Blue Murder > Underbelly aka Tits, Kiwis and Police Corruption…



I enjoyed Underbelly, the first time round, it was all about Melbourne’s gangland wars. It had Vinnie C banging around looking, well, much like he does anyway except with less tracksuits. It was pretty cool. I was never overly excited by the actual gangland stories, i mean, going to a bar where some dude got capped for snitching is all well and good, but i prefer my beers without gun violence. It had boobs everywhere, some local alleys and northside corners, and even my old street in prahran.

One thing the 1st series had however that pretty much ruined the entire experience for me was the soundtrack. Maybe i’m alone in this, and i’m not just hating on these artists or aussie music in general, its more that the overall quality of the series was surprisingly good, and i couldn’t figure out why they didn’t have a soundtrack to match? Think about the Sopranos; a deft musical soundscape that supported, emphasised and occasionally defined the action on screen. Rather than ham-fisted selections that were so clearly out of place stylistically, thematically, or in the case of Underbelly, historically.


After one too many Spiderbait covers, Vinnie C took out the jukebox…

On the flipside, I thought the casting was good, although fairly predictable. Relatively new face Gyton Grantley portrayed Carl Williams as a sinister, but ultimately kinda retarded bogan and its always fun seeing old faces like Heartbreak High’s Drazig, Franky J and Madeleine ‘i survived a bus crash’ West getting it in. In fact, aside from my soundtrack complaints, the show lived up to (most) of the considerable hype.

Apparently production and marketing (buses/trams/tv/radio/cereal boxes/sky writing/telepathic brain washing/etc) cost over 15 million, which is a lot to spend on a local product, aimed almost exclusively at local audiences. Then of course the Victorian Courts put the lock down on screening episodes, meaning that Victorians had to wait a couple of hours longer to see each episode (depending on download speeds) or in the case of some enterprising pubs, just go watch it on foxtel.


To prepare for the role, the KFC Colonel gave up Tower Burgers…

Now there’s the 2nd series, and this time round, its set well back in the day, a time when the world was calmer, when horse racing personalities owned 15 casinos and 100 strip clubs, when everybody rocked a sic white perm or a cowlick, and apparently, the entire world drug trade was masterminded by kiwis (and terrible kiwi impersonators). Which seems a little far fetched considering how hard it is to score illicit substances in NZ, and how far a desperate kiwi will go to score half a pill these days. But i digress.


Ray Chuck & the ‘new’ Chopper Reid > Crappy accents and 70’s hair…

It continues the winning theme of titties everywhere, and blatant ‘fictitious’ drug use, supported by fast editing and some really well scripted sequences. Series 2 only really goes wrong with the overwhelming number of kwi accents. But i guess it was a different time, a different era if you will, and besides, its set mostly in Queensland and NSW, and we all know how that goes. As for the soundtrack, its a lot easier to get it right since the musical predilection of most Australians tends to be about 20 years out of date, and the show can avoid shitty covers altogether.


Completely unrelated to John Sykes’ Whitesnake hair metal spin off…

But all this talk of contemporary tv crime shows led me to rewatch the grandaddy of them all. Quite probably the best police mini series ever made in Australia. This is the show that really set the standard. Less tits, but better writing, acting and story. The cast is a veritable list of Australia’s best actors, funnily enough, a number of the ‘elder statesmen’ in Underbelly (1&2) are played by stars from Blue Murder.

Focusing more on the life and times of Arthur ‘Neddy’ Smith and centering on his gradual rise in the criminal underworld as well as the massive police corruption in 1980’s Sydney. However, the realism was challenged by the actual people, as Smith said in an interview “it’s not a bad movie as a drama, but it’s all bullshit”. Richard Roxborough and Tony Martin are brilliant, even Gary ‘police rescue’ Sweet turns in a fine showing as Dale Flannery (also a character in Underbelly 2.)


They’ve just released a shiny 3 disc set of the series, so if you need a break from contemporary soft-porn crime drama, I highly recommend it to anyone down for some real, gritty, entertaining old school police drama. But if its breasts you’re after, stick to Underbelly.


One Response to “Blue Murder > Underbelly aka Tits, Kiwis and Police Corruption…”

  1. tubswaller Says:

    Worth a laugh is this years Tropfest offering featuring Gyton Grantley as Caaaaarrrrrllllll Williams. Check it out.

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