TORONTO — Jason Priestley says it's merely a coincidence that the upcoming return of "Private Eyes" is reminiscent of recent headlines surrounding the Canadian actor.
Canadian heavyweight boxing champ George Chuvalo guest stars in Sunday's episode on Global, as the detective duo played by Priestley and Cindy Sampson investigate whether a match between female fighters was fixed.
At one point Priestley's character sucker-punches his former manager, bringing to mind the actor's admission last December that he once clocked Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein at a Miramax party after the Golden Globes.
"That was just dumb, blind luck, I guess," Priestley said with a laugh in a recent interview, when asked if the "Private Eyes" episode was a wink and a nod to his Weinstein story.
The former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star first shared his Weinstein experience on Twitter in response to a post about Mira Sorvino allegedly losing a role in "The Lord of the Rings" film series because of a smear campaign orchestrated by the producer.
Priestley, a native of Vancouver who used to box himself for several years, said he made the admission in a bid to clarify the situation during a Twitter exchange.
"I don't want my situation with Harvey to ever be a distraction," Priestley said.
"I feel like acts of violence against women are detestable and they need to be dealt with and they are important.
"And I feel like what happened between Harvey and I was trivial — and I don't want a trivial act and a trivial thing that happened between two men to ever trivialize the importance of what needs to be dealt with between Harvey and a bunch of women."
In the new batch of episodes of "Private Eyes," which is shot in Toronto, Matt Shade and Angie Everett (Priestley and Sampson) settle into new personal relationships as well as their partnership in the agency.
"This show is especially gratifying for me," Priestley said.
"I was one of the producers who developed this show from the series of books that it was developed from, and so ... all the success of the show, I really try to take a moment to enjoy it because I feel very proud of it.
"This show has been a labour of love not only for me but for a number of us for a long time."
Priestley added he's proud of the way "audiences around the world are responding to a show that is unabashedly Canadian and set in Toronto and doesn't pretend that it's not."
"I think the fact that we can sell a product like this to audiences all over the world, and they consume it at the rate that they're consuming it, is very telling and should make Torontonians feel very good about their city."
Priestley is a well-known fan and friend of the Barenaked Ladies, who were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Juno Awards in March. Former bandmate Steven Page reunited with them for the occasion.
"I still kind of hope the boys will eventually figure out a way to get back together," Priestley said.
"I'm like the kid who ended up with both of them in the divorce, because I'm still friends with all the guys and I'm also still friends with Steve, so I still see them all. Maybe someday."
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press