Underbelly (series)

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Underbelly Logo.png
Underbelly logo
Genre Crime drama
Starring See cast
Narrated by Caroline Craig
Theme music composer Burkhard Dallwitz
Opening theme "It's a Jungle Out There"
Ending theme "It's a Jungle Out There"
Composer(s) Burkhard Dallwitz
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of series 7
No. of episodes 77
Executive producer(s) Des Monaghan
Zayed Rizwan Silk
Producer(s) Greg Haddrick
Brenda Pam
Running time 40 minutes
Production company(s) Art Company
Original channel Nine Network
Picture format 576i (PAL)
Audio format Stereophonic
Original run 13 February 2008 (2008-02-13) – present (present)
External links

Underbelly is an Australian television true crime-drama series which broadcasts on the Nine Network. Each series is based on real-life events. There have been six series in total. A 2014 series titled Fat Tony & Co is a sequel to the first series but is not branded under the Underbelly title.

Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Setting Originally aired
Season premiere Season finale
1 13 Melbourne gangland killings between 1995 and 2004 13 February 2008 (2008-02-13) 7 May 2008 (2008-05-07)
2 13 Griffith drug trade between 1976 and 1987 9 February 2009 (2009-02-09) 4 May 2009 (2009-05-04)
3 13 The Kings Cross scene between 1988 and 1999 11 April 2010 (2010-04-11) 27 June 2010 (2010-06-27)
4 13 The Sydney Razor gang era between 1927 and 1936 21 August 2011 (2011-08-21) 6 November 2011 (2011-11-06)
5 8 The story of Anthony "Rooster" Perish between 2001 and 2012 13 August 2012 (2012-08-13) 1 October 2012 (2012-10-01)
6 8 The life of Joseph "Squizzy" Taylor between 1915 and 1927 28 July 2013 (2013-07-28) 1 September 2013 (2013-09-01)


The first series is based on the book Leadbelly: Inside Australia's Underworld, by journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule. The series also borrows the title 'Underbelly' from a previously successful series of 12 True Crime novels by the same authors. Three direct tie-in novels, based on the first three seasons, were also later published by the same authors as part of this series, and a separate 16th book (Underbelly: The Golden Casket) was published in 2010.[1] The fourth series is based on the book Razor by crime author Larry Writer, which was subsequently republished as a tie-in.[2] A fifth tie-in novel, by Andy Muir, was published for the final series. Despite being part of the Underbelly series, the first 12 books have never been republished with the famous 'Underbelly' logo, and the logo was only used from books 13 to 18(inc 'Golden Casket', and the republishing of 'Razor').

The fifth series titled Underbelly: Badness is based on Sydney underworld figure Anthony "Rooster" Perish, his brother Andrew and their associates, and is set between 2001–2012, broadcast from 13 August 2012.[3] The series is the only season that did not receive a 'tie-in' novel.

A sixth series titled Underbelly: Squizzy, based on the events surrounding Joseph "Squizzy" Taylor set between 1915 and 1927, began airing on 28 July 2013.

Three telemovies called The Underbelly Files aired in 2011. The movies were titledTell Them Lucifer was Here, which is about the 1998 murders of Victorian police officers Gary Silk and Rod Miller and the subsequent manhunt for their killers, Infiltration, is about the story of Australian police detective Colin McLaren's infiltration of the Calabrian Mafia in Griffith, New South Wales which saw dozens of underworld figures imprisoned, and The Man Who Got Away,which tells the story of David McMillian, a drug smuggler and the only Western man to ever escape from Bangkok's Klong Prem Central Prison. All three aired on the Nine Network in February 2011.[4]

In September 2011, a New Zealand version of the series premiered on TV3, titled Underbelly NZ: Land of the Long Green Cloud the six part mini-series was the first Underbelly production to be produced and financed outside of Australia. The series detailed events beginning in the late 1960s to and throughout the 1970s and told the origin of the Mr Asia drug syndicate and its original leader Marty Johnstone. The series is somewhat a prequel to the series A Tale of Two Cities. An American version has also been announced on the network channel Starz though nothing else has been confirmed at this stage.


Underbelly (2008)[edit]

Series 1 focuses on events in Melbourne which occurred between 1995 and 2004 referred to in the press as the Melbourne gangland killings in which 36 criminal figures and others were killed, and the transformation of Carl Williams from harmless driver into one of Australia's most notorious drug kingpins.

Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities (2009)[edit]

Series 2 is a prequel to the first series and focuses on events that occurred in Sydney and Melbourne between the years 1976 to 1987.

