Canadian television network CTV recently announced that it had renewed Transplant, Canada’s most-watched drama series, for a third season. Here in the United States, NBC just premiered the second season of the series after a very successful first season on the network.
The series follows Dr. Bashir “Bash” Hamed who arrived from war torn Syria to Canada to build a better life for him and his sister as well as continue his work in medicine. One of the other main characters of the series is Dr. Magalie “Mags” Leblanc, played by the wonderfully talented Laurence Leboeuf.
Mags is a driven and dedicated doctor who in the first season of the series had a very difficult time separating work and home, mainly because of the extra care and attention she gives to her patients.
We sat down with Laurence to talk about the success of the first season on NBC, if we will learn anything about Mags’ backstory and personal life and what happens when a new doctor comes in and shakes things up a bit.
Pop Culture Principle – You have to be thrilled at how the show was successful during its first season in the United States and other countries.
Laurence Leboeuf – Absolutely. It’s extremely rewarding that the show is doing well beyond our borders and in so many other countries. The fact the people are responding so well to the show is so flattering. This is why we do this because we want to reach as many people as we can, and we are so happy that people are compelled by the show’s stories.
Pop Culture Principle – After two seasons of working on this series, has the medical jargon become easier for you to say and understand?
Laurence Leboeuf – I mean, not really actually. 😊 Maybe there are a bit more familiar terms that I am getting the gist of what they are, but overall, the big, long sentences that I have to say superfast, it still is a really big challenge. 😊
Pop Culture Principle – We’ve noticed the cadence Mags has when she speaks is very fast and even when she moves around the hospital is very fast and a bit frantic. Was that something that you yourself added to this character, especially the way she speaks?
Laurence Leboeuf – Yes. She is the first in her class, she knows every answer, she’s by the book and she’s the teacher’s favorite. She’s really that kind of girl and every question that is being asked of her, she responds so quickly. So, on top of the jargon, that was my challenge to say the lines as fast as I could, as quickly as I could and as witty as I could. So, that still is my challenge today doing the series.
Pop Culture Principle – Does the Season 2 premiere pick up right where things were left after the Season 1 finale?
Laurence Leboeuf – It’s literally hours after where we left off at the end of Season 1. We are going to see how they cope with this new acting chief replacing the one that has fallen. We are going to see them really dealing with that kind of energy in the second season.
Pop Culture Principle – With Dr. Bishop somewhat on the sidelines, he has been both a mentor and somewhat of a shield for both Mags and Bash. Would you agree with that and how will not having him at 100 percent affect her work at the hospital?
Laurence Leboeuf – Absolutely. I think for Mags, Dr. Bishop has been her mentor and her role model and definitely someone whom she wants to be proud of her. I think she is following in his footsteps and in a way, he also sees himself in her because she works so much and so did he and he dedicated his entire life to the hospital and he’s trying to maybe advise her to find some kind of balance.
He’s been a really good mentor to her and now that he’s not around, they all will have to find their bearings again and especially when someone else comes in with a totally different energy for Mags. He’s going to challenge her instinct and her choices and the way that she does things and really be harsh with her and that’s really going to shake her up a bit. So, Dr. Bishop really challenging Mags in a good way is going to be a big loss for her.
Pop Culture Principle – In the first season, we really didn’t get to see much of Mags’ personal life or her family. Will that change as we get into Season 2?
Laurence Leboeuf – I am happy that we get to explore more of her personal life in the second season. We get to meet her sister and we are going to see more of her personal life and why she is the way she is and where she comes from. Growing up as a child who had a heart defect, how has that affected her as well and we are really going to dig into all of that this season.
Laurence Leboeuf – I think it’s something that is growing on her throughout the second season. I think she might be afraid to jump into it because of how close it is to home. Without revealing anything, she’s going to have a patient at some point that is really going to hit home for her and it’s going to be very eye opening for Mags.
Pop Culture Principle – One of the great friendships on the show is the one between Mags and June. Although they are completely different personalities, they aren’t competing against each other, but are helping each other and there for each other. How important is showing that type of relationship between two strong, female characters on this show?
Laurence Leboeuf – I think those two are really special. Like you said, they are very much the opposite, and they are not competing against each other, but actually supporting each other. I think we need to see more of that. Women empowering other women is such a beautiful thing. They both get to deepen their friendship as well.
I think Mags is getting to understand more of how June works and her personality and she’s really trying to get closer with June and being sensitive of June’s barriers as well. So, it’s a beautiful friendship that is going to keep growing in the second season.
Pop Culture Principle – Mags really goes above and beyond for her patients and that is going to be an issue for her with a new character Dr. Mark Novak who will be part of the second season. Can you talk a little bit about that and Dr. Novak?
Laurence Leboeuf – Gord Rand is such a tremendous actor. He did that part so well, he’s just perfect. It’s such a joy to watch him and doing these things with him, he was so annoying and yet, it was impossible to not be amazed with his delivery. 😊 Dr. Novak is totally antagonizing her and really super condescending and amazing at doing it. Gord Rand is such a nice guy. It was so great acting with him, and he brought such an amazing new energy to the show and to us.
Pop Culture Principle – At the end of Season 1, we see a mystery woman from Bash’s past show up and this person will definitely throw a monkey wrench in their blossoming relationship. Now with the beginning of the second season, we see a bit of tension between both Bash and Mags personally and professionally?
Laurence Leboeuf – Yes, for sure. I think that is going to create a bit of tension. Just on Mags side, it’s already complicated for her to even master her own emotions in life in general, so adding that on top of it, we are in for some awkward moments this season.
Pop Culture Principle – Both Bash and Mags are great doctors, but Mags seems to have more of an academic instinct and Bash being a doctor who really relies on his gut. Do you think they both admire these differences in their approaches to their work?
Laurence Leboeuf – That was my take on the first season for Mags. I think she was extremely in awe of that man coming into the hospital. Bash came in like a such tornado doing things so differently than she is used to and yet, having that talent to challenge her academic.
Mags has definitely been in admiration of him since he stepped into the hospital and also, with all the mystery that he carries with him, I think she is drawn to this magnetic kind of character. Also, with him as well seeing how smart Mags is and knows every answer and she’s so good at following her patients and finding out stuff that people would overlook all the time, so I think he would admire her as well.
Pop Culture Principle – If you could pick one moment or scene from Season 1 of Transplant that you feel encapsulates who Mags truly is, what would it be?
Laurence Leboeuf – Mags in action is really where she shines the most. There was a scene in the first few episodes where gurneys are coming in and Mags is leading the ER and I had this giant line to say, and I said it so fast and so efficient, and I felt so bad ass doing it! Yes, she is still compassionate to the people who are coming in, but she’s so academic and so strong and I think that scene really reflects who Mags truly is.
Pop Culture Principle – If Mags in Season 2 could travel back in time and give one piece of advice to Mags in Season 1, what would that piece of advice be?
Laurene Leboeuf – Wow, that’s a good question. I think she might say start building your shield of knowing who you are. Start protecting the way that you are doing your work. Start being more confident about who you are as a doctor and the direction that you want to go because you are about to be challenged.
Thank you to the lovely Laurence Leboeuf for taking the time to talk with us! You can catch brand new episodes of Transplant every Sunday night at 10/9c on NBC!
**All photos courtesy of Yan Turcotte/Sphere Media/CTV/NBC**