He is strung up tighter than an unplucked mandolin
BRACE yourself for this explosive first episode of the third series of the home-grown SBS police drama. In fact, arm yourself, immediately, with a white flag.
Because there are moments when you may feel like rising from the couch and waving it in a bid, probably futilely, to escape being reduced to a bloody pulp in the deadly crossfire.
So intense is the action, so high the body count, so draining the tension that you may, indeed, need to seek mild sedation. I know I did. And that was before the first commercial break.
There is something hugely impressive about East West 101 and, as you are dragged inexorably into the action, you may find yourself regretting that this is the final series.
Because it is like a streetlevel, Sydney version of Spooks on steroids. And Spooks in which central characters meet violent and colourful ends as often as parrots flying through wind farms. It always feels as if it could run forever.
Detective Zane Malik ( Don Hany) is back, naturally, and faces life challenges, personal tragedy and a few faith-related complications; he is strung up tighter than an unplucked mandolin most of the time.
The estimable Supt Patricia Wright (Susie Porter) is also here, allocating sisterly hugs but running a tight ship, despite the tensions developing between the hot-headed Malik and the new bloke — battlehardened ex-serviceman detective Neil Travis (Matt Nable), who is inclined to East West 101 SBS One, Wednesday, 8.30pm shoot first and observe the investigative niceties later.
The draining first episode opens with a sequence based on Malik’s dark imaginings, but quickly morphs into the real world with a ruthlessly executed raid on an armoured vehicle that, as luck would have it, contains $36 million in used notes.
Racial tensions are never far below the surface, whether through Malik’s dignified observance or Travis’s deep suspicions— a legacy of a tour of duty in Afghanistan, or possibly Iraq.
An armed robber ends up dead and is identified as Fakhri Khalid (David El-Badawi) — a suspected former terrorist with an Australian wife who is an officer in the Australian army, now on active duty in Afghanistan.
So. Why is he behaving like Ronnie Biggs?
And is it wise or, appropriate, all things considered, for Travis to invite his Muslim colleague Malik out for a beer after work?
Dark imaginings: Don Hany as detective Zane Malik in