Underbelly: The Golden Mile (2010)[edit]

Series 3 is the sequel to A Tale of Two Cities plus a prequel to the first series and focuses on events that stemmed from the Kings Cross nightclub scene in Sydney between the years 1988 to 1999.

The activities of corrupt Kings Cross police officers – most notably Trevor Haken and "Chook" Fowler – and their actions are mainly depicted in the series, and some of these characters reprise their roles from the second season. The Wood Royal Commission into police corruption which occurred in 1995 is also prominently featured.

Underbelly: Razor (2011)[edit]

Main article: Underbelly: Razor

Series 4 is set in Sydney during the roaring 1920s, when organised crime in Australia began. It's the story of the bloody battle between the era’s most feared vice queens, Tilly Devine and her rival Kate Leigh.[5] The series is based on the Ned Kelly Award-winning book Razor, by Larry Writer. The series includes an ensemble cast including actresses Chelsie Preston Crayford and Danielle Cormack portraying Devine and Leigh respectively.

Underbelly: Badness (2012)[edit]

Main article: Underbelly: Badness

Series 5 is set in modern day Sydney between 2001–2012 tells the story of underworld figure Anthony "Rooster" Perish and the efforts of the NSW Police Force's Strike Force Tuno to bring him to justice. The cast includes Jonathan LaPaglia as Anthony Perish, Jodi Gordon, Matt Nable, Josh Quong Tart, Aaron Jeffrey, Jason Montgomery, Hollie Andrew and Leeanna Walsman.[6]

Underbelly: Squizzy (2013)[edit]

Main article: Underbelly: Squizzy

Series 6 is between 1915–1927 in Melbourne and tells the story of one of the city's most notorious criminals, Squizzy Taylor, who made an appearance in Underbelly: Razor, which was set in 1920s Sydney. Justin Rosniak did not reprise his role as Squizzy as Jared Daperis took over the role.[7]

Underbelly: Files telemovies (2011)[edit]

In early 2010 the Nine Network announced that three separate stand-alone crime telemovies would continue the Underbelly franchise. Known by the collective title Underbelly: Files, the first was Tell Them Lucifer was Here, the second Infiltration and the third The Man Who Got Away[8] and premiered on Australia's Nine Network early in the 2011 ratings season.

Underbelly Files: Tell Them Lucifer Was Here[edit]

Tell Them Lucifer Was Here depicts the murders of Victorian police officers, Gary Silk and Rod Miller which occurred in 1998 and shows the enormous efforts of the Lorimer Task Force in leading the manhunt for their killer or killers.

It stars Brett Climo, Jeremy Kewley, Todd Lasance, Greg Stone, Dimitri Baveas, Ditch Davey, Jane Allsop, Annie Jones, Paul O'Brien, Daniel Whyte, Chris Bunworth, James Taylor, Craig Blumeris, Jasmine Dare, Marshall Napier, Robert Taylor, Shanti Pezet and Lee Cormie, with a return guest appearance by Don Hany as Nik 'The Russian' Radev - the same character he played in the original "Underbelly" series (which was set a few years after the events that take place in this movie).

The movie had its premiere screening across Australia on the Nine and WIN Networks on Monday 7 February 2011, quickly followed by an encore screening on GEM on Sunday 13 February 2011.

Late in 2010 this telemovie hit a legal snag as part of a pending court case in the NSW law courts, which resulted in a slightly altered version of 'Lucifer' being broadcast in Sydney and NSW on Monday 7 February.[9] The version screened in NSW omitted one particular scene and changed the names of a number of individuals in the case (for example "Bandali Debs" changed to "Patrici Fabro"), however in an oversight, the subtitles were not edited and showed the original names.

Underbelly Files: Infiltration[edit]

Infiltration is an adaptation for screen from an autobiographical novel written by ex-cop Colin McLaren. He and his police partner lived undercover in Griffith, New South Wales for a number of years, in order to 'Infiltrate' the very closed and deadly Mafia community there. Colin slowly befriended the Romeo family and eventually became a dear and trusted family friend and confidant to Mrs Romeo. Much to the Romeo family's shock and betrayal, all is exposed, and leads to broken hearts and death.[citation needed]

The two hour telemovie aired on 14 February 2011 and stars Sullivan Stapleton as Colin McLaren, Jessica Napier as Jude, Tottie Goldsmith as Sara, Kassandra Clementi as Chelsea McLaren, and co-stars Valentino del Toro, Buddy Dannoun, Glenda Linscott and Henry Nixon.[10]

Underbelly Files: The Man Who Got Away[edit]

The Man Who Got Away tells the story of David McMillan who was a British born Australian drug smuggler and the only westerner in history to escape from Klong Prem prison in Bangkok.

