It's been quite a "Rookie Blue" season for Officer Gail Peck, confirmed by the actress who plays her, Charlotte Sullivan.
She lost fellow-cop boyfriend Nick Collins ( Peter Mooney) to another colleague, Andy McNally ( Missy Peregrym); she very tentatively started a new relationship with forensic pathologist Holly ( Aliyah O'Brien); she suffered a serious wrist burn while confiscating marijuana plants; she faced the murderer who kidnapped her last year; and she ducked the bullets of a would-be cop killer who's continuing to target 15 Division in the show's Season 4 finale.
That two-part episode of the ABC police drama wraps up Thursday (Sept. 12), and Sullivan is ending the series' year grateful to be showing different colors of Gail while staying true to the character's typically edgy, not exactly sociable persona.
"I feel really lucky," the Canadian actress tells Zap2it. "I feel like my character has had the most growth and the most interesting things to play. I sort of had suspicions about her sexuality right from Season 1, and I said something to the writers about it. You really have to be careful what you say to them, because they'll put it in the show.
"I think they had pocketed the idea, 'Who is Gail? Do we really know?' She certainly doesn't let anybody in, so whatever is going on with her, we can't define it. I don't know what it is. They could put her with a new guy and give her a new relationship with a new man, and that would be that."
Instead, Sullivan notes, "The more interesting part of this (relationship with Holly) is that it isn't sexual, and her interest is piqued in someone she's completely let her guard down with. She's never done that before, even with the men she's been head-over-heels in love with."
The story likely will continue next year in "Rookie Blue's" Season 5, but for now, Sullivan appreciates how it's been handled. "I don't want this to be about just kissing a girl, using the gay community for ratings. My initial reaction was that you don't do something like this without having it mean something.
" Tassie (Cameron, the series' co-creator and show runner) sat me down and said we would do this with the utmost care, and that's when I got really excited. I want the gay community to be happy with it and proud of it, but at the same time, I don't know what is in store. We're exploring it, and it allows me to play so many different layers of this person I've been inhabiting for the last four years."
Another such layer this season was Gail's discovery of then-boyfriend Nick's crush on Andy, with whom he spent six months on an undercover operation. "It was so interesting to watch Gail be so insecure," Sullivan reflects, "and to watch her be left in the dust by Nick once again. He'd abandoned her before, so it was nothing new."
Maybe that wasn't, but until a few weeks ago, "Rookie Blue" fans never had seen Gail croon show tunes while blissed out on meds in a hospital bed. "I was so off-pitch," Sullivan laughs, "I don't think they'll do that again."
For those who know Sullivan only as Gail, one of her most cherished off-screen activities may come as a surprise: She's an ambassador for UNICEF, and last spring, she and her fellow-actor husband Peter Stebbings ( "The Listener") -- along with "Rookie Blue" castmates Mooney and Priscilla Faia -- went to Peru on a related support mission.
"UNICEF is such a special organization," Sullivan says, "and to spread the word just makes me so happy. To get to see their money at work was astounding, and they really do go to the depths to get to a child.
"No child is too far away for them, and a $10 donation literally can buy 147 vaccinations. The littlest amount goes such a long way. UNICEF Survival Gifts are my passion, and I wouldn't say that had I not seen the power and the beauty of what those people do each and every day."
For more on "Rookie Blue," visitÂ ABC's official page.
Photo/Video credit: ABC