First Review: Sea Patrol

Given Border Security has become one of TV’s most successful brands, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to capitalise on the interest as a weekly drama.

The opening scene of Sea Patrol jumps right into the action as the crew of HMAS Hammersley are about to board an illegal fishing vessel. Guns are aimed, decisions are made, shots are fired. There’s no mucking about with backstory here.

And with loaded pistols aimed, McCune’s Kate McGregor is struggling to perform her job efficiently against the putrid smell of the fisherman’s catch. The audience is compelled to consider the dilemmas and knife-edge decisions that our navy face as part of their day at the office.

From here the show moves toward the personal lives of its central characters. Kate is new to the Hammersley but hints at some former emotional involvement with Commander Mike Flynn (Ian Stenlake). Insert unresolved sexual tension now? Maybe, maybe not.

Others in the Hammersley crew include Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor, Saskia Burmeister and Josh Lawson. Stenlake’s character isn’t afforded much character development in the opening episode, but Lindsay-Taylor looks like he will be a force to be reckoned with as the cocky “Buffer.”

As the episode progresses, our characters face a medical emergency and a sea rescue. Some scenes are clunkily-handled with expository dialogue, contrasting the opening scene that expect the viewer to get up to speed.

This is a big budget, aerial shot, Queensland coast, pounding-music drama. The sweeping aerial shots and vistas all look terrific in Sea Patrol and will appeal instantly to a nation of coastal-dwellers.

As storytelling Sea Patrol opens very traditionally, drawing upon rock-solid lessons learned from genre dramas such as Water Rats or even Patrol Boat. Dramatic jeopardy, some white-knuckle action, a little romance and character development, just a dash of humour. The huge Hammersley cuts through the water like Nine charting the safest of smooth-sailing waters.

The first episode in the hands of Blue Heelers’ co-creators finds the choices quite broad, aiming for the biggest possible audience. What might it have been as a raw, grainy, docudrama verite? Wildside on a boat? Blue Murder or Phoenix at sea? Who knows…

Creative choices aside, Sea Patrol is proudly glossy and aspirational. It is an assured and confident genre piece that deserves a big audience and much-needed hit for the Nine Network.

Sea Patrol premieres 8:30pm Thursday July 5 on Nine.


  1. I Love Mike!!!!!
    But i wish in the series mike and kate can be together they would make a good couple, in series and in real life !!!!!!!!

  2. For an idea with such great potential this show is incredibly dissappointing. I can’t believe how corny a lot of the dialogue is! Very obvious and and boring plot too.

  3. Well, episode 3 was at least more interesting and fast moving the first two lame efforts (which I keep saying should have been edited down to 1 episode). Lisa was FAR better this week because she was being more real instead of the “es, Sir” character. Looks like we get to see some shirtless hunks next week … at LONG last! That’s the only reason I am still watching.

  4. Absolutely boring, jack! is 100% right. It wasn’t engaging at all, and the performances for me at least, weren’t very believable.

  5. It isn’t a “reality” show, it is supposed to be a strong drama that can make lots of money with overseas sales …
    “Border Security” is the reality show and has mountains more drama than this slow and weakly written effort!

  6. We found it refreshingly real and and an accurate portrayal of the RAN. It is not supposed to be an unrealistic and superficial series with explosions and attacks taking place constantly. That is not reality. We really enjoyed it!

  7. McHail’s Navy meets Blue Heelers … except it is not at all funny and definitely no Blue Heelers of McLeod’s Daughters!

    Have Nine lost their touch for DRAMA completely??? By the time we get 15 minutes into the show to the add break we were sitting here thinking … “well that’s a bit dull!” Should have been an explosion or attack on someone by that point! Not a very good start to such an expensive gamble …
    The episode then plodded along relying more on the over supply of well-known faces than on a good, dramatic, engaging story … wrong move! Even Lisa was not that interesting in this one.
    Beautifully shot … but it is a drama, not a travel show.
    I hope episode 2 is a LOT better as the promo tends to suggest, that should have been episode 1.
    Very pedestrian and too many missed opporitunities for real drama and impact!

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