Pine Gap (TV series)

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Pine Gap
Pine Gap title screen
Title screen for season one
Created byGreg Haddrick
Directed byMat King
StarringParker Sawyers
Tess Haubrich
Jacqueline McKenzie
Steve Toussaint
Stephen Curry
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)Australian English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Bob Campbell[2]
  • Rory Callaghan[2]
  • Greg Haddrick[2]
  • Sally Riley[2]
  • Kym Goldsworthy[2]
  • Lisa Scott[1]
  • Felicity Packard[1]
Production location(s)Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Adelaide, South Australia
Production company(s)
Original networkABC
Original release14 October 2018 (2018-10-14)

Pine Gap is an Australian television series that was released on Netflix and broadcast on ABC in 2018. The six-part series is written and created by Greg Haddrick and Felicity Packard with Mat King directing all six episodes.[3] The series is produced by Screentime.


Pine Gap is an international political thriller which is set around the Australian and American joint defence intelligence facility at Pine Gap, south-west of the town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia.[2]



Season 1 (2018)[edit]

No.Title [4]Directed by [3]Written byOriginal air date [4]Aus. viewers
1"Episode 1"Mat KingFelicity Packard14 October 2018 (2018-10-14)581,000[5]
The A-Crew intelligence team at the Pine Gap joint defence facility detects a missile launch in Myanmar that brings down a small passenger plane. When satellite imagery reveals a cache of missiles in range of the APEC conference attended by the U.S. President Larry Kerr and the Australian Prime Minister Philip Burke, mission director Gus Thomson orders a drone strike. Zhou Lin, the executive of the Chinese mining company Shonguran, seeks to obtain land near the defence facility while courting Alice Springs' Arrernte people, who own the land. His activities alarm the joint intelligence team. Technician Moses Dreyfus discovers malware on the facility's servers, and reports it to station director Ethan James, who realises it can only have been installed by an insider.
2"Episode 2"Mat KingGreg Haddrick14 October 2018 (2018-10-14)581,000[5]
Ethan and Moses deduce that the spy installed the malware into the control room using a smartphone. The investigators suspect six members of the A-team including Jasmina and Gus, who develop a romantic relationship. The situation is compounded by news that Chinese have hacked into the Pentagon and the CIA headquarters. In the South China Sea's disputed Fiery Cross Reef, Chinese fighter jets disable a Malaysian naval warship with an EMP bomb, inflaming Sino-American tensions. While investigating the victims of the airline crash, the A-team discover that the passengers included a Burmese man accused of raping Rohingya girls and a Hong Kong journalist with an "explosive story." Both the American and Australian teams suspect that the other team is withholding information.
3"Episode 3"Mat KingGreg Haddrick21 October 2018 (2018-10-21)433,000[6]
Ethan, Rudy, and Kath launch a secret twelve day investigation of the A-team to find the spy. Rudy and Ethan strongly believe Jas is the spy. The A-team monitor communications relating to the US President Kerr's visit to China. Kath invites the spies for dinner to gather for information for their investigation. Discontented with her husband Ethan's secrecy, Belle befriends Zhou Lin while visiting an Arrernte sacred site. Zhou is courting the Arrernte people for the gas extraction project, promising jobs. Jas lands herself in trouble with Jacob when she hacks into the Australian Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Robert Boyle’s email account.
4"Episode 4"Mat KingFelicity Packard28 October 2018 (2018-10-28)362,000[7]
Australia-United States relations are fraught by a leaked audio recording of the US President Kerr disparaging Australia. Gus and Jas deepen their romantic relationship with Gus informing his superior Rudy and his father. Jas also informs Gus that she has learnt that the Australian Government is secretly negotiating a treaty of neutrality with China, information which he passes to Ethan. As the South China Sea dispute escalates, the USS Bartlett sails through Chinese-claimed waters, provoking a showdown with Chinese submarines. Meanwhile, Moses befriends a teenage girl named Marissa, complicating the investigation.
5"Episode 5"Mat KingFelicity Packard4 November 2018 (2018-11-04)358,000[8]
Gus' plan to consider an NSA job offer at Fort Meade strains his relationship with Jas. Kath's work is complicated by her stormy relationship with her ex-husband Jacob, the mission director. Strains between the Australian and American team leaders grow over the Sino-US South China Sea dispute and Australia's secret treaty of neutrality with China. Simon confesses to supplying the leaked audio of President Kerr to a pro-China Japanese blogger due to mounting debts over his children's private school fees. Sino-US tensions reach a boiling point when US missiles attack the Chinese facility in the Hughes Reef. In retaliation, the Chinese down an American fighter jet. This conflict coincides with the malware activation and the discovery of a smartphone in the canteen.
6"Episode 6"Mat KingGreg Haddrick11 November 2018 (2018-11-11)348,000[9]
As Sino-US tensions escalate, Kath, Ethan and Rudi question Moses, who confesses to giving Marissa $12,000 to settle her welfare fraud debts. Belle has an affair with Zhou, whose gas mining deal with the Arrenrte people has been approved by the Australian authorities. After ruling Moses out as a suspect, the Australia and US investigators question the Arrenrte law student Immy, who claims someone used her phone to send leaked footage of A-team ordering the Bangladesh drone strike. Following a confrontation with Kath, Ethan manages to defuse the South China Sea standoff by convincing President Kerr that the Chinese would deploy nuclear weapons if the US were to use armed forces to rescue their downed pilot. As the US and China enter into diplomatic mediation, Simon strikes a deal with Kath to get back his job as an analyst in return for identifying the spy. While police raid Eloise, Gus decides to remain at Pine Gap after his father believes that he helped save the President from going to war. Gus and Jas repair their relationship and Zhou meets with Immy, hinting that she is working for Chinese intelligence.


