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Inside the ‘fictional world’ of CBC’s new Surrey-set police drama, out Feb. 7

‘Allegiance’ creator says the new series has nothing to do with city’s policing transition mess
Actors Supinder Wraich (Sabrina Sohal) and Enrico Colantoni (as Vince Brambilla) in CBC’s new Surrey-set police drama, “Allegiance,” to debut Wednesday, Feb. 7. (Photo: Darko Sikman via CBC/Lark Productions)

People will see and hear plenty of Surrey scenes and stories when they watch “Allegiance,” the new CBC police drama that debuts next Wednesday, Feb. 7 on TV and the Gem streaming platform.

The series stars Supinder Wraich as “Surrey girl” Sabrina Sohal, a star rookie police officer who grapples with the limits of the justice system while fighting to exonerate her politician father Ajeet Sohal, played by Stephen Lobo.

Sohal patrols Surrey alongside veteran training officer Vince Brambilla, played by Enrico Colantoni.

A trailer for “Allegiance” shows aerial views of Surrey and a “Canadian Federal Police Corps” building, described as the largest detachment of the police force.

With a Surrey policing transition still a very hot topic in the news, the “Allegiance” creative team says the timing of the series launch is coincidental.

“The CFP is a fictionalized police force and not meant to really represent the RCMP or the Surrey Police,” Wraich underlined during an interview on Zoom alongside Colantoni, series creator Anar Ali and co-showrunner Mark Ellis.

“We had officers from both forces on set – some days it was RCMP officers and others it was Surrey Police, and we liked them equally,” Wraich added.

“Of course we’ve always been aware that this was happening with the RCMP and the police,” Ali chimed in, “but it’s nothing that we necessarily address in our show, which is this fictional world.”

With “Law & Order”-like vibes, the show focuses on “identity and belonging, policing and politics, and finding truth within the heart of a flawed justice system,” according to a news release posted to

Supinder Wraich (as the character Sabrina Sohal) salutes in a scene in CBC’s new Surrey-set police drama, “Allegiance,” to debut Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. (Photo: Darko Sikman via CBC/Lark Productions)

Last fall, until just before Christmas, the first season of “Allegiance” was filmed in Surrey and parts of Langley.

“It was important that we try and capture as many of the key locations of Surrey as we could,” Ellis noted, “so viewers will see Surrey Central Library, city hall, our cops will be driving down King George.

“We had a great creative team that went out and captured a lot of aerials and pass-bys along streets, so we see the gurdwaras, the Payal Business Centre, we see blueberry and cranberry farms next to the reality of condos being built and auto dealerships and strip malls.”

Some Surrey-specific stories also work their way into the series, according to Wraich.

“We have a storyline that centers around Whalley and the gentrification that’s happening there and we actively discuss it,” the actor explained.

“We have another storyline where someone has come to the country and was taken to Surrey and we sort of recreate that journey, you know, from the airport to the place where they were in Surrey. We try to figure it out as part of our police work, in terms of when they give us clues about what bridges were crossed and, you know, where were they exactly? We discuss the landscape actually a fair bit.”

Ali said she created the series with themes of restorative justice in mind, along with identity and the allegiances of immigrants, with the help of consultant Paul Dadwal, an ex-RCMP officer from Surrey.

“I was really interested in exploring the idea of justice and the idea that our system is maybe a little bit broken right now,” Ali said.

“Surrey as the setting evolved through the creative process because I always start with characters and specifically, I was starting with Sabrina and her family,” Ali added.

“And so as I followed the characters, they took me to Surrey, and then I found out that it did have the, you know, largest diaspora of Sikh Punjabi people in the world. And I knew about the long history of the Sikh Punjabi community in B.C., and it was all those factors coming together. And Surrey is just so beautiful, so that’s not a bad thing either, and there are just so many rich stories of many communities there that I thought would be great to explore.”

The “Allegiance” creative team and actors will return here for a kickoff screening of the show Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Surrey City Hall. The invite-only event, planned in partnership with Surrey-based International South Asian Film Festival (iSAFF), will involve a Q&A with cast and crew.

“While we were shooting the show,” Wraich said, “it was just such an arduous shoot that we didn’t get to see as much of Surrey as we would like to. Going back, it’ll be nice to appreciate, you know, some of the restaurants as opposed to locations because I will say that our production design team did such a good job, sometimes I didn’t realize the real place that we were at.

“The people of Surrey, whenever we were shooting, would stop and ask what we were doing,” the actor added. “There was a real pride to have a show based in Surrey and two, that it was about the Sikh Punjabi community that lives there. I think it’s exciting to make a show that’s representative of that community.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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