I was lucky enough to attend a “meet and tweet” hosted by TV1 so a group of us Tweeps could watch episode 1 & 2 of he Australian drama series Killing Time -the story of controversial criminal lawyer to Melbourne’s underworld Andrew Fraser.
Killing Time was, simply, brilliant. Made over a year ago – legal wrangling meant is hadn’t hit Aussie TV screens until November 2.
David Wenham stars as Andrew Fraser, who spectacularly ended up in maximum security prison for a long stretch. The episode starts with Fraser in prison – pale, vulnerable.
Flashback to 1980s Melbourne and Fraser is a cocky lawyer who starts to take on clients like the Pettingill Family – the most notorious crime dynasty in the town. The Pettingill’s are bad people. (Looming large is the Walsh Street police killings that the family…but that’s to come.) David Wenham is, in my opinion, one of the greatest Australian actors around.
Actor Richard Cawthorne puts in an Oscar-winning performance (if Killing Time was a film he’d be sure to get on under the academy’s radar) as lunatic drug dealer and killer Dennis Allen – the eldest of Kath Pettingill’s sons. Cawthorne is truly terrifying as Allen. His stare alone is enough to bore into your soul.
The attention to detail in this series is also incredible – from the 1980s shoulder pads, to the old-style $50 notes and Jim Beam bourbon and cola cans. Melburnians who are old enough to remember the town in the 1980s will appreciate the trip back in time.
Actress Diana Glenn, who plays Fraser’s wife Denise, joined us at the Meet and Tweet event. Diana is great as the woman who captures Fraser’s affections. The flash-forward to her visiting her husband, along with their two children is one of the highlights of the first episode.
Overall the cast is brilliant. This would’ve been a great gig for Aussie actors. Appearances include the great Colin Friels as Lewis Moran (another king-pin of the Melbourne underworld),the late Michele Fawdon as Denise Fraser’s mum, ex-Cop Shop Great Terry Norris as Fraser’s father, Malcolm Kennard as Victor Peirce, Fred Whitlock, who is unrecognisable as Leslie Camilleri (the Bega schoolgirl murderer) and Kerry Walker as Fraser’s mother.
The script is full of great quotes too. Some of my faves from the first two episodes were:
“stick with me, we’re going to do a lot of good shit together.” Dennis Allen to Fraser.
“I’m only interested in what the cops can prove” – Andrew Fraser.
“I never did a job in Frankston. It’s a long way away & you never know what’s out there” – Victor Peirce (Dennis Allen’s brother).
Brilliant, gritty television. The true-crime genre of television is popular, thanks mostly to the Underbelly franchise (the strongest one I think was Tell Them Lucifer Was Here about the Silk and Miller police murders) but Killing Time is far better. It is less flashy.
Killing Time is on TV1.