It’s Underbelly on steroids (amphetamines, actually) where bent cops, bikie gangs, drug kings and prison psychos bash it out in a tale that beggars belief.
Yes, Roger Rogerson, probably the most infamous bent cop of them all, is back in the drama Blue Murder: Killer Cop, airing on Channel Seven on Sunday and Monday, (August 6 and 7) in what will be seen as the best drama of the year.
But it’s more than the simple story of a bent cop and a sleazy world. This is a brilliantly written, layered drama, which explores the world of policing, with its powerful, complicated relationships and flawed personalities.
And if Richard Roxburgh doesn’t win every award going for his brilliant portrayal of Rogerson, then there’s truly no justice in this world.
But let’s get one thing very clear.
“This programme is a scripted drama, not a documentary. Some characters and events have been created for dramatic purposes,” says a card at the beginning of each episode.
Seems Seven has learned from the lessons that cost Channel Nine dearly in its dramatisation of Gina Rinehart’s family life, House of Hancock, which resulted in lawsuits and meant the show won’t be seen again.
So, this drama opens with an old, spent Rogerson, in prison again, this time for murder. He’s looking back on the last phase of his life, bitterly decrying his fate – the “media midgets are calling me a serial killer”.
And he still can’t believe he’s not a cop.
“The streets were a lot safer when I was a copper than they are now.”
This story explores the answer to his questions over two amazing episodes and gazillions of ad breaks. It picks up from the end of the first series Blue Murder which screened on the ABC and launched Roxburgh’s career 20 years ago.
Beautifully written by Peter Schreck, it weaves together many stories of flawed-yet-interesting men into a seamless narrative and features some of Australia’s best actors.
Matt Nable is terrific as the crooked Mark Standen, former Head of the NSW Crime Commission, who rose and fell spectacularly in real life – undone by power and gambling.
Dan Wyllie plays a blinder as Michael Hurley – drugs importer, close Rogerson friend and, later, business partner.
They are ably supported by some strong female characters.
Toni Collette leads the way as Rogerson’s wife, Anna Melocco, closely followed by Emma Booth as Standen’s lover, Julie Weinthall, who struggles with her loyalty to justice and to her lover.
There are scenes that will go down in Australian drama history. Rogerson’s revenge on a prison officer who intimately frisked Melocco was particularly delicious and gives a whole new meaning to being “in the s***”.
When the Logies votes come round, remember Roxburgh as Rogerson. He won the Silver Logie in 1996 but it should be Gold this time.
Samuel Johnson won it for Molly this year. It’s now time a brilliantly portrayed, dark, flawed character took out the lightweight studio show hosts. Figuratively speaking, of course.