Wild animal attacks, freak accidents and bizarre illnesses are staples in any medical drama—but on CBC’s new show Skymed, all that action happens at 20,000 feet. It’s Top Gun meets Grey’s Anatomy, according to Vancouverite Morgan Holmstrom, who plays badass flight nurse Crystal Highway. Holmstrom was born and raised in Manitoba, where Skymed takes place, and the coincidences don’t stop there: her father worked in health care, and as a student she considered a medical career herself.

Skymed Morgan HolmstromVancouver actor Morgan Holmstrom on Skymed.

Instead, the arts called—but she still ended up learning how to put in an IV (on TV, anyway). On-set EMTs taught Holmstrom and the rest of the Skymed cast all there is to know about the magic of on-screen medicine, from treating flesh wounds to emergency tracheotomies. Holmstrom is Red River Métis, and she speaks both English and Nêhiyawêwin in the show (one of her first lines translates to goddammit, and
is followed by an excellent eyeroll). It’s the classic medical drama balance of extreme storylines and comic relief we know and love, and it’s all Canadian—so expectations are high (yes, that’s a plane joke). “It has local talent, plus all the intensity that people are really drawn to,” says Holmstrom.