'Chronicle Mysteries': Alison Sweeney on the Possibilities of Alex & Drew's Relationship
Alex McPherson is finding a home in Harrington in the Chronicle Mysteries movies.
The fourth one in the series, The Deep End, sees Alex working on a case that's close to home, but because of her podcast, that doesn't always have to be the case when it comes to these mysteries. "They are all over the place and the podcast allows her to go wherever she needs to go," Alison Sweeney told TV Insider. But even though "the possibilities are endless, she's starting to realize that calling Harrington home doesn't mean she can't pursue her dreams."
And for fans hoping this won't be the last Chronicle film, you're in luck. The star, co-creator, and executive producer hopes there will be more. "We're definitely developing more scripts for next year and already talking to Hallmark about when we can shoot them," she said.
Here, Sweeney previews Chronicle Mysteries: The Deep End, Alex, her relationship with Drew (Benjamin Ayres), and more.
Can you start by talking about how Alex has changed since she's come to town and started working at the newspaper? And how that makes her a better crime-solver?
Alison Sweeney: She was on her own, a bit lost as to what to do next with her life. She saw this podcast as a chance to focus her energy and make a difference. Each case she solves gets her more focused on this mission. Her sense of justice and wanting to get to the bottom of it and also either right the wrong or provide some sort of answers or resolution for the family really guide her.
This most recent case is interesting because it's on trial right now. She has a chance to stop it before it becomes a wrongful conviction or some sort of injustice. It's really a fun urgency that she has to get to the truth before it's too late.
Can you talk about some specifics of the case and some of the key players?
The case is a woman on trial for murdering her husband. They are separated. The neighbor claims he saw them fighting the night before he was found dead. She has a lot of reasons to want him gone. He was wealthy. She wouldn't have to deal with the divorce. She inherits. They've got two kids. She wouldn't have to fight for custody. The prosecution is quick to put all of that to jury in the opening statement, but that doesn't mean she did it.
Alex's best friend Katie is the defense attorney for the wife, Stephanie, and is convinced of her innocence. Alex is trying to remain maybe objective, but also trying to make sure the whole story gets out there. She really feels it's her responsibility to fill in all the blanks. Then she discovers a new piece of information that is even more damaging to Stephanie's case, and she realize she's now part of the problem. She helped the prosecution unknowingly. If she's going to right this wrong, she has the weekend to figure out who really killed him [and] do the work the police didn't do.
When she has this impassioned moment to Drew about how she has to do something, how she can't just trust the wheels of justice, she has this great line, "Both people could be telling the truth, and the jury could still get the wrong answer." She has decided to do something about it, and Drew essentially gives up his weekend to help her. Then as they start getting to work, Eileen turns up and Kendall stays and everyone is all hands on deck to help Alex get to the truth. It's a really fun way of bringing the group together.
Moving on to Alex and Drew's relationship, how has it changed since they first met and where is it going?
Alex started off very isolated and she came to town on very much an island. She doesn't need anyone, she can do it herself. She's very friendly, but she's closed off in some ways and unwilling to take a chance on people and relationships. Drew has just slowly, steadily been there, bantered with her, argued with her, taken her side, protected her. She's protected him. They've been there for each other through all these cases.
Slowly but surely she's come to count on him and rely on him and certainly you see that a lot in this movie that they make a really good team, and she's really starting to notice that. There's definitely now an opening in Alex's eyes to the possibilities of what might happen with Drew.
What do you enjoy the most about combining a Hallmark mystery series with a true crime podcast when it comes to the characters and the mysteries?
I grew up with [mysteries], with my mom watching Perry Mason and Murder, She Wrote. I have such fond memories of that time with my mom trying to figure it out together. I love the idea we're creating mysteries for families to watch together and it's something that everyone can feel safe knowing it's still the Hallmark family brand. But also it's going to be dangerous and exciting and mysterious and you don't know who did it until the end. Hopefully we're creating an interesting enough story that people can really get excited about it.
We're not trying to fake you out. We want you to see the same clues that Alex sees. You can really play the game along with Alex.
As a creator and executive producer, is there anything in particular you wanted to do with this one we haven't seen in previous Chronicle Mysteries or perhaps in Murder, She Baked?
I really wanted to develop the relationship with Alex and Drew. We were really careful in the beginning to lay that groundwork slowly so we could open up the door between Alex and Drew in this movie and see what potential exists between them. We didn't want to rush it. It was really fun to take that next step in their relationship and see where it goes. It's a little unexpected for them. They get all dressed up for this undercover operation they're doing and even though they're still working and still investigating and still being detectives, they're also bonding and seeing each other in a new light.
Chronicle Mysteries: The Deep End, Movie Premiere, Sunday, August 25, 9/8c, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries