It all gets serious very quickly. As it should.

Underbelly is back in 2011, however before we get the latest series (Razor) we’re getting our appetites sated by a series of 3 telemovies – tonight, the first: Tell them Lucifer was here.

What a first turn. A spectacular turn by Brett Climo as Detective Paul Sheridan, in charge of Task Force Lorimer investigating the 1998 murders of Victoria Police officers Senior Constable Rod Miller (Paul O’Brien) and Sergeant Gary Silk (Daniel Whyte). There are some great supporting performances from Jane Allsop, Ditch Davey and Todd Lasance (and a surprise appearance by Don Hany), but this is clearly Sheridan’s story and Climo’s show.

The demons evident in Sheridan’s dogged determination to track down the cop killers are on show in Climo’s performance. Possibly exorcising those he collected from his role in Cops LAC. Sheridan is focused and unrelenting. Everything you hope a police officer would be if investigating the murder of your loved one (even though it is noted in the script somewhat ironically that “we’d never go to these lengths if they weren’t cops”).

Greg Stone is eerily on-song with his performance as Bandali “Lucifer” Debs, a thrill killer with no remorse or plan. His grin reminiscent of John Jarratt’s Mick Taylor from Wolf Creek, and his character at least as scary for the random nature of their violence. That this is based on actual events reminds us all of the grim reality that some extreme violence happens simply due to the inhumanity of man upon his fellow man.

It’s a strong opener for Channel 9, and will surely rate well even against its competition (ratings figures not available at time of review publication). The show had a different feel about it as opposed to the normal series where the character development can layer and the plot wind through some dark places – this telemovie had to be sharp and punchy to deliver the payoff inside 2 and a half hours (it did run decidedly overtime). Tell Them Lucifer Was Here delivered in spades, and heralds a welcome return to the Underbelly franchise to our screens, even if only for three weeks.

A ‘backstage’ interview with Brett Climo is available here on the Ninemsn site (the audio is a little hard to hear though).


Image/Video sources – Channel 9.