Season one saw a massive jump in youth engagement across the ABC’s social channels. Now The Code is back for a second instalment
Shelley Birse’s The Code is an edge-of-your-seat portrayal of the totalitarian menace of clandestine state surveillance that remains ominously prescient, the second season of which premieres this week.
Returning again are central characters Ned Banks (Dan Spielman), a young former internet journalist on online publication Password, and his troubled hacker brother Jesse (Ashley Zukerman), as quirkily funny as he is bright, along with Jesse’s spirited girlfriend Hani (Adele Perovic). TV’s unlikeliest crusaders for democracy are again dragged into the darkest heart of politics and the web of black marketeers, and the international agencies that monitor and manipulate them.
The new season was a slight surprise, Birse happily admits, but one she has embraced with alacrity – the intensely plotted thriller was initially conceived as a oneseason series.
“As a form, the six-hour thriller is such a tricky beast to wrangle, and we were trying to do something a little different by focusing as much on the characters as the plot and we just didn’t know if it would work,” she says. “We needed to play all the cards we had and hope for the best because we knew it might be the only chance we ever got.”
The first series was a hit for the ABC, helping attract a younger demographic to the channel and finding enthusiastic markets in almost every ravenous international outlet, including Britain, the US and even Costa Rica.
“Both series of the show are sitting under that very broad question of what freedom of speech looks like in the digital age,” Birse says. “For series two we were hunting for plot territory which would allow us to look at the very best and worst aspects of digital anonymity.” The Code, 8.30pm tonight, ABC
Ashley Zukerman and Anthony LaPaglia star in the ABC series The Code.