It stars Toby Schmitz as David McMillan and Claire van der Boom as McMillan's partner Clelia Vigano. The cast also features Jeremy Sims, Aaron Jeffery, Nicholas Eadie, Brendan Cowell, Freya Stafford, Josh Lawson, John Orcisk, William Zappa, Heather Mitchell and Deirdre Rubenstein. Also features Anthony Tsingas, as David's Dad.

The Man Who Got Away premiered on the Nine Network on Monday 21 February 2011.[9]

Official sequel[edit]

Fat Tony & Co. (2014)[edit]

Fat Tony & Co. was confirmed on 3 August 2013, production for the series began on 5 August 2013. Based on Tony Mokbel, the series covered the manhunt for Mokbel that lasted 18 months and dismantled a drug empire and was also filmed in Greece. The series saw the return of Robert Mammone as Mokbel, Vince Colosimo as Alphonse Gangitano, Gyton Grantley as Carl Williams, Les Hill as Jason Moran, Madeleine West as Danielle McGuire, Simon Westaway as Mick Gatto, Gerard Kennedy as Graham Kinniburgh and Keving Harrington as Lewis Moran.[11][12]

International versions[edit]

American version[edit]

On 22 June 2010, it was announced that the channel, Starz, will remake the Underbelly series. It will not be based on the original series, instead the writers will look for American gangs and rewrite situations in Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities, replacing character traits and outcomes.[13]

New Zealand version[edit]

This 6-part mini-series aired on TV3 in New Zealand from 17 August to 21 September 2011. Underbelly NZ: Land of the Long Green Cloud is set in New Zealand between 1972 and 1980. Events depicted include the origins of the Mr. Asia drug syndicate and its original leader, Marty Johnstone. Though not a part of the Australian series chronology, this series is partly a prequel and partly runs concurrently with events in Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities. Main characters include Marty Johnstone, Andy Maher and Detective Constable Ben Charlton.

Cast and characters[edit]

Home video releases[edit]

Series Set details DVD release dates Special features
Region 1[14] Region 2[15] Region 4[16]
Underbelly (Uncut)
  • Discs: 4 / 5 (Limited edition)
  • Episodes: 13
29 January 2013 (2013-01-29) 9 February 2009 (2009-02-09) 8 May 2008 (2008-05-08)[note 1][note 2]
  • 'Carl Williams – The Day of Reckoning' documentary (Limited edition only)
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities (Uncut)
  • Discs: 4 / 5 (Limited edition)
  • Episodes: 13
8 January 2013 (2013-01-08) 25 March 2013 (2013-03-25) 27 May 2009 (2009-05-27)[note 3]
  • Extended scenes (Limited edition only)
Underbelly: The Golden Mile – Fully Loaded
  • Discs: 4
  • Episodes: 13
8 January 2013 (2013-01-08) 27 May 2013 (2013-05-27) 1 July 2010 (2010-07-01)[note 4]
  • Deleted scenes
  • Audio commentaries on 2 episodes – Director: Tony Tilse, Producer: Peter Gawler, Key Cast: Firass Dirani (John Ibrahim), Paul Tassone (Chief Inspector Dennis Kelly), Daniel Roberts (Detective Sergeant Jim Egan)
  • Behind the scenes – interviews and on set footage
Underbelly: Razor (Uncut)
  • Discs: 4
  • Episodes: 13
TBA TBA 10 November 2011 (2011-11-10)
Underbelly: Badness (Uncut)
  • Discs: 3
  • Episodes: 8
TBA TBA 5 October 2012 (2012-10-05)
  • Deleted scenes
  • Cast interviews
Underbelly: Squizzy (Uncut)
  • Discs: 3
  • Episodes: 8
TBA TBA 11 September 2013 (2013-09-11)
Series Set details Blu-ray release dates Special features
Region B[17]
Underbelly (Uncut)
  • Discs: 4
  • Episodes: 13
5 August 2010 (2010-08-05)[note 2]
  • Behind the Scenes: The Underside
  • Carl Williams: Day of Reckoning
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities (Uncut)
  • Discs: 3
  • Episodes: 13
4 November 2010 (2010-11-04)
Underbelly: The Golden Mile – Fully Loaded
  • Discs: 3
  • Episodes: 13
4 November 2010 (2010-11-04)
Underbelly: Razor (Uncut)
  • Discs: 3
  • Episodes: 13
1 December 2011 (2011-12-01)
  • Creating the Past
  • Deleted scenes
  • Photo gallery
Underbelly: Badness (Uncut)
  • Discs: 2
  • Episodes: 8
5 October 2012 (2012-10-05)
  • Deleted scenes
  • Cast interviews
Underbelly: Squizzy (Uncut)
  • Discs: 2
  • Episodes: 8
11 September 2013 (2013-09-11)
DVD box sets
Title Set details DVD release dates Special features
Region 1[18] Region 4[19]
Underbelly — Triple Shot
  • Discs: 14
  • Episodes: 39
N/A 4 November 2010 (2010-11-04)[note 2]
Underbelly — The Trilogy
  • Discs: 12
  • Episodes: 39
6 December 2011 (2011-12-06) N/A
Underbelly — Foursome
  • Discs: 18
  • Episodes: 52
N/A 1 December 2011 (2011-12-01)[note 2]

