Janet King (TV series)
Janet King title card
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||20 (list of episodes)|
|Editor(s)||Antonio Mestres (4 episodes); Nicole LaMacchia (2 episodes)|
|Running time||57 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Screentime Australia|
|Picture format||576i (SDTV)|
|Original release||27 February 2014– present|
Janet King is an Australian television drama program which began airing on ABC1 from 27 February 2014. It was created as a spin-off from the 2011 legal drama Crownies. It follows the story of Senior Crown Prosecutor Janet King (Marta Dusseldorp), who returns from maternity leave and is thrown into "a shocking prosecution". Various cast members who appeared alongside Dusseldorp in Crownies will also appear in Janet King. A number of new characters were also created. The show was commissioned for an eight part series and filming began in 2013. A second series aired from March 2016, and a third began in May 2017.
Shortly before the final episode of the ABC1 legal drama Crownies was broadcast in November 2011, David Knox from TV Tonight reported that the series could continue in the form of a spin-off. The drama had suffered from modest ratings and mixed critical reviews during its 22-part run. ABC1 controller, Brendan Dahill explained "Crownies won't be coming back as Crownies. But we are talking to (producers) Screentime about a spin-off. There are lots of things I love about Crownies and lots of things that were done brilliantly, and I'm really proud of Crownies. I'm genuinely surprised it didn't engage a bigger audience than it did. Genuinely surprised. But I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are plenty of brilliant things in it and we're talking to Screentime at the moment."
Dahill stated that the spin-off would not be season two of Crownies and that it would take the characters in different directions. He told Knox that there were certain elements of Crownies that worked well and he did not want to lose them because of poor ratings. He continued "So what Screentime have come up with is a really great compromise that allows us to keep the best bits, and learn and move on." Knox added that a spin-off is rare in Australian television drama, but not unprecedented. On 20 August 2012, ABC TV confirmed that it had commissioned the Crownies spin-off, Janet King. The series was billed as an 8-part legal and political thriller. Janet King was produced by Karl Zwicky, Jane Allen and Lisa Scott, with Hilary Bonney acting as story consultant. Greg Haddrick, Jane Allen, Kris Mrksa and Shaun Grant wrote the series.
Dahill said he was excited about Janet King and the fresh new direction it would take. Carole Sklan, ABC's Head of Fiction, commented "Screentime has developed an exciting drama series about the fabulous character, Janet King. The series looks at the dilemmas of a contemporary woman who returns to work after a year's maternity leave and is flung into a shocking prosecution that involves layers of intrigue played out at the highest levels of power. Janet King's case leads her through some astounding twists and revelations that impact on her life on every level." Screentime's Des Monaghan said that it had become clear to Screentime and the ABC that viewers had developed "a great deal" of affection for the character of Janet King and the cast of Crownies, so he was "delighted" that there would be a chance to build on that.
On 30 June 2015, it was announced that ABC had renewed Janet King for a second eight-part series. At the ASTRA Conference in September 2016, Dusseldorp confirmed four scripts for the third series had been written. The third series began airing from 25 May 2017, replacing Seven Types of Ambiguity. It focuses on organised crime in the sporting world, with Janet heading up a National Crime Commission investigation. Her former colleague Richard Stirling (Hamish Michael) is now a barrister for some of the athletes involved, while Owen Mitchell (Damian Walshe-Howling) has become the head of the DPP.
Anthony Soegito from If Magazine revealed that Marta Dusseldorp would return as Janet King, while many of the characters that became established on Crownies would also make appearances. These include; Hamish Michael (Richard Stirling), Ella Scott Lynch (Erin O'Shaughnessy), Andrea Demetriades (Lina Badir), Peter Kowitz (Tony Gillies), Christopher Morris (Andy Campbell), Indiana Evans (Tatum Novak), Jeanette Cronin (Tracey Samuels), Aimee Pedersen (Ashleigh Larsson) and Lewis Fitz-Gerald (David Sinclair). Knox revealed that Vince Colosimo had been cast as Chief Superintendent Jack Rizzoli, while Damian Walshe-Howling was cast as Owen Mitchell, a rising star prosecutor. John Howard, Sonia Todd, Jessica Napier, Deborah Kennedy and Tiriel Mora also have roles in the series. Todd Lasance and Daniel Lissing did not reprise their respective roles as Ben McMahon and Conrad De Groot.
Joining Dusseldorp as title character Janet King for series 2 include former Crownies originals; Hamish Michael (Richard Stirling), Andrea Demetriades (Lina Badir), Christopher Morris (Andy Campbell) and Peter Kowitz (Tony Gillies), as well as, Janet King season one cast members, Damian Walshe-Howling (Owen Mitchell) and Terry Serio (Terry Renner). New faces include Leah Purcell, Philip Quast, Anita Hegh, Aaron Jeffery, Genevieve Hegney, Nicholas Hope and Ewen Leslie.
