But what does it all meeeeeean?
TEN’s telemovie The Informant is a contemporary drama with a dash of action in which William McInnes plays a suburban father, Richard Button, woven into a world of crime and intelligence.
He tells everyone he is a furniture importer and gives out the outward appearance of being a doting dad and dedicated husband to Christine (Anita Hegh). He appears to have a good life with a sleek, modern home. Except he can’t help but look suspiciously at dubious faces around him. He eventually contacts the Australian Serious Crimes Agency with a tip that proves worthwhile.
Sounds a bit like a plot inspired from that famous fridge magnet, “Be Alert. Not Alarmed”, right? It’s not as paranoid… The first act leaves unanswered clues that suggest Button may not be all he seems.
Somehow the ASCA is impressed enough with his skills to offer him an undercover role in a murder case. If he can sniff out some clues he might crack the case for the government. He can get where they can’t go.
Heading up the Feds are Doug Lamont (Colin Friels), Simon Ford (Steve Curry), Jim Sivlich (Don Christopher) and Heidi Oliver (Leanna Walsman). There are tokenistic debates about the morality of using a civilian in such a dangerous act but they are fleeting.
Button befriends a narcotics trafficker Cameron Clifford (Matt Day) at the local gym and gains his trust, enacting a dual role as mole by day, dad by night.
Publicity notes indicate the plot for The Informant is inspired by true incidents. It is a strong enough premise to have interested the US FOX Network, who will reportedly adapt their own version. That one might live up to its promise, because with a bigger budget this version is sorely lacking in action for such an ambitious genre. There were so many scenes set in and around Star City Casino I nearly wanted to let it all ride on red….
When the ASCA turn around and spy on Button, the lines between good guys and bad guys blur. Perhaps that is its intent. For this viewer it was merely confusing. What does Button really want? And what is his past? If we’re supposed to find out in some sequel series, it appears we never will.
McInnes, as always, is charismatic as Button, and the sole glue that props up an uneven tale. Newcomer Don Christopher is strong in his first post NIDA role. As Button’s teenage daughter Buddy Button, Maddi Newling is a complete natural. A name to watch.
TEN has buried this on a Friday night in the final weeks of the television ratings year. For this it will get content points, and based on current television trends, possibly more points than viewers.
As a Screentime production from such luminaries as Peter Andrikidis (East West 101, Jessica, Mary Bryant) and Gred Haddrick (Underbelly, MDA, The Society Murders), The Informant isn’t the must-see it could have been.
The Informant airs 8:30pm Friday on TEN.