Underbelly Files[edit]

Series Set details DVD release dates Special features
Region 4[20]
Underbelly Files
  • Discs: 3 / 2 (NSW)
  • Episodes: 3 / 2 (NSW)
24 February 2011 (2011-02-24)[note 5]

Underbelly NZ[edit]

Series Set details DVD release dates Special features
Region 2[21] Region 4[22]
Underbelly NZ: Land of the Long Green Cloud
  • Discs: 2
  • Episodes: 6
26 August 2013 (2013-08-26) 22 September 2011 (2011-09-22)

Video game[edit]

In October 2012, Underbelly: Skirmish, the first Underbelly game was released on the iTunes app store. The game is available for iPhones and iPads. An Android version was in production with a release date scheduled prior to December 2012. The game has a Cops vs Robbers gameplay mechanic, with the player able to choose between playing as a Cop, or as a member of the Rough Company.

The game was produced by Underbelly's producers, Screentime, and transmedia production company, The Project Factory, with development by Epiphany Games.


  1. ^ Also released as a Limited Edition Steelbook 5 disc set on 6 November 2008
  2. ^ a b c d The first series of Underbelly is not available for sale or distribution in Victoria, due to the Supreme Court of Victoria's prohibition of its distribution or exhibition therein.
  3. ^ Also released as a Limited Edition Steelbook 5 disc set on 5 November 2009
  4. ^ Also released as a Sanity exclusive with Lenticular Packaging and a JB Hi-Fi Exclusive Colectors Edition DVD & T-Shirt boxset
  5. ^ There are two versions of the Underbelly Files as one of the telemovies, Tell Them Lucifer was Here, cannot be shown in NSW due to legal reasons. The NSW edition contains only two of the three telemovies.


  1. ^ "Counting the cash from love of Underbelly-style true crime books". Daily Telegraph. 23 May 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Underbelly not dead yet". The Age (Melbourne). 5 May 2008. 
  3. ^ Knox, David (8 August 2012). "Underbelly: Badness". TV Tonight. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Underbelly telemovies for Nine". TV Tonight. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Knox, David (2 December 2010). "Channel Nine: 2011 slate". TV Tonight. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Bad is so good for Jodi Gordon as she signs up for the next Underbelly series". The Sunday Telegraph. 15 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Bub, Adam. "New Underbelly will be set in 1920s Melbourne". Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Underbelly movie cast". TV Tonight. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Knox, David (28 January 2011). "Airdate: Underbelly Files: Lucifer / Infiltration / Man Who Got Away". TV Tonight. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Underbelly Files: Infiltration". IMDb. Retrieved 16 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Epstein, Jackie (3 August 2013). "Tony Mokbel reunites original Underbelly cast for new series". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Knox, David (4 August 2013). "Underbelly cast reunite for Fat Tony & Co.". TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Knox, David (22 June 2010). "America to remake Underbelly". TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Region 1 DVD box sets:
  15. ^ Region 2 DVD box sets:
  16. ^ Region 4 DVD sets:
  17. ^ Region B Blu-ray sets:
  18. ^ Region 1 DVD box sets:
  19. ^ Region 4 DVD box sets:
  20. ^ "Underbelly Files (3 Disc Set)". EzyDVD. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Underbelly New Zealand - Land Of The Long Green Cloud [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "Underbelly NZ: Land of the Long Green Cloud". Mighty Ape. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 

External links[edit]