Jane Seymour Pushes Boundaries in 'Harry Wild'

Jane Seymour as the titular detective in 'Harry Wild' Season 3's first look

Jane Seymour as the titular detective in 'Harry Wild' Season 3's first look

Acorn TV

Sharp of tongue and mind, audacious and often bawdy, Jane Seymour plays the eponymous professor-turned-detective in Acorn TV’s hit Harry Wild, which just debuted its third season. Seymour is the main draw but not the only reason to stick around for this fun and clever cozy mystery series. Her sleuthing partnership with the bright and cheeky teenage sidekick Fergus (Rohan Nedd) has an unusual beginning (he mugs her) but quickly establishes itself as a complex, rewarding relationship upon which the show anchors its heart. Harry Wild explores themes of career, family, and, of course, murder. 

The first two seasons established Harry and Fergus as a great team and forces to be reckoned with. Their agency frequently solves cases before their police counterparts, much to the chagrin of Harry’s police detective son Charlie (Kevin Ryan). Season 3 sees this rivalry continue as the duo solves increasingly intricate mysteries. Harry’s daughter-in-law Orla (Amy Huberman) and granddaughter Lola (Rose O’Neill) become more prominent and are vital components of several episodes. Harry is challenged and infuriated by a new character and fellow private dick, Harry Benedict (Lochlann Ó Mearáin), who may just be her next love interest. The series leans into its escapism but also delves into the psychological side of crime, revealing the often tragic “why” behind a death.

Seymour recently graciously entertained TellyVisions to talk about character, defying conventions, and her fellow co-stars in Harry Wild’s Season 3.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Rohan Nedd as Fergus Reid and Jane Seymour as Harriet “Harry” Wild in 'Harry Wild'

Rohan Nedd as Fergus Reid and Jane Seymour as Harriet “Harry” Wild in 'Harry Wild'

Acorn TV

Telly Visions: Harry Wild is a massively popular series for Acorn. What do you think it is about the character that resonates with audiences?

Jane Seymour: We've never seen a Harry before; this is something new. In a world where they keep bringing back old characters or rebooting that stuff, it's nice to have something refreshing. I don't think they've ever had a series with a woman in her 70s in the lead, a very independent woman who's full of life. She's changed her career this late in her life; she was a professor, and now she's a detective. She's not afraid of anyone or anything. It's very comedic. And her sidekick is 16 and black, so we have not seen this before. It also takes place in Dublin. We've seen Ireland in movies, but we haven't seen contemporary Ireland. It's always pretending to be England, somewhere else, or back in the day. 

It's also about Irish culture. It's very well written and linked to literature and history; it's fascinating. Whether you are well-read or not, you think, "I might check that out now!" In this culture, you don't have to go to the library and read the book; you can click online and find out: Really, Heathcliff did that? He dug up Kathy? What is this Wuthering Heights that sounds sick enough for me to read? So it's fun because it's forcing people to read things they probably didn't want to read at school.

TV: Which of Harry's personality traits do you enjoy? And which parts bother you?

JS: Well, she does drink a lot, and I don't. I don't think she exhibits actual alcoholic behavior, but she's probably borderline. (And no, I'm not drinking real wine when I'm drinking the red wine.) I drink because Harry was supposed to be a smoker, and I don't smoke, so I couldn't fake that as easily. 

Harry's super smart and a busybody; she'll figure things out. If I weren't well known, I would love to be like Harry and pretend to be a little old lady from Scotland, someone with lumbago, a sports psychologist, or whatever it is she turns herself into, or a psychic or whatever it is. It's always fun for me. 

Also, the relationship between her and Fergus is fantastic. We've never really seen that before. Usually, if you have a detective couple, there's some sort of sexual tension there; will they get together or not? This is quite different.

Jane Seymour as Harry Wild at a computer in 'Harry Wild' Season 2

Jane Seymour as Harry Wild in 'Harry Wild' Season 2

Acorn TV

TV: It’s refreshing not to see that.

JS: Exactly. And of course, in the new series, we do bring in Harry B. We’re not quite sure what’s going to happen there, but since we know Harry is a very independent woman who doesn’t necessarily trust and is naturally suspicious, we don’t know where that will go.

TV: How much of Jane Seymour is in Harry?

