There is some cracking drama coming out of Australia at the moment, which is just as well, because there’s a rule in our house that all Australian television is to be watched, considered and judged accordingly. Some of it is drivel (we’re not soap lovers, by and large, which dealt with Neighbours and Home and Away fairly swiftly) but of late, quite a lot of what we’ve sat through has been pretty darned good.
Deep Water is a police procedural set in and around Bondi Beach in Sydney. What starts as a routine murder enquiry rapidly becomes a hunt for a serial killer and a reinvestigation into a series of brutal murders, disappearances and apparent suicides of gay men in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It’s stirring stuff, especially as it is based on the truth – many young gay men in and around the area did disappear under highly suspicious circumstances or investigations into their deaths didn’t get completed.
Quite aside from telling a thumping good story, Deep Water questions how things have changed in Australia if you’re a gay man – there is still a culture of machismo amongst many Australian men and I personally think it’s a deeply flawed ideal. By focusing on sports, the outdoor life and physical achievements it is very easy to see how those who don’t fit in – for whatever reason – could find their lives very quickly made hell.
The drama is only four parts but they are gripping viewing. It’s so nice to see Craig McLachlan – alternatively known as Dr Blake or Henry from Neighbours, depending on your viewing habits – playing a character who is irredeemably vile. That shattered a few illusions, I can tell you!
If there is a fault with this series, it is that it perpetuates the illusion that there are, in fact, only two dozen actors in Australia. A good two thirds of the cast were last seen in Canberra-based political thriller The Code (which also comes highly recommended) and one of the leads, I’m fairly sure, is in the Night Watch on Westeros. Don’t let that put you off, though, because the acting, script and story are excellent and this is a series that deserves to be watched.
I hope also that it goes some way into solving the real life cases; there must be many grieving families seeking some form of closure and anything that can help must be a benefit.