By Kristin Kreuk Burden of truth, The CW’s Canadian summer series, was originally conceived with a three-season plan, but over time, it became clear that there was one more chapter to tell. The hour-long legal drama begins its farewell tour on Friday as the fourth and final season in America begins, and the lives of Joanna Chang (Kreuk) and Billy Crawford (Peter Mooney) will be very different. New parents to a girl, the couple adjusts to their different parenting styles as they try to balance career with parenthood.
For Joanna, this is easier said than done as she dives into a new case depicting a local farm owner whose land stands firmly in the way of a major mining project. But the sleepless nights of raising her baby begin to profoundly affect her work, and she makes a potentially fatal mistake that leads to dire consequences. “Her brain can’t focus as clearly as it used to. And that’s incredibly difficult for her throughout the season,” Kreuk tells ET. “She will make a lot of mistakes because of it.”
Before the US premiere of Burden of truth, Kreuk looks at the unique challenges of finishing the series, the hardships Joanna and Billy face this season, and whether marriage is on the horizon for the couple.
ET: This is the final chapter of Burden of truth. Was it the right time to close the book now? What were the conversations about ending the show after four seasons?
Kristin Kreuk: Originally when Philiana Ng Lace [Simpson] I was talking about the show, we had talked about a three season arc, which is how we had moved on. But we really thought that because it’s a show about intergenerational trauma, it would be interesting to explore that with Billy and Joanna having a child because that’s the logical next step, if you’ve struggled with tragic experiences, how does that affect the next generation? ? How hard of Load and the good thing about Load is that the cases are very personal and are linked to very emotional and personal things. We thought it would be too much to constantly find something that was super personal to Joanna year after year. We thought, “This seems like a good way to end.”
In tackling this latest chapter for Joanna and Billy, what were the most important things that you personally wanted to convey in this final season?
There are some levels. I think for Joanna, we wanted her to build the confidence to know that she is a loving and caring person and that she is capable of caring for other people because she really doesn’t think she is capable. You evolved knowing that you are building the confidence that you can care for someone, even though you have done some things in your life that you regret. You have the ability to make amends and continue to do good things in your life from the present moment forward. She is not her father and her daughter will not live the same life that she lived with an abusive father. And there are other things too. We also explore and show government systems and how much they help or hinder. Luna being able to explore how she wants to get involved in the legal system and what is her best way to do it, which is really important given her past. Beckbie explores the same things this year from a different angle than the police.
What was the challenge of finishing four seasons in a rewarding way?
The writers room works very hard [to do that]. It was a strange, difficult, and challenging year to do because no one could see each other in person because that’s when things were worst with the pandemic. So we faced a lot of challenges in addition to understanding what the final chapter was for each of our characters and what were the last things they needed to learn in order to move forward in their lives. I think finishing any program is really difficult. I was thinking about that the other day, because I’m looking again Breaking bad. It’s amazing how when you go into a show you often don’t know the end point of that series and when you are coming to an end, I find a miracle that people can put the pieces together and do it gracefully. So yeah, I think it’s a challenge. Because our program is not very extensive, it is quite ingrained, but what is at stake is not … I don’t want to say easier, but that is the word that I am going to use. It is easier to conclude than a great show.
Joanna begins the final season facing many challenges. She is balancing being a new mother while also leading a new case. In the first episode, you see her struggle to orient herself to her new normal. What can you find here for the struggles you will face in trying to successfully navigate both parts of your identity?
Joanna finds comfort at work. It is the only place where she feels super safe, capable and capable, and she is, but she is exhausted. And she and Billy don’t have anyone to help them. I know this is a big part of the season, I’m just trying to juggle and navigate through this, which is for Joanna, how does she find peace and a sense of confidence when she feels completely out of her league? And she is a perfectionist. So being what she perceives to be bad at something is really difficult for her and the only way she can figure it out in her mind is by working. But then, through work, he gets more tired. And so I think there is a real struggle and she has a lot of judgments that are perpetuated by, in some cases, Billy, and in some cases, society, about the fact that she should be breastfeeding and that the child should not be. in nursery. There are a lot of things that she feels really guilty about because she doesn’t have many other women in her life or a mother who can help her. That will really influence how you filter information because you are still dealing with postpartum stuff and how you can collect thoughts in a second and how you can do your job well when your body won’t let you. Your brain cannot focus as sharply as it used to. And that’s incredibly difficult for her during the season. She will make a lot of mistakes because of it.
What are the biggest challenges Joanna and Billy face? What kind of tug of war are you going to face with your relationship?
They have very different ways of being. Billy is very permissive and is quick to ease discomfort, and Joanna is more on the side of letting a child strategize rather than being more reassuring. They definitely have conflict that way. The season helps them find a balance between two things because both are dysfunctional in their own way. And they are trying to find a functional way of being that is neither the extreme that Joanna is in nor the extreme that Billy is in. The reality is that they love each other and will have a massive fight in episode 3. But it gets compounded by a bunch of other things and puts them in the way to start talking and dealing with the things that are happening to them. .
Is there room for Joanna and Billy to move their relationship forward in a more permanent way?
Well it’s interesting because I think they also have different opinions on [marriage]. The season will find a balance between its perspectives, but when Billy feels insecure, he is looking for his mother in some way. He wants, his mother is gone, she has passed away, and the vision he has of her is that of someone who was always there, always present, a very loving, caring and warm person. He looks for that kind of security and comfort, while Joanna looks for a sense of competence, to be able to work, to earn money, to be good at some things. They are very, very different that way. When it comes to the more permanent thing we are talking about, it is a reflection of ensuring that both of you can feel safe and that neither of them feel like they are sacrificing themselves for the other person in a negative way.
The last season of Burden of truth premieres Friday, July 30 at 8 pm ET / PT on The CW. For more information, see below.