ROBERT C. COOPER WAS ONE OF MANY CANADIANS SICKENED BY TAINTED BLOOD IN THE ’80S. HIS NEW TV SHOW REMINDS US OF THE TRAGEDY

The Toronto-born writer, producer and director is part of the story. He’s one of thousands of hemophiliacs who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood in the 1980s.

Robert C. Cooper is a tainted-blood survivor and the creator of the CBC miniseries Unspeakable. (KHAREN HILL/CBC)

To say that the miniseries Unspeakable is a passion project for Robert C. Cooper understates his dedication to telling the tale of Canada’s tainted-blood scandal.

For one thing, the Toronto-born writer, producer and director is part of the story. He’s one of thousands of hemophiliacs who contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood in the 1980s.

“That’s why you’re the right person to tell it,” says actress Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays the mother of a hemophiliac boy in the miniseries, debuting Jan. 9 at 9 p.m. on CBC. “It’s not a sort of outside historical view; it’s one person who’s so angry that you can write a 20-page rant and that passion is what drives the story.”

But Cooper’s passion isn’t just about himself; it’s also about the responsibility he feels to many people caught up in the scandal whose histories became part of the series.

Cooper — known for his work on the series Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and SGU Stargate Universe — approached the CBC about the show around 2014. A third round of treatment for his hep C had finally made him feel better and “I started thinking about the story a little more as a storyteller and less as a victim.”

When it was greenlighted, “my goal was to then set about doing a ton of research, talking to as many people on all sides, because it was very important that this feel real and truthful,” he says during an interview at CBC’s Canadian Broadcasting Centre.

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