden of Truth' Season 3 Episode 5
At the center of 'Burden of Truth' Season 3 as Joanna Chang (Kristin Kreuk) and Billy Crawford's (Peter Mooney) biggest case this season, is Kodie Chartrand, played by Sera-Lys McArthur. We meet Kodie in the Season 3 premiere at Joanna's high school reunion and soon it is established that they go way, way back. Joanna is still indebted to Kodie for some childhood favorites, so the very next moment, when Kodie's world comes crashing down, who else is her guiding light but Joanna. Season 3 has been all about Kodie's ongoing custody battle for her two young daughters, and as a former addict, her struggle has been laced with bias and the authorities trying to frame her. But even with an ever twisted emotionally rife plot, if you ask McArthur about her experience playing the role, she'll insist it's nothing but rewarding.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) caught up with McArthur as her CBC show began airing its third season on The CW. "I am still trying to make the best of it, though it has been quite trying," McArthur says about life in the lockdown. But taking out time from her busy schedule producing feature-length screenplays, she teases her complex character's ever meandering arc in the coming episodes. "At this point in the series, Kodie still doesn't know who the person is who's out to get her, or why," she tells us right as viewers learn Kodie might not be the only mother being framed in this twisted game for money.
"Playing Kodie was such a gift as an actor," McArthur notes, adding: "She is larger than life, grounded, strong, fun, and real fighter. She experiences a full gamut of emotions. Almost as soon as we meet her, she is thrown into the worst situation she can imagine, and she goes through every tactic imaginable to try and get out of it." She explains her instant connection with her on-screen role saying: "She reminded me of cousins and friends I grew up around. I know people who have had similar struggles and I am aware of systemic societal discrimination seeming to unfairly affect their lives. I also was raised with my younger brother by our single mother, so I know first-hand the struggles involved in raising kids on your own, even if it was from the child's perspective. I really felt like I could fight for this character because she felt like a real person to me."
"She feels like she's being attacked by someone, but she doesn't know who. Kodie is desperate to get her girls back and is trying to take Joanna's advice and play by the rules, but she believes the deck has been stacked against her. She's at the point where she wants to take matters into her own hands and do what she believes is best for her family," McArthur explains Kodie's dilemma, and her increasingly risky steps so far in the custody battle.
This run and chase landed Kodie's kids in foster care after fake complaints of negligence and fake positive drug tests. And while Kodie's constant support has been Joanna, Kodie doesn't quite trust in her abilities to get her kids back. As the case keeps twisting, Kodie's desperation sees her kidnap her kids and violate custody agreement, and before that, she had even fired Joanna once. Kodie's frustrated mother's agony leads her to constantly doubt and blame Joanna, hinting a possible breach in their long term friendship that has weathered many storms.
"I can say at this point in the season that yes, it does (cause a riff)", McArthur teases about the impact of Kodie's decisions on the friendship. "It was a really lovely relationship to navigate, she adds, noting that "It's not very often that female friendships are shown as much light in television stories. And yet, they are such important, nuanced relationships in real women's lives." Having been drawn to the role for the opportunity to work with Kreuk, McArthur notes, "It was really refreshing to portray. Kristin and I happily have really great chemistry as actors. She is a consummate professional, always prepared, and sets an excellent example for the rest of the cast and crew. It definitely wasn't a stretch to play a character who had respect and admiration toward her."
But Kodie's story is, first and foremost, more than what Joanna owes her. The story is about a woman landing in all the wrong scenarios and making bad decisions because there wasn't anyone to tell her otherwise. And for anybody struggling the Kodie has with a tumultuous past and substance abuse, McArthur believes "love and time can heal all wounds. Children want to look up to their parents as role models. 'Cleaning up your side of the street' will set a great example for them, and they too will benefit from your journey to sobriety. It will have a chain reaction into their future lives and relationships.
As for viewers, she hopes that "they see that families come in all different sizes and forms, and how valuable it is to love and support one another. In many ways, that is more valuable than having monetary wealth. I hope that they will see how important it is to fight for what you believe is right, even when it seems like no one else is on your side."
'Burden of Truth' Season 3 airs on Thursdays at 8 pm on The CW.