Dusseldorp, Michael, Demetriades, Morris, Kowitz, Walshe-Howling, Hegh all returned for the third series. Joining them was Don Hany, Robert Mammone, Susie Porter, Andrew Ryan, Huw Higginson, Steve Le Marquand, Arka Das, Adam Demos, Geraldine Viswanathan and Zoe Terakes. John Bach was cast as Janet's estranged father Graham King. Todd Lasance reprised his Crownies role of Ben McMahon.
The series went into production in early 2013. Grant Brown, Peter Andrikidis, and Ian Watson were hired to direct the episodes. Filming finished by June 2013. It began broadcasting on 27 February 2014. Filming on the second series commenced in October 2015 for 11 weeks. The series was mostly shot in Bankstown, and locations included the former library, the Compass Centre, and Saigon Place. The third series went into production during the week commencing 7 November 2016.
Cast and characters
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||27 February 2014||17 April 2014|
|2||8||24 March 2016||12 May 2016|
|3||8||25 May 2017||13 July 2017|
Series 1 (2014)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Australian viewers
|1||"A Song of Experience"||Grant Brown||Greg Haddrick||27 February 2014||0.824|
|Senior Prosecutor Janet King returns to the Department of Public Prosecutions following maternity leave. She fails to get suspected sexual predator Alex Moreno convicted, so she throws herself into a case involving high ranking police officer, Steven Blakely, who has been charged with the assisted suicide of his wife.|
|2||"Every Contact Leaves a Trace"||Grant Brown||Jane Allen||6 March 2014||0.754|
|Janet feels guilty when Blakely is found dead of an apparent suicide. However, Detective Campbell believes that Blakely was murdered by Dianne Vasilich, a woman who was angry with Blakely for covering up her daughter's murder. Meanwhile, Erin and Owen become involved with a bikie murder that ends with their witness being killed in a drive-by shooting.|
|3||"Natural Justice"||Grant Brown||Kris Mrska||13 March 2014||0.770|
|Owen takes on the case of Zabina's murder and the police soon identify the two bikies responsible, Franzen and Collard. Janet goes for a murder conviction when Blakely's blood is found on Dianne's coat but she claims she merely found him injured. Franzen offers to testify that Dianne tried to pay him to beat information out of Blakely, in return for immunity from prosecution. Collard's confession is ruled inadmissible and Erin's testimony is torn to shreds. Dianne and her son are found guilty but then Blakely's body is found far away from where they supposedly dumped it.|
|4||"The Third Man"||Peter Andrikidis||Jane Allen and Shaun Grant||20 March 2014||0.740|
|The case against Dianne and her son will collapse unless the police produce an accomplice who buried Blakely's body. Andy finds Blakely argued with Danny Novak shortly before he died and was reinvestigating the murder of Dianne's daughter; Tatum gives her father a false alibi. Rizzoli points Andy towards Cranford, who claims to have buried Blakely's body for the Vasilichs, but Janet exposes him as a liar in court. Lina becomes obsessed with convicting Tim Clarke and mistakes his daughter for one of his victims. Novak tells Janet that Blakely's murder is connected to the Moreno case.|
|5||"Lurking Doubt"||Peter Andrikidis||Jane Allen||27 March 2014||0.772|
|Janet recognises Moreno's daughter Ruby in one of the photos from Clarke's computer and Lina discovers it was taken in a house owned by Blakely. Gail Jones orders Tony to oversee Dianne's appeal but the judges overturn the conviction with little discussion. Andy is taken off the case when he has to cover Rizzoli's leave, while Janet is harassed by the press when she is accused of having an affair with Erin, who has just been promoted. Ash and the children are taken into protective custody when a bomb goes off in Janet's empty car.|
|6||"Overtime"||Peter Andrikidis||Kris Mrska||3 April 2014||0.831|
|Janet is convinced Moreno was involved in the bombing but no evidence can be found. Blakely's daughter Maya reveals she was abused as a child by Keith Nelson, a family friend; Owen and Lina get him committed to trial but Maya is reluctant to give evidence. Janet and Richard investigate Judge Renmark, who acquitted Moreno and is currently investigating Janet and Erin; Rizzoli suspects he was in the pay of organised crime.|
|7||"An Achilles Heel"||Ian Watson||Shaun Grant and Greg Haddrick||10 April 2014||0.820|
|Renmark is found dead after a fall from a multi-storey car park, and a USB stick full of child pornography, similar to one Nelson had, is found in his house. Lina tells Andy about her apparent infertility. Richard tells Andy and Janet that Owen knew about Richard's investigation into the history of Renmark's judgements, and Tony discovers that he spread the story about Janet and Erin to the press. Tony convinces Maya to testify but Owen fails to cut a deal with David Sinclair. Drew claims in court that it was Blakely who abused them.|
