CBC Radio, 4-11 January 2012
Set in the cutthroat world of public relations, CBC's (Canadian Broadcasting
Company) Trust Inc., shows how the firm of Leger and Pratt do business for clients both rich and poor, especially
local would-be politician James Yearwood (Peter Outerbridge).
Told from the point of view of Serena Jordan (Georgina Reilly), who has been with
the firm three weeks, and has already been drawn into a series of nefarious schemes, this satiric drama portrays a world of
surfaces in which everything - a client's personal and private lives, his financial affairs - can be managed. In a world of
instant communication through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube as well as the traditional media outlets, it is the public relations
firm's job to send out as many positive messages as possible at all times of the day. The employees work long hours, often
under great pressure, and are either praised or admonished by the intimidating co-founder of the firm, Catherine Leger (Julie
The story is a familiar one - over half a century ago, Alexander Mackendrick's film
Sweet Smell of Success portrayed a similarly immoral world in which press agents like Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) worked for
an equally intimidating boss, J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster). What renders Trust Inc.so entertaining is the way
in which it has been constructed as a first-person narrative told in the continuous present, as Serena describes her daily
life and reacts to each and every situation. She treats the listeners as sympathetic auditors, who will be prepared to listen
to her story and overlook any mistakes she might make. As portrayed by Georgina Reilly, she comes across as an enthusiastic
employee, who tries to do her best yet continually finds herself in sticky situations not of her own making.
And herein lies the major irony of Trust Inc. The more Leger and Pratt try
to control their clients' lives, the more circumstances conspire to frustrate them. They try to portray Yearwood in a certain
way, but find that certain sordid details of his private life keep coming to light. Yearwood accepts all of the firm's
publicity strategies, yet embarrasses them by acting independently. There are other potentially destructive individuals to
contend with, such as campaigning journalist Parvinder Singh-Donelley (Keon Mohajeri), who keeps asking difficult questions.
Much of Leger and Pratt's operations seem to be focused on damage limitation rather than public relations, which undercuts
the efficient image they like to present to their clients.
Within the office environment, the employees are supposed to work as a team, yet
end up competing with one another for Catherine's approval. The males basically despise Serena's presence in their midst;
she is not only a woman, but she possesses a certain cunning that ensures her continuing survival in the company, despite
the reversals she experiences. She is the fox who outwits the hounds pursuing her.
Trust Inc. is structured as a series of short scenes, written in razor-sharp
dialogue that fairly crackles with sarcastic wit. I loved the first two episodes, and can't wait for more.