With the dog days of summer steadily approaching, the beloved Canadian series Hudson & Rex premiered its third season on January 5, 2021 for tail-wagging, crime-fighting police procedural fun. This season sees Detective Charlie Hudson (John Reardon) and his furry accomplice, Rex (Diesel vom Burgimwald) reassemble as the iconic duo, roaming the streets and sniffing out the action. Working alongside them is Tech Analyst Jesse (Justin Kelly), Dr. Sarah Truong (Mayko Nguyen), and Superintendent Joseph Donovan (Kevin Hanchard).
Since its series debut in March 2019, show creators have filmed Hudson & Rex on location in St. John’s. The stunning scenery of Newfoundland and Labrador has elicited a wave of Canadian pride among engrossed viewers. As Kelly and the dog master, Sherri Davis, reveal in an exclusive interview with The Medium, the Canadian roots are what make the series so cherished by fans as well as the cast and crew.
A Toronto native, Kelly claims he was drawn to Atlantic Canada’s scenic beauty and has been grateful to film there. Despite its Canadian setting, the series has been broadcasted in more than 100 territories across the globe, including Italy, France, the Netherlands, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Latin America. “It’s always great to see when a Canadian show is recognized internationally. We really have some amazing talent here,” says Kelly.
Kelly also acknowledges and thanks streaming services for promoting Canadian content on the international stage. The bigger the platform, the wider the audience.
For Davis, despite working on the sets of both Canadian and American TV shows and feature films over the last 25 years, the dog master has felt a stronger intrinsic connection with the former. “It’s a real honour being part of Hudson & Rex, being the #1 Canadian content show on Citytv. Knowing that our crew was a part of that is a privilege.”
Working and training canines has been a dream in the making for Davis. Her fascination with shaping animal behaviour catalyzed when she brought home every stray animal imaginable to train, from crickets to snakes to frogs. “Anything that was injured or looked lost, I wanted to fix it and train it and have it as a pet.”
On Hudson & Rex, Davis has had a uniquely personal opportunity to work with Diesel, the show’s four-legged star. As she notes, their success all comes down to training every day, maintaining learned behaviours while teaching new ones. “It is a fallacy that old dogs can’t learn new tricks.”
Playing a man’s best friend doubling as a crime-fighting partner, Diesel is not unbeknownst to his stardom. Unlike in the show, where Diesel eats Jesse’s lunches, in real life, he’s a finicky eater and is given the star treatment. “He loves roast beef, boneless chicken and turkey breasts, and of course, a good ole steak,” says Davis.
Diesel has become quite the little diva. If he’s called onto set a little too soon and put into position before finishing touches are made, the German Shepherd has been known to turn around, walk away, and lounge on his perch. “It’s like, ‘Excuse me, sir? Would you like to come back and join us?’” says Davis. Between takes or on his lazy days, Diesel is brought back to his trailer to curl up on his king-sized bed for a little shuteye.
Diesel’s fame cannot be understated; he has a large fanbase of staunch admirers. “I find he gets swarmed wherever we go,” Davis laughs. Usually getting asked for more pictures than his human cast members, Diesel steals the show. To his co-star, Kelly, it’s for good reason. “He’s just that talented. The work that Sherri and her team do for the show to capture what Rex is capable of is just astounding. Any show stealing is one hundred per cent deserved!”
When Davis is watching the screen, she’s admittedly emotional and proud of all the dogs that take part. “They are like my kids. I am like ‘Damn, we did good, buddy!’” Diesel and his two look-alike nephews and personal stunt doubles, Izzy and Iko, give the show its heart.
Anecdotes and laughs are inevitable with such a tightknit cast and crew. “The thing that warms my heart is when we go in every morning and Diesel can’t wait to get to work. He takes off into the studio and greets every single solitary person. If Diesel were a person, he’d be the most annoying morning person you’ve ever met,” says Davis. “When he goes to work, he’s the happiest creature.”
For Kelly, it’s the consistent laughter between cast members that makes the shoots so memorable. Diesel completes his scenes with fewer takes than his human counterparts, “mainly because we, as a cast, have a hard time trying to keep it together! Especially in the studio where we film all the police station stuff,” says Kelly. “The consistent antics and laughter between the cast isn’t always productive, but we have a good time.”
The young actor from Toronto claims the most satisfying aspect is the people. “This cast and crew are amazing. We work long hours on this show. We do 16 episodes over the course of six to seven months. Shooting out in a place like Newfoundland, the elements aren’t always on our side, but everyone works tirelessly to make the show what it is,” says Kelly.
“That we can get along and laugh all the way through is pretty great. We have an awesome group!”
Fans can look forward to new episodes of this fetchingly enjoyable series, where they can catch Jesse return to the field alongside Hudson and Rex, as the team picks up their usual, mischievous bantering. With this detective meets canine escapades, the fun-for-all-ages show is a suspenseful police comedy that is sure to keep you on your paws.
Watch all-new episodes every Tuesday at 9EST/8CT on Citytv or stream live for free at Citytv.com or the Citytv app.
To learn more about Davis’ work and get answers for everything you’ve ever wanted to know about our four-legged friends, you can listen to the How 2 Dog podcast. Each week, host and world-renowned animal expert Sherri Davis draws on illuminating conversations with fellow experts and her own vast experience to get to the bottom of our listeners’ canine questions. Call her hotline to ask your question at 1-833-HOW-2-DOG. The podcast launches March 16 on the Frequency Podcast Network.