|8||"The Greatest Good"||Ian Watson||Jane Allen||17 April 2014||0.855|
|Drew is exposed as Blakely's murderer, Danny Novak is arrested for the murder of Orianna Vasilich and Nelson is found guilty. Moreno confesses to taking the photographs and offers information in exchange for Ruby's name being left out of it. Drew states that Blakely was behind the ring and Renmark behind the car bomb. However, Janet realises Rizzoli was behind both, as well as Renmark's murder: He was using the ring to control high ranking officials and ensure convictions. When Janet refuses to keep quiet, he commits suicide. Gail increases the DPP's budget in return for keeping quiet about his involvement and the other members of the ring are arrested.|
Series 2 (2016)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Australian viewers
|1||"The Invisible Wound"||Peter Andrikidis||Greg Haddrick||24 March 2016||0.627|
|The murder of Todd Wilson is the latest in over a dozen committed with illegal handguns in the last 15 months and Attorney-General Lincoln Priest assigns Janet to a Royal Commission to investigate the crimes; Owen, Richard, Lina and Andy are assigned to assist her. Janet is also dealing with Ash's murder by a still unknown gunman two years previous and running an inquest into the suicide of Corporal Allman, a soldier with PTSD. The police are interested in George Healy, a small-time drug user who was involved in a car crash near Todd's murder, and Janet's new assistant Heather O'Connor helps Andy arrest him. Richard visits Keisha Gibson, who was with Todd when he was killed, and sees a bag of blood-stained money in her room; Janet and the others suspect she is going to meet someone to split it and decide to keep her under surveillance. Janet is visiting Todd's widow Elaheh and her family to give her an expensive bracelet he bought her when someone shoots through the window.|
|2||"Here and Now"||Peter Andrikidis||Stuart Page||31 March 2016||0.613|
|The Commission feel that the Nabekhts know more about the shooting than they are letting on. Susie, who is married to Elaheh's brother Amil, turns out to be the sister of Allman's friend Karen. Keisha contacts Richard for help and makes a statement about the money. Janet has personal trouble with Ash's sister Deborah, who has been unable to conceive and wishes to use an embryo of Ash's that was never used. CCTV footage shows that Todd stole something from Boccaro's car but when Janet and Owen talk to him he admits it. Ballistics show that the gun used in the attack on the Nabekht house was the same one used in Ash's murder. George offers to give information on the guns in exchange for immunity and a new protection, but when Andy and Heather go to see him they find he has been hanged.|
|3||"In Plain Sight"||Ian Watson||Niki Aken||7 April 2016||0.608|
|Janet asks Andy and Owen to have Bianca carry out an undercover operation to get information from Felix Murphy, who was shot with the same gun as Ash. Tony tells Janet that DNA evidence suggests Ash and George were killed by the same person and Bianca suggests advanced tests could get a description of the killer. Janet asks Richard to help her with her case against Deborah. Lina and Heather convince Elaheh to make an appeal to the public. Richard finds out that Major Hamilton bought a car similar to the one Todd tried to steal shortly before Todd was killed.|
|4||"The Smoking Gun"||Ian Watson||Niki Aken||14 April 2016||0.613|
|Karen admits to Janet and Owen that Todd stole Hamilton's credit card details, and Richard and Lina learn Todd bought and sold the Ferrari using Hamilton's identity. Janet asks Tim to support her position but instead he puts in a request that the embryo be destroyed. Richard nearly blows Bianca's cover when he unknowingly takes Keisha on a date to the bar where she is meeting Felix. Owen learns Hamilton is importing a crate and he, Janet, Andy and Richard raid it to find fridges stuffed with handguns.|
|5||"Apprehended Violence"||Grant Brown||Greg Haddrick||21 April 2016||0.595|
|Richard supervises the federal police disarming and repacking the guns, and realises the contact number is not Hamilton but Amil. However, when he receives notification of the shipment he makes no move to collect it. Heather and Lina realise Todd was killed with one of the homemade, one-use-only guns Hamilton had the plans of. They visit a council meeting and witness an altercation between Boccaro and Bao Long, who is opening a leisure centre-cum-casino. Heather visits Roger Embry of the State Corruption Commission to see if anyone tipped off the Nobakhts. Janet gets Richard to take Keisha to PTSD counselling, where she recalls hearing another witnss to the murder. A judge awards Janet ownership of the embryo. Janet's iPad is stolen, with Heather's security codes used to enter the building. The corruption officers start investigating Janet, Bianca, Richard and Lina. Lincoln pressures Janet and Owen to deliver an interim report and Bianca has Andy poses as her ex so Felix will send the person who shot him to give her a gun. However, the person that turns up is Brett, who recognises Andy as a police officer and fires at him.|
