A trio of pals throw caution—and common sense—to the wind to shake up their lives after a friend’s sudden passing

When the proverbial fourth musketeer in a group of female besties dies, the three remaining friends take a long, hard look at their lives and decide that it may be time to make better—or at least different—decisions about how they want to spend the time they’ve got left. Eliza Coupe, Ginnifer Goodwin and Maggie Q play Amy, Jodie and Sarah, who in the throes of grief decide to hit the reset button on their lives and pull a “pivot.”

Except, well... a lot of the choices they make are downright reckless, and maybe don’t have the best long-term impact on themselves or their families. Amy’s determination to be a more present mother is offset by the fact that she is, in fact, a pretty selfish person. And Sarah’s decision to trade in her career as a doctor for a position at the local grocery store... well, the less said about that the better. At least Jodie’s choice to work out with a personal trainer will aid her health... even if a potential affair with said trainer would come at the cost of her marriage. But hey, at least they know they’re alive. Unlike their friend Coleen, who after her death is being canonized by her three pals as near saintly. “We are completely going to find out, along the way, that she was not perfect,” reveals creator Liz Astrof. “That justifies their pivots, a little bit, the more they find out. She was certainly not perfect and realizing that and remembering that, I think, gives them permission to do this.”

PivotingCTV

The show is based on Astrof’s real-life experience, where after the death of a peer, her group of childhood friends got even closer out of fear that they might lose each other. “[These characters] cling to each other because they’re the only ones who understand each other’s grief and they still have each other,” says Astrof. “It was the same way with my friend. What I’ve noticed is how close we are, and how we can be so gross in front of each other and not even for one second blanch. Everything is so intimate, and we laugh when we should be crying. There’s no judgment. It’s unconditional love.”

PivotingCTVGoodwin says that after family-friendly Once Upon a Time, she was looking for a show that would make her mother a little uncomfortable. “I’ve been looking to, on a very surface level, cry to make people laugh instead of crying to make people cry. It’s just an itch that needs scratching,” she says. “One of my best friends, Whitney Cummings, who created 2 Broke Girls [on which Astrof worked as a producer and writer], called me and said, ‘Have you read Pivoting by one of my favourite writers?’ And I went after this ferociously because I felt like it was exactly what I wanted. It’s completely relatable. I’ve also experienced loss for the first time in my life only in the past handful of years, in losing friends and family members. But ultimately, I feel like it’s so contemporary.”

All three lead actresses have experienced pivots in their own lives. Goodwin realized after having children that she wanted to focus on them as the adventure, as opposed to toting them along on her adventures.

Having left her native Hawaii for a career abroad, Q’s life also took a drastic turn years ago. “I knew that there was more, and so I just took off,” she says. “I didn’t know what I was doing or where I was really going. I went to places where I didn’t speak the language. I didn’t understand what the hell was happening around me. I had no money, which was even a bigger issue. So, I had to really work my way up and start in a place where I didn’t know anyone and I had no job. The pivot was real.”

PivotingCTVFor Coupe, it was divorce that gave her a jolt. “You’ve got to pivot after a divorce,” she says. “The pivot was that this type of lifestyle actually doesn’t resonate with me. It’s a construct of maybe a conditioned response to what I’m supposed to do in this world, but it’s not actually what makes my heart happy. So, I’m grateful for it and now I’m in a place where I just feel so happy.”

Although Astrof’s show stems from a tragic real-life event, the creator realized that the pandemic, as well as reaching middle age, has made a life change relatable to almost every woman she knows. “It’s everyone in our age group,” she says. “I started to notice more that people were burning things down because they realized that, like, this is it. Either I might go soon, or what if I live forever? What if I live another 30, 40 years like this? I don’t want to do that either. It just put life into perspective for all of us.” 

Pivoting airs on Thursday, at 9:30 p.m. on CTV and Fox