HON­OUR­ING THE BADGE

New po­lice drama Cops LAC shows the peo­ple be­hind the badges, as se­ries star Martin Dingle- Wall re­veals to Guy Davis.

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FEATURE -

In­deed, the ar­tic­u­late, thought­ful Dingle-Wall is in­fec­tiously en­thu­si­as­tic when it comes to talk­ing about the process of as­sem­bling his char­ac­ter.

The se­ries, which pre­miered last night, cen­tres on metropoli­tan po­lice sta­tion Seav­iew Lo­cal Area Com­mand ( the LAC of the ti­tle) and the of­fi­cers who staff it.

With a team rang­ing from rook­ies fresh out of the academy to plain-clothes de­tec­tives such as Llewellyn and his part­ner, De­tec­tive Se­nior Con­sta­ble Sa­man­tha Cooper ( Kate Ritchie), Seav­iew LAC’s work­load takes in ev­ery­thing from iden­tity theft to murder.

It’s a big ask, and it can take its toll on the per­sonal lives of those sworn to up­hold the law. Ac­cord­ing to Dingle-Wall, it’s that fea­ture of Cops LAC that dis­tin­guishes the show from other pro­grams of its kind.

“ There’s a whole story be­hind these peo­ple,” he said. “ And they’re fac­ing a world of con­flict ev­ery day.

“ I’ll ad­mit that I had that young mind­set where you see a cop and you think of some­thing wield­ing author­ity against your free­dom – an in­ter­fer­ence el­e­ment as op­posed to a pro­tec­tion el­e­ment. And I’m well aware that not ev­ery cop is civic­minded.

“ But what I liked about the struc­ture of this show is that it made me look at a cop car and re­alise that the guy and the girl in there, well, he might have a girl­friend at home, she might have a hus­band at home. So the show hu­man­ises these cops, con­veys that while they’re work­ing with life-or-death sce­nar­ios there’s an­other side to these peo­ple.

“ And the driv­ing im­pulse of these peo­ple, both per­sonal and pro­fes­sional, is what’s so en­joy­able and com­pelling about these char­ac­ters and about this show.”

Dingle-Wall, per­haps best known for his stint as Flynn Saun­ders on Home and Away ( which saw him nom­i­nated for the Most Pop­u­lar New Male Tal­ent Lo­gie), has clearly taken this as­pect of Cops LAC to heart, us­ing the back­story for Llewellyn de­vised by the show’s writ­ers as a launch pad to bring the char­ac­ter to life.

“ They gave us ini­tial ideas about what they thought would work but very gen­er­ously handed it over to us to ac­tu­alise these peo­ple,” he said.

A well-to-do up­bring­ing in a white-col­lar fam­ily, a pri­vate-school ed­u­ca­tion where he wit­nessed un­fair­ness and im­bal­ance borne of priv­i­lege, an un­suc­cess­ful mar­riage in his younger years, a keen in­sight into hu­man na­ture: Dingle-Wall com­bined all these el­e­ments and more to bring depth and di­men­sion to Llewellyn.

“ Rhys re­alised at an early age that he un­der­stood the rhythms of hu­man be­hav­iour and in­ad­ver­tently be­came a street stu­dent of psy­chol­ogy,” he said.

“ He doesn’t have any iden­tity is­sues – his oc­cu­pa­tion is his lifeblood. He’s seen things that make him per­ceive crime in a very spe­cific way, and he takes the at­ti­tude that he’ll deal with bad seeds any way he can to en­sure the good guys get a chance. There’s a so­cial and civic ac­tivism to him, and I love play­ing that.”

Just as en­joy­able is his re­union with Home and Away co-star Ritchie.

“ Team­ing up with Kate, our re­la­tion­ship as ac­tors has grown from episode to episode, lit­er­ally from scene to scene,” he said.

Next sta­tion: The cast from in­clud­ing ( cen­tre, from left) Martin Din­gleWall, Kate Ritchie, Gary Sweet and Roy Billing.

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