Australian TV shows are starting to make a name for themselves on Netflix with series like Wentworth and Secrets and Lies, which, to the delight of crime drama fans, became available for instant viewing a few months ago. Add to this list The Code, a tense, fast-paced thriller that address contemporary issues at the juncture of journalism, privacy and political corruption in the internet age. Mix in some human drama and cultural tensions in the remote Australian outback, and you’ve got an entertaining TV series worthy of binge watching on Netflix instant viewing.
At the center of the story are two brothers, Ned Banks, a website journalist played by Dan Spielman, and his brother Jesse (Ashley Zuckerman), a convicted hacker who exhibits a number of Asperger’s-like characteristics, though no diagnosis is ever mentioned. Ned strives to keep close tabs on Jesse, who is prone to getting in trouble, and the two have an awkward, sometimes humorous ongoing dialogue that is part of the charm of this Australian TV series.
Given an accidental tip during his political reporting, Ned becomes curious about a strange accident involving two teenagers in Lindara, a fictional town with a primarily Aboriginal population. He briefly enlists Jesse’s computer skills to help figure out what is going on, but red flags are raised in the cybernet world, and, before long, both brothers are in over their heads. The story involves government agencies, multinational corporations and mysterious operatives.
The other main characters include Sophie (Chelsie Preston Crayford), Ned’s former girlfriend who works in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, and Hani (Adele Perovic), a quirky young woman enamored by Jesse’s hacking skills and tolerant of his strange behavior. Lucy Lawless plays Alex, a schoolteacher in Lindara concerned about the local teenagers.
There are more players and threads to the plot in The Code, which initially seems complex, somewhat along the lines of Hidden. It does not take long to sort out; by the second episode basic elements are falling into place, though there are, of course, secrets saved for later. The Code shares some characteristics with U.S. network series like 24 and The Blacklist, where you often have to suspend belief and just go along for the ride. At the same time, it is more plausible than either of those shows; it’s a few of the individual events, not the overall storyline, that don’t always ring true.
The Code TV series has six one-hour episodes available for streaming on Netflix. It was created by Shelley Birse and produced for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the network where it first aired in 2014. Like Secrets and Lies and Wentworth, it lies somewhere between American TV series and the best European foreign TV shows on Netflix. If you enjoy political thrillers and conspiracy stories, it is well worth watching.
Trailer for The Code
Update: As of October, 2016, Acorn TV is making The Code season 2 available for viewing, one episode per week. Here is our review. No word yet as to whether season 2 will also available on Netflix.
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