DEEP WATER is a new four part BBC4 series, starring Yael Stone as Detective Tori Lustigman (Orange is the New Black) and Noah Taylor as Detective Nick Manning (Peaky Blinders, Game of Thrones).
The first episode opens with the expected Australian sunshine, blue seas and attractive young people playing on the beach. Yet as quick as they can say prawn or barbie, the body of Amir Rexhaj is found. He has been brutally murdered, and his lover, illegal immigrant Rohan Asad is soon in the frame for murder and hiding from the police. However Tori (newly returned to Sydney with the usual TV Cop baggage of divorce and a family tragedy) is not convinced. Her investigations start to unearth similarities with a number of other deaths within the area 26 years previously.
A serial killer in Sydney was an intriguing premise, especially to those of us whose knowledge of Australia was thanks to childhood viewing of Neighbours and The Sullivans. This was a powerful drama, setting as it did modern day Bondi Beach and the beauty of the area against a background of homophobia, racism and hatred.
Deep Water is based on a series of crimes that happened in the 80s and 90s where up to 80 young gay men were killed or attacked, yet the crimes were never investigated being classified as suicides or accidental deaths and often just not reported. Homophobia was rife during this time. Gangs existed who saw beating up gay men as a sport knowing the police wouldn’t bother them about it, and Aid’s was advertised as a curse brought about by gay men. This is shown to full effect by the use of footage of some of the horrific treatment that was given out by the police during a mardi gras parade.
Knowing that the story is based on real events, makes this drama all the more disturbing. Written by Kris Wyld it has a fantastic cast which reads like a who’s who of Australian TV. The two main characters are superb in their roles, and Yael Stone is almost unrecognisable from her character in Orange is the New Black. She plays the role of detective superbly.
Also included are Danielle Cormack from prison drama Wentworth, and my most favourite of all Craig McLachlan (actor and singer) although gone is the long hair and cheeky grin in this as he plays unpleasant bar owner.
As well as a more traditional police drama following briefing room discussions and police procedural, there are sweeping cliffs and underwater scenes, as well as clever side shots of text messages and computer searches reminiscent of the Sherlock TV series. All of these serve well in keeping the investigation interesting despite some slight clichés such as the use of a dating app called Thruster by the killer to catch his victims.
Deep Water is a very intriguing drama that I would thoroughly recommend watching.
- Aired on BBC4, November 12 2016 at 21:00.