Luke Buckmaster of The Guardian gave Pine Gap a critical review, writing that the series was "less a spy drama than an attempt to cure insomnia." He also criticized the series for what he regarded as its poor story writing and unsatisfactory acting, giving it one out of five stars.[10] Helen Razer of the Daily Review also gave the TV series a negative review, disparaging it as "a poor attempt at promoting favourable propaganda about Australia–United States relations". Razer also criticized what she regarded as the tokenistic use of Aboriginal characters.[11]

Pat LaMarco of The Daily Free Press described the series as a "dull and sluggish attempt at a thriller". He also viewed the show's release on Netflix as a sign of what he regarded as the deteriorating quality of the streaming company's content.[12] By contrast, Genevieve Burgess of Pajiba gave Pine Gap a favourable review, describing it as a "spy thriller for people who don't like spy thrillers." She praised the series for its realistic low-stakes political thriller plot and for defying conventional Hollywood spying tropes by exploring the everyday challenges of its main cast members.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e Groves, Don (12 September 2018). "Premiere dates set for 'Pine Gap' and 'Fighting Season'". IF. Mark Cuban. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Knox, David (14 September 2017). "Pine Gap thriller for ABC, Netflix". TV Tonight. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Groves, Don (26 October 2017). "Mat King to direct 'Pine Gap' for the ABC and Netflix". IF. Mark Cuban. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Pine Gap - Episodes Guide and Summaries". Next Episode. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Sunday 14 October 2018". TV Tonight. 14 October 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Sunday 21 October 2018". TV Tonight. 21 October 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Sunday 28 October 2018". TV Tonight. 28 October 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Sunday 4 November 2018". TV Tonight. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Sunday 11 November 2018". TV Tonight. 11 November 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  10. ^ Buckmaster, Luke (12 October 2018). "Pine Gap review – lots of yakkety yak and occasional scenes of bonking". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  11. ^ Razer, Helen (11 October 2018). "The ABC's Pine Gap is a stinker". Daily Review. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  12. ^ LaMarco, Pat (9 December 2018). "REVIEW: Netflix's Pine Gap is a dull and sluggish attempt at a thriller". The Daily Free Press. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  13. ^ Burgess, Genevieve. "Netflix's Pine Gap Is a Spy Thriller For People Who Don't Like Spy Thrillers". Pajiba. Retrieved 25 January 2019.

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