Craig Olejnik gets ready to say goodbye to 'The Listener'

Craig Olejnik at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, June 6, 2014. (Dominic Chan/WENN.com)

Craig Olejnik at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, June 6, 2014. (Dominic Chan/WENN.com)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:18 PM ET

If you think about something and The Listener isn't there to hear it, does it make a sound?

Riddles aside, Craig Olejnik is adjusting to a world gone quiet.

“I've been in this character's world off and on for about seven (calendar) years now, so it's taking its time to move its way through my system, like a detox or a purge,” said Olejnik, who plays lead character Toby Logan in The Listener. The series finale airs Monday, Aug. 18 on CTV.

“I've been sweating it out, trying to figure out who Craig is, minus Toby Logan. Withdrawal, man, withdrawal. I keep calling people Oz (a character played by Ennis Esmer). It's a little disappointing not knowing what people are thinking any more.

“We all knew this day eventually was going to come. And here it is. But it's weird to think, 'I'm not Toby Logan anymore.' ”

The Listener focuses on Toby, who can read people's minds. There was an official announcement on Aug. 6 that the fifth season would be the final season.

“Literally, we (the cast, which besides Olejnik and Esmer includes Lauren Lee Smith, Melanie Scrofano, Anthony Lemke and Rainbow Sun Francks) found out only four or five days before the announcement,” Olejnik said.

So had the final episode been shot as if it were just another season finale?

“It's a funny thing, because you never know if it's going to be the last scene of the season or the last scene of the series,” Olejnik said. “They fought hard to wrap it up the way they did. And I think it's a nice conclusion for the diehard fans from season one. What an arc for my character. What a ride he had.”

In a TV world where there's no guarantee quality shows will stick around, Olejnik was asked why he thinks The Listener had staying power.

“Between season one and season two, there was a bit of a pause, a hesitation, and we weren't entirely sure if we were going to be picked up,” Olejnik recalled. “This was pre-Bell Media coming in, this was still the old CTV, with (executives) Ivan Fecan and Susanne Boyce. But there was a huge online petition that people signed all around the world, and then we got picked up, ultimately. That was the momentum, that was the swing.

“And the show went into a different realm where it was less mythical and more about solving a case each time. Less about Toby's life and more about stand-alone episodes. All the networks involved, Fox International and CTV and Shine and Shaftesbury Films, they were really able to figure out the algorithm, so to speak. Honestly, without that transition between season one and season two, I don't think we would have made it as far as we did. Credit to all the chefs in the kitchen.”

It's one thing to not believe it's over, but Olejnik still is wrapping his head around the fact that it happened at all.

“It's still kicking in that the show is done, and it's still kicking in that I even was on a show that went for 65 episodes, and I was in 90% of it," Olejnik said. "That's insane to me. It still blows my mind. I'm just grateful.

“It comes down to eyeballs, it comes down to the network supporting it, and the producers producing it, and the people watching it. I'm still learning what it means to be an actor, and what purpose it serves society and history. But I've learned so much over these years that will be invaluable to me in my lifetime, just as a human being.

“To all the 'listeners' (viewers) out there, I want to thank them deeply from the bottom of my heart, for making a little Nova Scotia boy's dreams come true."

For devoted fans of The Listener, that's easy on the ears.

Twitter: @billharris_tv

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca


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