JS: When I met (writer/creator) Dave Logan, who created Harry, we spent a good amount of time together. I gave him many ideas as a producer, and they’ve gotten to know me well. We’re all good friends. So they’ll take elements of me. For example, Harry, in inopportune moments, correcting someone’s grammar is me, 100% me. And being somewhat bossy and saying, I’m always right. Except when I’m wrong, and even then, I’m right. But things like that. There are anecdotal Jane-isms in there. Maybe some of Harry rubs off on me, too. 

I enjoy being around young people; that is definitely for real, and I have amazing relationships with my grandchildren. This relationship with me and my granddaughter, played by Rose O’Neill, this genius brilliant actress; this was her first show! Meanwhile, she’s studying something like biological engineering – the hardest thing apart from physics that you can study at Trinity. One minute, she’s looking at her line, then she’s deep in a hefty book, and that’s who she is. And it’s magical.

TV: The relationship between Harry and Fergus is fantastic and so entertaining. Did you know Rohan Nedd, or worked with him before?

JS: No, never seen him, never heard of him. I’m just so thrilled that we still have him because by now, I thought someone would have picked him off and taken him away, but mercifully, we still do. He does do other things as well, but I think he enjoys his character, too. And he’s so good at it. I always think of him as Spider-Man because he’s very lean and muscular, does martial arts, and can run! He would be a real-life Spider-Man; that’s what he’s like. 

But he’s also a wonderful married man. He’s a man who’s married to a lovely woman whom he adores, and he takes care of his mum. And he’s English. He can do this ridiculously good Dublin accent. I’m in awe of him as a human being and an actor.

Rohan Nedd as Fergus Reid, Jane Seymour as Harry Wild in the Harry Wild Season 3 key art

Rohan Nedd as Fergus Reid, Jane Seymour as Harry Wild in 'Harry Wild' Season 3

Acorn TV

TV: Do you think there will be a moment where Fergus has to choose between Harry’s path and the path his mom wants for him?

JS: His mom is a lost cause. She’s abandoned him and her baby child, who Fergus raised. Fergus has been a dad and a mom to his little kid sister, whilst his dad was a completely useless alcoholic. We’ve seen where he’s come from, so he’s very together. But Fergus is also a kid who doesn’t want to finish school and thinks certain things are a waste of time. As he’s showing Harry how to maneuver the dark side of Dublin, she’s introducing him to how to pass an exam in Shakespeare whilst on the run from some very dangerous characters, which makes it amusing. 

You can see his young life; now he’s fallen in love with my granddaughter Lola. What’s that going to be like? My daughter-in-law is very stuck up; how’s she going to handle this? Does she want this to happen or not? There’s so much depth of character and life choices in the mystery and the murder that it makes this much more than what it appears at first glance.

The other thing I love is that when something happens in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Dr. Quinn isn’t always right. But by the end, we, the audience, go on a journey with her where she understands why something happened. It’s completely different for Harry; she finds out why a person murdered their victim, not in a soft, kind way, but definitely in a way that makes it human. They didn’t just get up one day and say I think I’ll just go murder people. No, there was a reason, there was a history, there’s a mentality, there’s an emotional journey that person had. It makes it really full.

TV: What are the biggest challenges in making Harry Wild?

JS: Time and budget are big ones. And weather. When we are shooting in the winter, I’m literally clutching onto any kind of heating device I can, and then I’m in front of a fire. I’m holding on to a hot water bottle until the last second and putting those hot patches all over my body, trying to stay out of the rain. But I don’t think of it as a challenge – it’s just not always easy. There are difficult scenes to play sometimes with lots of people, and they can be tiring. 

Keeping my energy and being able to run, jump, and do all the athletic stuff. I enjoy that challenge. They don’t always let me do it! Sometimes, they think we need a stunt girl – which we do if I’m jumping through a roof. But as an ex-dancer, I’m very adept at faking landings, getting up quickly, and running. I like to be able to do my own running because I like to put a comedic element into it. Because I’m not playing a 30-year-old, I am playing a woman of a certain age who is doing things you shouldn’t be doing.

The first two episodes of Harry Wild Season 3 are streaming on Acorn TV. The series airs and streams weekly on Mondays on Acorn TV with a co-premiere on AMC Networks’ linear platform, BBC America, through the end of June.

Marni Cerise headshot

A writer since her childhood introduction to Shel Silverstein, Marni adores film, cats, Brits, and the Oxford comma. She studied screenwriting at UARTS and has written movie, TV, and pop culture reviews for Ani-Izzy.com, and Wizards and Whatnot. You can usually catch her watching Hot Fuzz for the thousandth time. Find her very sparse social media presence on Twitter: @CeriseMarni

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