Within six months the Foxtel Group has unveiled its second Warner Bros. local drama series based on a European drama.
As a hit series Love me, the twelve it has been entirely adapted for Australian audiences and the results are truly fabulous.
Based on Belgium The Twelve, this 10-part courtroom drama comes with a sprawling ensemble, many derived from the theatre.
At the center of the story is the artist Kate (Kate Mulvaney) accused of murdering her teenage niece Claire (Coco Jack Gillies), daughter of her sister Diane (Jenni Baird).
But there’s no body that leaves defense attorney Brett Colby (Sam Neill) much room to make a compelling case.
“The most important thing is how you appear to the jury, your behavior… show emotion, but above all no histrionics,” he advises.
He is opposed by the equally sharp prosecutor Lucy Bloom (Marta Dusseldorp).
Arguing over Kate’s innocence or guilt might be enough for most drama to explore, but The Twelve gives equal attention to the jury. There are 14 of them, all of which amplify the drama for both the storytellers and the audience.
They include Georgina (Brooke Satchwell), a young mother of 3, who lives in a relationship with her abusive husband Jamie (Hamish Michael).
“We don’t want jury duty to interfere with mummy duty, do we?” he reminds her of him.
Alexi (Damien Strouthos) has to juggle his construction management duties to perform jury duty which puts a lot of stress on his brother (Ben Mingay). Indigenous student Jarrad (Ngali Shaw) is also struggling to meet university deadlines, lesbian Vanessa (Catherine Văn-Davies) would rather skip the whole case, but former refugee Farrad (Hazem Shammas) takes her responsibility and even cooks treats for her fellow jurors, to help break down barriers.
Juror Corrie (Pallavi Sharda) is also dealing with a family business subplot, one of many backstories that unfold as the episodes launch, while Brendan Cowell plays a misfit who seems destined to be compromised by proceedings.
Then there’s the victim’s father, Nathan (Matt Nable) estranged from his mother and certain that Kate isn’t telling the whole story about Claire’s disappearance.
A voluminous ensemble also includes supporting roles in police, jury, family and legal figures, including Louisa Mignone, Nicholas Cassim, Silvia Colloca, Shane Connor and others.
This leaves episode one as the ultimate in establishing its universe, but by episode two, when the story begins to focus on individual backstories, as well as dramatize the night in question, there’s so much more for audiences to get the hang of. connect. Brooke Satchwell’s domestic violence scenes are cold and searing, Ngali Shaw’s scenes involving police brutality are an uncomfortable reality check.
In the two episodes previewed it is evident that Sam Neill and Marta Dusseldorp are just sharpening their knives for some scenic fight to come, while Kate Mulvaney is brilliantly ambiguous as the defendant.
As 12 angry men, the series allows for not only on-point performances, but also a clash of ideas, class, and culture. To be judged by your peers, no single juror should carry more weight than another, but is that how closed-door justice is played out?
Director Daniel Nettheim strips away the layers of his jurors in their daily lives, not unlike an episode of Lost forcing us to rethink our perceptions of its crash survivors. Along with producers Ian Collie, Rob Gibson, Ally Henville, Hamish Lewis and the writers, he wove a whodunnit complex starring an outstanding cast with serious acting skills.
The Twelve airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. on FOX Showcase.