From 1987 to 1994 “Street Legal” had the Canadian culture captured and wanting more.
The show ran 124 episodes – unheard of at the time – and to think, star C. David Johnson doubted it would even get past the first season.
“The first two years we thought “that’s it they are never going to have us back again,'” he says. “We were having fun doing it and we were proud of it, but we didn’t think it would take off. And then this one showed up (points at Cynthia Dale) third year and then the ratings took off, it was clear sailing after that.”;
Yes that spark came from the amazing Cynthia Dale and the chemistry her character Olivia Novak and C. David’s Chuck Tchobanian that created something special, bringing in 1.2 million viewers at the height of the show’s success. “People were starting to recognize and know the names of Canadian actors.”; Explains Cynthia, “Canadian shows changed the landscape then, from ENG, Avonlea, Street Legal, Night Heat – all those shows that were around that time, there was a shift. In the 7 out of 8 years that we did it people would see you at the beginning and recognize you as Olivia or Chuck and about half way through they started to realize “Oh you are Cynthia Dale, your C. David Johnson.'”
“They started to recognize and know our names, not just on our show but lots of shows and that was a big thing that happened, the industry came of age at that point.”;
C. David Johnson also believes the show caught on and continues to resonate all these years later because it didn’t pretend to be something it wasn’t: “We never pretended to be a generic American city, we were always very clear about the fact that we were in Toronto, we were in Canada, we were dealing with Canadian Law and Canadian issues. I think people really responded to that, people thought “Hey this is about us’ it’s not about Chicago or New York. I think people loved that.”;
We brought Cynthia and C. David together for our Classic Canadian Television Week, but fate has brought the onscreen couple together many times. They were on”Made in Canada” together and have performed “42nd Street” and “Sound of Music” on stage in Stratford.
Tonight they look back on almost 30 years of memories and how they pushed the boundaries on what could get past the CBC censors.
Watch the sneak peek below as Cynthia and C. David open up about what went into the steamy scenes from the show and how they changed the landscape for legal shows today. And catch the full interview on tonight’s ET Canada.