Rush certainly lives up to its title. Back for a second season this week on TEN, it thrives on not just the energy of its on-screen characters, but behind the scenes it has to run a very lean ship.
As lead actor Rodger Corser explains, “The show does an amazing job for the amount of time and money we have. You’ve got three people doing the one person’s job in production. Not necessarily in camera or lighting, but it’s to do with pre-production: the amount of days you get to scout a location, the amount of days to lock them down, how long you’re at a location.”
Corser, who plays Team Leader ‘Lawson Blake’ says each episode only has about 6 days pre-production. It’s doubly challenging for a show build around so much exterior shooting.
“We haven’t got the luxury that other TV shows have of about half the episodes in a studio,” he said.
“Ours is all exterior. They do an amazing job but sometimes it’s all a bit hectic. But it all works in the end.”
Returning with 22 episodes, up from its debut season of 13 eps, the show has become TEN’s proudest drama baby. It has been rewarded with a prime 8:30pm timeslot on Thursdays, significantly moved away from Seven’s powerhouse drama night on Tuesdays.
The extra length affords the show more time to get under the skin of its central characters.
“Last year it was pretty procedural. You saw a few glimpses of how Lawson reacted, maybe around episode 3 when we saw him react to shooting a guy. But we never really went home with these guys much.”
This year Corser’s character will find a love interest, in the form of actress Asher Keddie. It will help humanise a very emotionless cop who is known for playing everything by the rulebook.
“He will bend the rules, but you’ve got to know the rules really before you can bend them,” says Corser. “So of course to the lower ranked coppers he’s not going to be seen to be breaking any rules. He’s going to be seen to be straight down the line. But that’s the message you need to impart.
“When it comes to Josh or Kerry, that’s when rules might be bent, but that’s with someone of similar standing and experience. Picasso didn’t start out doing Cubist pieces. He learned with the masters first and then he broke away.”
The first series made some bold storytelling moves in its early episodes with the team seen to be imperfect. Suicide attempts didn’t necessarily meet a happy ending. Lawson shot a man whom he was meant to be negotiating out of crisis.
“The most interesting to do with the story as a whole or the characters individually are the flaws. If we’re all squeaky clean, everything goes to plan and we’re all so well drilled that nothing ever goes wrong, then where’s the drama? ”
And as Rush takes to the screen once more, it is very conscious of a new player waiting in the wings: Nine’s Rescue: Special Ops. The Sydney-based 13 part series is built around emergency paramedics, starring Les Hill, Andrew Lees, Libby Tanner and Peter Phelps.
“It would be great if there was room for everyone. History would tell us that there’s probably not. People usually choose one or the other. But I’ve got a lot of friends in the Rescue show. You never want anyone to fail, you want everyone to be working,” he said.
“If there was a chance for all the shows to survive it’s more likely to be now than it was ten years ago. We’ve got more Aussie drama in the top 10 of the ratings. So maybe there is room. I mean we’ve seen three or four detective show spin-offs of each other, like Law and Orders, so why can’t there be two rescue-based shows?”
Significantly, Nine’s new drama emerges from the same production house as TEN’s -Southern Star.
“Southern Star’s a fairly big company, and John (Edwards, producer) is not involved with it. But they must have the Chinese wall up there in Southern Star,” he jokes.
Rush premieres 8:30pm Thursday on TEN.