Return of the King
Crownies courtroom legend Janet King is back in action, with a new eight- part ABC legal drama bearing her name. Guy Davis speaks with series star Marta Dusseldorp.
Dusseldorp: “There was a lot of time and energy spent in creating a different kind of show. But with everyone coming back,
it was almost like we’d never left.”
It’s been a year since Senior Crown Prosecutor Janet King has set foot in a courtroom.
And after 12 months of maternity leave which has seen her caring for two infants with her partner, she is determined to show she still has the edge that made her a legal force to be reckoned with. But does she? “For the first time, I think you see Janet a bit nervous,” said Marta Dusseldorp, who in the eight- part ABC drama Janet King reprises the role she originated in Crownies.
“She’s not sure if this is right for her, which is a different Janet. For someone who is a bit of a control freak and doesn’t care what people think of her, how she reacts to this is … well, a very particular thing.”
It’s a very different Department of Public Prosecutions Janet finds upon her return. New alliances have been formed, most notably with tough, pragmatic cop Jack Rizzoli ( Vince Colosimo), and new players, such as the ambitious Owen Ramsey ( Damian Walshe- Howling), have entered the arena.
And after Janet’s first case has an unfortunate outcome, she is hell- bent on convicting Steven Blakely ( John Howard), a highranking cop who claims to have accidentally killed his terminally- ill wife after giving her a lethal dose of painkillers.
The ensuing case quickly goes from complicated to downright dangerous, however, and Janet finds herself entangled in a conspiracy that, in Dusseldorp’s words, “changes her life forever”.
While she is understandably tight- lipped about the developments later in the series, Dusseldorp does say events midway through “rip Janet down to the core”.
While the title of the series is Janet King, and the story does place some emphasis on the character’s professional and personal life, it is very much an ensemble piece, with many of Janet’s colleagues from
Crownies returning to fight the good fight alongside her.
“I wanted to show the different shades of Janet as much as I could, and I’m really glad the family stuff has come up as much as it has. People can identify with her as a mother as well as a prosecutor, and that was the big change,” Dusseldorp said.
“But each character has their own story and then there are these guest stars bringing their own individual flavour to it as well.
“So there’s a lot to offer over the eight episodes and I think that’s really important, that everyone is as strong as each other. They all have such wonderful light and shade, and we all try to push it in different ways.
“It was great to watch everyone develop something that could naturally spin off from Crownies. There was a lot of time and energy spent in creating a different kind of show. But with everyone coming back, it was almost like we’d never left.”
Janet King, premieres tonight, 8.30pm, on ABC1