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Da Vinci opener looks at missing prostitute cases

The Vancouver Province

By Ian Bailey

September 7, 1999.

The unsolved disappearances of prostitutes from Vancouver’s seamy eastside will loom large in the season premiere of one of CBC TV’s most popular shows.

In an unusual mesh of fact and fiction, the real-life case figures in a two-parter that kicks off the second season of the critically acclaimed series Da Vinci’s Inquest.

"The [missing women] was just such an obvious issue that seemed so present in Vancouver," said Chris Haddock, creator and executive producer of the series about a crusading Vancouver coroner played by Nicholas Campbell.

B.C.’s real-life coroner, Larry Campbell—no relation—has advised Haddock on content for the show, which airs Oct. 6.

Since 1978, about 30 prostitutes have vanished from the downtown eastside neighbourhood, fuelling fears that a serial killer is on the loose in the area, ravaged by poverty and HIV linked to drug use.

The convergence of fact and fiction comes as an eight-member Vancouver police team probes the mystery.

The Da Vinci episode was filmed recently in the downtown eastside by noted Canadian director Anne Wheeler under the working title Cinderella’s Story.

"Even while we were shooting, we’d open the morning papers and say, ‘Oh my God. Look at this. This is what we’re shooting today,’" said Wheeler, who has directed five Da Vinci episodes.

"It was a bit disturbing."

Anne Wheeler has directed five episodes of CBC's Da Vinci's Inquest, including this season's premiere about missing prostitutes.

"A Cinderella Story "
(Episodes 1& 2)

Written by Alan DiFiore, Chris Haddock, Esta Spalding
Directed by Anne Wheeler

Coroner Dominic Da Vinci is back in the headlines when he calls for Vancouver City to set up a red light district following the death of a high-priced escort, and the continuing mystery of the 28 missing prostitutes who are presumed dead. Doubt is cast on the guilt of a man serving time for a murder

"A Nice Home In The Country" (Episode 7)

Written by Alan Di Fiore, Chris Haddock, Esta Spalding
Directed by Chris Haddock/Tom Braidwood

The excavation for a water main turns up human bones. Kosmo takes up the challenge of piecing together the puzzle of Vancouver's 28 missing prostitutes.

DaVinci's Inquest - CBC

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Updated: August 21, 2016