DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Wednesday -

SO IF you just loved The Wire and thought it was the great­est show in the his­tory of tele­vi­sion, you need to watch Crack House USA. They could’ve called it Smack House USA. It seems to be mainly smack house ac­tu­ally.

‘‘ Soft’’ is what you need to say when you go in and ask for heroin. And ‘‘ hard’’ is crack. Just so you know.

I say that be­cause in life, you just never know who uses drugs. Watch this and you’ll see that. Old, young, soc­cer mums, of­fice work­ers, teenagers . . . OK.

So this doc­u­men­tary takes place in Rock­ford, Illi­nois, and what the cops did, un­der Task Force Sgt Barry Cun­ning­ham, was find this house, it was fairly ne­glected, but it was per­fectly placed for sur­veil­lance, they painted it, fixed it up, they set up a com­mand cen­tre not too far away in an old paint fac­tory, and they wired up the house with video and au­dio, then rented it, through their in­for­mant, to a drug gang.

Six weeks they got out of it, longer than they ex­pected, but less than they ide­ally needed, and you’ll see how it all goes.

There’s plenty we don’t see, but we see enough.

What I liked though, or I

Set up: Sgt Barry Cun­ning­ham don’t know if ‘‘ liked’’ is ex­actly the word, but what I found just riv­et­ing were the in­ter­views with the fam­ily of the gang mem­bers.

The moth­ers who keep ask­ing them­selves what went wrong, was it their fault . . . we hear from the grand­mother of one boy, a sis­ter, a mother-in­law, they’re all great in­ter­views, re­morse­ful, re­veal­ing, lots of things. I loved this part of it.

The wire tap is pretty good though. As one of the cops says, ‘‘ They’re just liv­ing like reg­u­lar peo­ple lived.’’

They’re kick­ing back on the couch, watch­ing TV, play­ing video games, friends come over . . . the friends who want to buy drugs. Pos­si­bly one of the key dif­fer­ences. And ev­ery­one has a gun. Crack House USA ABC2, 9.30pm

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