By Sonia West,
Drishti Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Supinder Wraich, a South Asian actress and writer who is the actor playing the lead character named ‘Sabrina Sohal’ in the new drama TV series from CBC titled Allegiance (premiering February 7 on CBC).
The series is about identity and belonging, policing and politics, and finding truth within the heart of a flawed justice system. It is the story of a young Sikh Punjabi Canadian woman caught between her allegiance to her flag, to her badge, and to her family. This new lead role will pave the way for other young South Asian Canadian women emerging in Hollywood.
Supinder Wraich was born in Chandigarh, India, and raised in Toronto, Canada. She is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Actors Conservatory; she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and is a Sheridan College Advanced Film & Television program alumni. Playing ‘Sandy Rai’ in the Emmy Award-winning GUIDESTONES marked Supinder’s first appearance in a digital series. It earned her a Canadian Screen Award for ‘Best Female Performance (Drama).’ She has appeared in the hit feature TEXTUALITY (starring Eric McCormack), guest-starred on ABC’s THE GOOD DOCTOR, and had a recurring role on several series, including THE EXPANSE (SyFy), PRIVATE EYES (Global), CRAWFORD (CBC), and THE BEAVERTON (Comedy Network).
Supinder appeared as ‘Aqsa’ in the CBC/Max hit series, SORT OF, which has earned five Canadian Screen Award wins and critical acclaim.
You may also know her from creating and starring in her 2019 CBC Gem original series titled The 410 – a crime drama about what it means to be a South Asian Canadian.
The series was one of five selected for further development as part of The Canadian Creative Accelerator program, supported by the Consulate in Los Angeles.
Supinder has an unwavering commitment to constantly amplifying her South Asian community in her work throughout her over 15-year career. She is passionate about Surrey’s South Asian community, and the city is integral to her new series. While researching her role, she was pleased to meet many South Asian women in law enforcement.
When she was growing up, it was different.
“I was grade four or five, and my teacher was in an Oreo commercial. I was curious—secretly for I wanted to be an actor.”
Why secretly, we ask?
South Asian actors were rare at the time. The South Asian community wasn’t always supportive of acting careers.
Supinder had the support of her family. She told her parents about her dream of pursuing a career in acting, and they trusted her and provided unwavering support.
Her parents started understanding her success when family and friends recognized her in television commercials. Supinder recalls her father being one of her biggest champions. Sadly, her father has passed, but she finds solace in knowing that he would be proud of all she has been able to accomplish.
Supinder is a new mother to 1-year-old son, Jashan. “I love to travel. I enjoy seeing the world through my son’s eyes.”
She is dedicated to her craft and will continue to act, write, and inspire other women. “Yes, I am a mother, but also an actor. I can be both.” She will encourage South Asian women to take that chance to become successful in any field they desire. She is a role model for many reading this article.
What similarities does Supinder share with the character of Sabrina Sohal?
“I am driven. I am curious. Sabrina is naïve sometimes.”
What was the most challenging part about your role in Allegiance?
“It’s a hectic schedule; we shoot for about 12 hours, then go home and learn my lines for the next day.”
Another challenge for Supinder was the weight of her police uniform. The physical part of maneuvering handcuffs and movements. She admits only some of the stunts were hers, although she needed to be physically fit for the role.
One thing she laughs about is her chemistry with her co-stars. “We have so much fun!” She enjoys their lightheartedness and joy, making the long hours tolerable.
Set in Surrey, BC, Allegiance follows Sabrina Sohal (played by Supinder), a star rookie police officer who must grapple with the limits of the justice system as she fights to exonerate her politician father, Ajeet Sohal (played by Stephen Lobo). Sohal serves her diverse hometown of Surrey alongside Vince Brambilla (played by Enrico Colantoni), a veteran training officer who sees her potential but doesn’t always agree with her forward-thinking methods. This is a story of a young woman caught between her allegiance to her flag, badge, and family.
In the TV series, Sabrina Sohal becomes the first woman in a long line of trailblazing Punjabi-Canadians from her family to become an officer in the fictionalized “Canadian Federal Police Corps”. But her world is turned upside down when her father, Ajeet Sohal, the Minister of Public Safety, is wrongly arrested for treason on the day of her graduation from the country’s top police academy. Sabrina must deal with the fallout on her first day as a beat cop when she meets her seasoned but sensitive veteran training officer, Vince. The two find themselves swept up in a missing child case that could have deadly consequences and might hint at a darker conspiracy involved in her father’s framing.
Allegiance makes its world premiere in Canada on Wednesday, February 7. New episodes will be available to watch every Wednesday on the free CBC Gem streaming service and air every Wednesday night on CBC TV at 9pm.