The Code

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Australia is going through a bit of a Renaissance in television. Known as a place for location shoots and tax breaks, there are relatively few home-grown shows, outside of soaps and low-budget deals, and even fewer exports.

Of late, there have been several higher quality productions (for example, Miss Fisher’s and Doctor Blake) .  This new mini-series is a darkly twisted, sadly believable, look at the machinations of politics and industry. It starts simply enough, then appears to go into truly bizarre places, but ultimately grounds itself nicely. Admittedly, it is a bit fantastical, but it keeps you believing long enough to buy in, and eventually explains many events you initially dismiss as just bad writing.

The cast is largely unknown to most of the world. Only Lawless (Top of the Lake, Xena) will be immediately recognizable to most folks.  But they are all rather good.

My only gripe is the current theme of Asperger’s suddenly becoming the flavor of the week for plot points, both good and bad. No matter how it is depicted or driving the plot, it isn’t so much normalizing the issue as exploiting it still. While acknowledgment is often the first step of normalization, the very volume of the appearances is getting a little ridiculous.

That aside, there is enough in this 6-parter to keep you entertained and keep you guessing. It is a bit grim, but not so much so that you’ll want to drink heavily afterwards. Enough good things happen to sustain enjoyment and wrap it all up nicely.

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