ABC announces new crime series, Old School.

2013-05-30_1111Matchbox Pictures will produce Old School, a new 8 part drama series for the ABC to begin filming in south-east Sydney in June.

Bryan Brown will play retired crim Lennie Cahill and Sam Neill will play retired cop Ted McCabe, who get together to solve crimes, unravel scams and make some much-needed cash, while avoiding the wrath of the police and the underworld. The characters were originally depicted in the short film Lennie Cahill Shoots Through by Paul Oliver.

The press release also announces “Sarah Peirse as Ted’s feisty and sports-mad wife, Hanna Mangan Lawrence as Lennie’s granddaughter Shannon, Mark Coles-Smith as Jason, the mechanic son of one of Lennie’s prison mates, and Damian Walshe–Howling as a charming opportunist who inserts himself into Shannon’s affections.”

Carole Sklan, ABC TV’s Head of Fiction says; “This fabulous show is witty, tough, smart, and full of great characters. We’re really thrilled to have Bryan Brown and Sam Neill heading such a wonderful cast, and to be working with Matchbox Pictures again after such successful collaborations on series including The Slap and The Straits.”

Producer Helen Panckhurst says: “Bryan Brown and Sam Neill have perfectly embraced the laconic humour of the series and we’re looking forward to enjoying their take on Lennie and Ted, as two old school guys caught in a relentlessly twenty-first-century world.”

Lead director Gregor Jordan reunites with his Two Hands star Bryan Brown, for the series. “Old School is like my first film Two Hands, a story about Sydney, and so as a Sydney-sider telling these stories is a really personal experience.”

The series was created by Paul Oliver and Steve Wright, and will be directed by Gregor Jordan (Two Hands, Buffalo Soldiers), Peter Templeman and Paul Oliver, and written by Belinda Chayko, Paul Oliver, Matt Cameron, Chris Hawkshaw, Gregor Jordan, Michaeley O’Brien and Nick Parsons, with script producers Tim Pye and Sarah Smith. Producer is Helen Panckhurst, and Executive Producers are Tony Ayres and Penny Chapman.

Creator Paul Oliver, adds: “Old School was born from my short film Lennie Cahill Shoots Through, and is a love letter to Sydney, its shady corners, its unique characters and its rich history of cops, crims and all those in between.”

The series will be distributed internationally by NBC Universal.


  1. Sorry, victor, but it is nothing like New Tricks. Yes, the lead characters are older, but that is the only resemblance. An old crim trying to reform and a retired cop still so immersed in his old job that he has an office set up in his garage. A tolerant, smart and loving wife and a series of mysteries/crimes to be solved. A good line in banter, too. Very enjoyable.

  2. Sorry but it sounds to me like a fairly blatant variation of New Tricks, an ABC stalwart. There must be other much more interesting and original stuff out there to make than this. Oil up your zimmer frames ABC audience.

  3. Good news. Matchbox tends to produce great dramas.
    David, I’m surprised that you haven’t mentioned the cast announcement for Return to Devil’s Playground, another Matchbox production.

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