But unlike the smooth, designer settings of inner city Melbourne in Seven’s City Homicide, it’s a very gritty blue-collar world in SBS’ Sydney-shot East West 101.
This 6-part series isn’t afraid to tackle stories from the streets. The opening episode depicts two young Arab-Australian boys in Sydney’s West, accused of shooting a police officer. This is a community berated by police and stereotyped by media. But what about the people behind such headlines?
Heading the series is the tough-talking William McInnes (Seachange, Curtin) as Senior Detective Ray Crowley of the Major Crime squad. He never sees eye to eye with his colleague, an introspective, Muslim cop played by Don Hany. As the title suggests, their methodology in crime-solving is a steep learning curve for both.
The two more than impress in their lead roles. When they aren’t arguing in each others’ faces, they propel their performances through steely subtext. Susie Porter also looks set to give these men a tough time as their superior officer.
Created and produced by the team from Wildside and White Collar Blue this is aggressive, volatile storytelling. There are hand-held cameras, taut ensemble scenes and honest family stories. Ripped from the suburbs this mix of action and emotion is expertly handled by director Peter Andrikidis.
SBS has shown this year that it will tackle contemporary Australian dramas that commercial networks would only consider in pretty packaging. But East West 101 is painfully real in theme and importance.
It may very well be our best local drama series all year.
Premieres Thursday December 6 at 8.30pm on SBS.