|6||"The Thaw"||Grant Brown||Felicity Packard||28 April 2016||0.628|
|Bianca kills Brett, saving Andy but preventing them getting any information from him. More guns are found at Brett's house and DNA evidence shows he was one of the people that killed George but not the one that killed Ash. The Nobrakhts are caught trying to take 30,000 US dollars to Iran and explain they are trying to buy Sam exemption from military service; Brett paid them to put their details on the shipping order and was the one who shot up their house. Lina tells Andy she is pregnant, while Richard spends the night with Keisha. Embry shows Janet evidence that she helped Richard get Keisha off a drug possession charge; Janet suspects that Deborah, who is appealing the ruling, tipped him off. Heather learns Hamilton had a liaison with Robbie Carter. Bianca gets Felix witness protection and he leaves behind an anagram indicating Brett was working for Bao Lang.|
|7||"The Heart of It"||Peter Andrikidis||Stuart Page and Greg Haddick||5 May 2016||0.663|
|Janet interviews Hamilton and Robbie and realises Jane Carter killed Todd with a plastic gun that Hamilton gave Robbie, believing he was Hamilton. Lincoln encourages Janet to resign prior to the SCC investigation. Boccaro, who has used a damaging press report to convince Lincoln to give him the leisure centre contract, tells Owen and Heather that Brett and Todd may have sold what they stole from his car to Bao Lang. The Commission interview Lang but fail to get a DNA sample. Janet and Bianca have sex. Deborah's appeal is rejected and she admits she spoke to the SCC. Peta gives Janet her iPad, from which photos of Ash have been deleted. Keisha asks Richard to go overseas with her; instead, he tells Janet that once the Commission is over he will be leaving the DPP to do his bar exams. Janet asks Owen to help her and Bianca with a trap, then announces she is suspending the Commission.|
|8||"The Long Goodbye"||Peter Andrikidis||Greg Haddrick and Felicity Packard||12 May 2016||0.673|
|Janet and Owen use a micro-camera to get footage of Boccaro selling the handguns to a biker gang. Tony convinces Embry to drop the SCC investigation and Boccaro is arrested. Lincoln is forced to resign when it is revealed Boccaro paid him millions of dollars, ostensibly for a tea set but more likely a bribe for the land deal. Boccaro indicates that he loaned the gun to Ashley's killer, who is now going to kill Janet. Janet and Bianca learn the killer was someone genetically male but outwardly female and suspect Heather, whose nephew Janet sent to jail on an apparently false rape charge. Richard represents Heather at her bail hearing. DNA morphology reveals the culprit to be Peta, whose husband committed suicide after Janet refused to prosecute a historic child abuse charge. Peta traps Janet's children at the bottom of a lift shaft but Bianca stops her sending the lift down by shooting her in the leg. Janet visits a pregnant Deborah in hospital, implying she gave her the embryo after all.|
Series 3 (2017)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Australian viewers
|1||"Playing Advantage"||Peter Andrikidis||Greg Haddrick||25 May 2017||0.503|
|2||"Blindsided"||Peter Andrikidis||Felicity Packard||1 June 2017||0.475|
|3||"Levelling the Playing Field"||Grant Brown||Niki Aken||8 June 2017||0.425|
|4||"Running Out the Clock"||Grant Brown||Alexa Wyatt||15 June 2017||0.518|
|5||"Game Changer"||Peter Andrikidis||Alexa Wyatt||22 June 2017||0.462|
|6||TBA||Peter Andrikidis||Felicity Packard||29 June 2017||TBA|
Ben Neutze from Crikey said that Janet was an "audience favourite" from Crownies. He also noted that Dusseldorp’s acting profile had been raised following her appearance in A Place to Call Home. He predicted that the combination would secure success for the show and ABC. Ben Pobjie, writing for the The Sydney Morning Herald, praised the series for trying "to keep things varied and interesting. Most likely aware of the pitfalls of such a familiar genre, the show moves at a neat pace."
|Year||Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|2014||AACTA Awards||Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama||Marta Dusseldorp||Won|
|Best Television Drama Series||Janet King||Nominated|
|2015||Logie Awards||Most Outstanding Actress||Marta Dusseldorp||Nominated|
|Most Outstanding Drama Series||Janet King||Nominated|
|2016||AACTA Awards||Best Editing In Television||Nicole La Macchia||Nominated|
|Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama||Hamish Michael||Nominated|
|2017||AWGIE Awards||Best Script for a Television Series or Miniseries||Greg Haddrick for "Playing Advantage"||Pending|
The series was released on a three disc DVD on 18 April 2014.
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