Strong as steel

Tangle CMcCOn Rush, Catherine McClements is a tough task master as Inspector Kerry Vincent.

But as psychologist and mother ‘Christine Williams’ in the upcoming Showcase series Tangle, she portrays a woman who is less afraid to show her vulnerable side. As she tells TV Tonight, that makes her a much stronger individual than ‘Kerry Vincent’ and she clearly enjoys shifting between both roles.

The series, from producer John Edwards (Love My Way, Rush, The Secet Life of Us, Dangerous) and Imogen Banks (Dangerous), revolves around two generations of families.

“There’s an event that happens at the beginning that brings up something that happened in the past,” explains McClements. “It shifts everyone’s lives, particularly the character I play, ‘Christine.’ She’s the mother of a 15 year old boy, but not the biological mother.”

Nat (Kat Stewart) is looking to reconnect with her teenage son ‘Max’ (Blake Davis, pictured), currently living with his father and step-mother, played by Joel Tobeck and McClements.

“The biological mother returns into our lives and then things start to play out, and the plates in ‘Christine’s’ life start to shift. There’s lots of volcanoes and fissures as the past comes up. So that’s the beginning.”

With its contemporary and almost feature film plot, Tangle is already being likened as the love child of Love My Way. But McClements is cautious to make such parallels.

“You want it to stand alone,” she says. “You don’t want it to be seen as riding on the back of something else. It’s really a kind of Secret Life of Us I suppose, looking at the details of people’s lives and the intricacies of everyday interactions. How complicated they actually are, and how ordinary people’s lives are. It doesn’t always have to be cops, robbers, smack, bang, shoot ’em up. And it’s not soap. It’s a serious look at that sort of stuff, with great writers.

“These shows have begun from someone’s heart. In Secret Life of Us and Love My Way there were producers’ hearts and it’s the same with this too. It’s come from someone’s soul so it has a beautiful flowering from that.”

With a cast including Ben Mendelsohn, Justine Clarke and Matt Day, Tangle will wear its heart on its sleeve. There are fraught, emotional scenes that require the cast to dig deep. McClements says some shooting days are a bigger ask than others.

“It depends on the day and on the director, and what they’re pursuing. I do think this character has a very surface vulnerability. Unlike coppers who have a very thick skin because they have deal with certain people everyday. This woman has not come up against these sorts of challenges and she’s a very sensitive creature. And as you do when you play a character, you start to sort of take on that world.

“I suppose that sensitivity is something I’m finding really beautiful to work with, especially when you’ve got a director who’s sitting next to you in a scene, so to speak, and going through it with you. It’s a wonderful process.”

Her work in Tangle will be markedly different to the ice-cold veneer she portrays leading Rush‘s Tactical Response Unit. McClements says ‘Kerry Vincent’ is actually very vulnerable and that’s why she faces life with such a thick skin.

“She’s got this unhappy and lonely world inside that she puts on this armour because of her inability to cope. Whereas in a funny sort of way ‘Christine’ is a stronger character because she’s able to reveal her vulnerability and let it out on the table.”

Tangle premieres at 8:30pm Thursday October 1st on Showcase.

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