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‘I’ll be PVR’ing it’: Mayor, others enjoy CBC’s new Surrey-set police drama ‘Allegiance’

Party at city hall held ahead of TV and streaming debut tonight
People at a launch party for CBC’s new “Allegiance” police drama at Surrey City Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. The new series is set and filmed in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

People filled Surrey City Hall Tuesday (Feb. 6) during an invite-only launch party for “Allegiance,” a new CBC police drama filmed and set in Surrey.

A night before its TV and streaming debut tonight (Feb. 7), the first episode of the series was screened in Centre Stage theatre and adjacent room for an overflow crowd, followed by food and drinks.

“Allegiance” stars Supinder Wraich and Enrico Colantoni attended the evening party, along with fellow actors, the show’s creative team, politicians, business leaders and others.

Airing Wednesdays at 9 p.m., the series stars Wraich as “Surrey girl” Sabrina Sohal, a rookie police officer who fights to exonerate her politician father, played by Stephen Lobo. The first woman in her trailblazing Punjabi-Canadian family to become a Canadian Federal Police Corps officer, Sohal patrols Surrey alongside veteran officer Vince Brambilla, played by Enrico Colantoni.

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke said she was impressed by the pilot episode, which sees Sohal graduate from the police academy and, on her first day on the beat, work to find a missing child while coping with the arrest of her father, Minister of Public Safety.

“I loved it,” Locke said. “How they showcased Surrey was great. I teared up at one point and I jumped another time. I was blown away how good it was.”

Locke said she met with the series producers last spring.

“They came to say they wanted to do this in Surrey and I said, ‘Yeah, what can we do to help?’ Some of it was filmed here at city hall, and you can see Surrey all over the place. I’ll be PVR’ing it.”

• RELATED: Inside the ‘fictional world’ of CBC’s new Surrey-set police drama, debuting Feb. 7.

Supinder Wraich (as the character Sabrina Sohal) salutes in a scene in CBC’s new Surrey-set police drama, “Allegiance,” to debut Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. (Photo: Darko Sikman via CBC/Lark Productions)

First-season episodes of “Allegiance” involve a deadly batch of drugs hitting the streets, high-tech car thefts linked to an international crime ring, Surrey’s gangland culture and more.

Surrey Coun. Doug Elford said he enjoyed the moving script and pace of the pilot episode.

“I had a lot of different feelings watching it, emotions built into it, very riveting,” he said. “It’s well-produced, and I love to see Surrey, the backgrounds, just fantastic. I was really proud to see that, and they got into the cultural component too, which is really important. The show truly reflects the diversity of our city. I’m going to recommend everybody have a look at it.”

Vancouver Police Const. Kal Dosanjh, Surrey resident and founder/CEO of KidsPlay Foundation, said “Allegiance” rings true to him.

“It was neat to see policing from a visible minority perspective, with the focus on a South Asian police officer and her experiences,” Dosanjh said.

“There’s a cultural diaspora element to it as well, because she’s trying to balance eastern and western cultural values at the same time, which was exactly my experience. I came from a very traditional Sikh family, and when I first got on the job I was full Sikh, with a turban, and it wasn’t an easy experience, being on the street and dealing with suspects making racial insinuations, a lot of discrimination and prejudice.

“I share a lot of those story elements in my own life, what (Sabrina) is going through in the show. I saw a lot of myself in her, just what she has to deal with on the job and in her life.”

Documentary filmmaker Baljit Sangra said she loved Wraich’s lead character.

“Seeing her father get arrested at her police graduation, that was interesting,” said Sangra, who is currently working on a documentary/biopic of jazz singer Judy Singh, a Black-South Asian musician from Edmonton.

“I think it’s lovely to have a series anchored in Surrey, so I’m looking forward to more episodes where they get into the community, other cases that inspire stories. I imagine there will be gang storylines, politics. I’ll be watching.”

With a Surrey policing transition still a very hot topic in the news, the “Allegiance” creative team says the timing of the series launch is coincidental.

“The CFP is a fictionalized police force and not meant to really represent the RCMP or the Surrey Police,” Wraich underlined during a recent interview on Zoom alongside Colantoni, series creator Anar Ali and co-showrunner Mark Ellis.

“Of course we’ve always been aware that this was happening with the RCMP and the police,” Ali added, “but it’s nothing that we necessarily address in our show, which is this fictional world.”

Last fall, until just before Christmas, the first season of “Allegiance” was filmed in Surrey and parts of Langley.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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