When British detective Max Drummond (John Bradley) is assigned to observe an investigation in Sydney, his marriage is in trouble and he’s raising unwelcome questions about possible corruption in another case close to home.
Max is too ethical for his own good, it seems, but observing a case in Australia might test him more.
The Sydney case involves the corpse of Sophie, the nineteen-year-old daughter of Abigail Crawford (Joanne Froggatt), British trade minister leaning on him to get to the bottom of it all, in the new 10 miniseries, North coast.
Leading the investigation is Detective Sgt Meg Driscoll (Kirsty Sturgess), accompanied by Det. Paea Leniu (Chris Alosio), who does not welcome the British who look over their shoulders. But the stakes are raised when it turns into Meg’s first murder case.
Grieving mother Abigail also faces political pressure for a trade deal between the two nations, against the backdrop of power plays at home and the aspirations of Australia’s Labor opposition leader (Matt Passmore).
Writer Mike Bullen (Cold feet) weaves intersecting storylines between the personal and the professional, dramatized by Sophie’s boyfriend Tom (Max Meyer-Rayment), his best friend Oscar (Jonathan Lagudi), and Tom’s father, businessman Lloyd Macklin (Rob Carlton). There is also Abigail’s husband Simon (Dan Spielman), a Labor media consultant (Toby Truslove), Abigail’s British adviser (George Pullar) and others.
That’s a lot to keep up with as viewers deal with red herrings, secrets, and lies, as audiences have come to expect from premium drama.
Bullen, who moved to Australia many years ago, also dives into his cultural observations…
north coast it is “the Chelsea of Sydney”.
“Australians pronounce party ‘pardy’…it’s really annoying,” insists Max.
“Why spell Labor without the ‘U’?” and another…
In a serious drama, these light-hearted observations add color, as do the cast’s performances.
John Bradley’s emotional face, as memorable as game of ThronesSam, shows empathy and stress as he bounces between his mother Abigail and Australian detective Meg. Joanne Froggatt’s cool exterior cracks briefly before she regains her trademark steely resolve.
“I don’t know what else to do. I have to carry on, we have to carry on… we have to be strong or this will destroy us,” she tells her husband Simon.
Rob Carlton is gnarly as an obscure multi-millionaire and it’s good to see a diverse casting of the two local detectives in Kirsty Sturgess and Chris Alosio, although the series is aimed heavily at a UK audience, keeping the pair largely abrasive in contrast to the more intelligent and kind British observer. Even an Australian waitress is unnecessarily rude to her UK customers. Why visit over there, there are sharks, murders, rude cops and shady hotels with cockroaches?
Episode two also has a bizarre charade to corroborate an alibi, but these are minor quibbles in an otherwise entertaining antipode mystery.
10 has moved towards Australian/UK co-productions as of late with Lie to me from Fremantle, with Filming AND Heat yet to come. north coast directed by Gregor Jordan is produced by Beach Road Pictures, co-founded by David Maher and David Taylor, formerly of Playmaker Media (House Husbands, Love Child, The Code, The Commons) and it will keep you guessing.
Two conflicting detectives forced to work together may not be a new concept, but inside north coast is handled with aplomb by the main cast and such a good port 10 also shows it as the home of NCIS: Sydney.
North Shore airs Wednesday the 10th at 8:40pm.