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'Mary Kills People' star on the tearful ending to the end-of-life drama

Caroline Dhavernas poses for a photo in Toronto on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Caroline Dhavernas didn't think she would cry. The Montreal-based star of the Canadian assisted suicide drama "Mary Kills People" says she knew going into filming for season 3 that it would be the last and figured she would have a handle on her emotions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO — Caroline Dhavernas didn’t think she would cry.

The Montreal-based star of the Canadian assisted-suicide drama “Mary Kills People” says she knew going into filming for season 3 that it would be the last and figured she would have a handle on her emotions.

But when the director yelled “cut” for the final time, ending the life of a show about the end of life, the tears flowed.

“Saying goodbye to certain actors as well, knowing that it’s my last scene with them, like (the actress who plays) my daughter, Lola Flanery, I bawled when I said goodbye to her,” Dhavernas, 40, said in a recent interview.

“She was nine or 10 when we started and now she’s 12 or 13, so just seeing the woman that she is becoming over the years was very moving. To say goodbye to her and know that I probably won’t see her grow into the adult years, I would’ve loved to see that.

“So it was very, very moving. I’m not just saying this — it was a really amazing cast and I feel very close to many of my castmates.”

Premiering Sunday on Global, season 3 marks the final chapter in the saga of Dhavernas’s titular character, a doctor who illegally helps terminally ill patients end their lives on their own terms in the fictional town of Port Denver.

Other co-stars include Richard Short as Des, Mary’s colleague at a hospice they now run, and Abigail Winter as Mary’s oldest daughter.

Dhavernas said knowing this would be the final season before shooting — as opposed to getting abruptly cancelled with no chance to wrap up loose threads — allowed creator Tara Armstrong and the team to end the story in the way they wanted.

“That makes a big difference, because most of the time you hear between two seasons that it’s over,” she said.

“So it’s a very empowering feeling to know and to have somewhat of a control over the creative ending of the show.”

As season 3 starts, Mary is five months pregnant, musing about the irony of creating a new life as she ends those of others who’ve chosen to go. She also starts questioning her work in general and whether it’s “for the greater good.”

“That’ll make her reflect upon the choices that she’s making in season 3,” Dhavernas said.

“It ends in a way that I feel comforted for Mary, because it was such a hard journey for her. I don’t want to tell you how it ends but it’s not a painful ending for her. There’s more air, more oxygen for her.”

The show also airs on Lifetime and streams on Hulu in the U.S.

For Dhavernas, it’s earned her two Canadian Screen Award nominations and offered a chance to “play this amazing character who is so grey and so complicated and so fascinating.”

“We take pride in our subject matter on the show, but it’s not a documentary on assisted dying either, and also it’s not a depressive show about people dying all the time,” said Dhavernas, whose other credits include the series “Hannibal.”

“That could have been a very heavy thing to watch, but the writers found a way to make it fun and funny at times.”

It’s also opened up a conversation about a topic that is often taboo, she added.

“In other cultures death is celebrated much more than our culture and it’s unfortunate, because the more you brush it under the carpet, the scarier it becomes,” she said.

“And the more you know it’s going to happen, the more you want to celebrate life fully.”

Dhavernas isn’t sure what her next project is but has some memorabilia from the “Mary Kills People” set in her jewelry box: a medallion given to her character at the end of season 3.

“If you don’t pay attention, you’ll never notice, but she is the goddess of death that I wear on my medallion,” Dhavernas said.

“So that was the biggest symbol, I guess, that I could leave with.”

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press