Sea Patrol (season 2)

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Sea Patrol II: The Coup
HMAS Hammersley cap.jpg
Cap from the fictional Armidale class HMAS Hammersley
Country of origin Australia
No. of episodes 13
Original network Nine Network
Original release 31 March (2008-03-31) –
23 June 2008 (2008-06-23)
Season chronology
← Previous
Sea Patrol I

The second season of the Australian drama Sea Patrol premiered on the Nine Network on 31 March 2008 and aired on Monday nights at 8:30 PM. The thirteen-episode season ended on 23 June 2008.

The season introduced a new patrol boat, following the decommissioning of the original, Fremantle class boat in the final scenes of season one. The new HMAS Hammersley (hull number 82) was of the Armidale class, reflecting the real-life changeover in the Australian fleet. The second season also featured the debut of a new main character, Able Seaman Rebecca "Bomber" Brown, as the boat's new cook.

Though advertised by the Nine Network as Sea Patrol II: The Coup,[1] episodes themselves bore no title other than Sea Patrol, and the ISAN number indicated that the episodes were merely episodes 14–26 of Sea Patrol.

Continuing the format from the first season, episodes generally moved a season-long story arc along. As the Nine Network marketing indicated, this arc involved a coup on the Samaru Islands, a fictional island nation close to Australia. In many ways, the story was evocative of Operation ANODE,[2] a peacekeeping mission to the Solomon Islands that has been called "the [operational] pinnacle for the Fremantle class" by the Australian Department of Defence.[3]


Main cast[edit]

Actor Character Rank Position
Ian Stenlake Mike "CO" Flynn RAN Lieutenant-Commander Commanding Officer
Lisa McCune Kate "XO" McGregor RAN Lieutenant Executive Officer
Saskia Burmeister Nikki "Nav" Caetano Lieutenant Navigator
John Batchelor Andy "Charge" Thorpe Chief Petty Officer Chief Engineer
Matthew Holmes Chris "Swain" Blake Petty Officer Coxswain/Chief Medic
Jeremy Lindsay Taylor Pete "Buffer" Tomaszewski Petty Officer Boatswain
Kristian Schmid Robert "RO" Dixon Leading Seaman Radio Operator
David Lyons Josh "ET" Holiday Leading Seaman Electronics Technician
Kirsty Lee Allan Rebecca "Bomber" Brown Able Seaman Chef/Assistant Medic
Jay Ryan Billy "Spider" Webb Seaman Boatswain's Mate

Recurring cast[edit]

Actor Character
Steve Bisley Commander Steven 'Steve' Marshall
Alan Dale Ray Walsman
Ditch Davey SAS Captain Jim Roth
Dajana Cahill Carly Walsman
Geoff Morrell Lieutenant-Commander Jack Freeman

Main plot[edit]

The season-long story arc revolved around a political conflict in the fictional Samaru Islands, which was ultimately shown to be located approximately due east of Cairns.[4] Starting somewhere during a political campaign to elect the nation's president, the season ended literally on the day of the election.[5] Throughout the season, the crew of Hammersley encountered an increasing number of clues that someone was using the waters off northeast Queensland to stage a paramilitary coup of the sitting Samaran government. Ultimately, it became clear that someone meant to stop the impending election from proceeding according to the will of voters. Over the course of the season, Australian businessman, Ray Walsman — an apparent victim of the anti-government forces in the premiere episode — emerged as the leader of the insurgency. His aim was to secure lucrative mining rights from the government which would have been formed had the coup succeeded.[6]

In the season opener, the writers allowed one of the characters to directly reference the real-life events that inspired the story line. Following an initial rescue mission to the Samaru Islands in "The Dogs of War", Hammersley's captain tells his department heads that the Australian government has finalised a peacekeeping arrangement with the Samaran government, and that return visits are therefore likely. Charge says, "Great. That'd be the Solomons all over again."

Ongoing subplots[edit]

All main characters had at least one subplot which appeared in more than one episode. Among them were: Nav and ET's increasing problems in keeping their romantic relationship a secret, Bomber's anger-management issues, Spider's relationship with Carly Walsman, the negative impact of a naval career on Swain's marriage, the differing ways in which Buffer and Charge dealt with near-death experiences, Kate's relationship with SAS officer Jim Roth, Mike's struggle to choose the best way to proceed his career, and ROs continued social isolation from his shipmates..


HMAS Launceston, one of the Armidale class boats used for filming Sea Patrol

The season was filmed on the Royal Australian Navy's new Armidale class patrol boat. 42 days of the filming schedule were spent aboard HMAS Broome, with pickup shooting later performed aboard HMAS Launceston. The remainder of the 86 days of filming were at studios, and on location at the Gold Coast, Queensland.[2]


Storylines controversies[edit]

The series caused controversy among some officers of the Royal Australian Navy when they came to believe that "its raunchy storylines" were "making a mockery of the navy".[7] Controversy was caused when, in some episodes, there were hints of romance between RAN officers and seamen. These were said to make a mockery of the navy's strict non-fraterisation policy.

The amount of sex on the show is simply a bloody joke... It makes a mockery of the incredible lengths that the navy and Department of Defence have taken to ensure that interpersonal relationships are kept at a professional level... The reality is some of it is absolutely absurd

— Naval Association of Australia president, Les Dwyer, [7]

Some controversy was also caused with the storylines of the second season of Sea Patrol which feature a political coup in the fictional islands of Samaru.[8] While some critics embraced the new storylines of the show, some were worried that "It's a tricky business when TV dramas stray into real-world politics".[8]

Critical response[edit]

Reviews of the season were mixed. One reviewer said that the show had learned from its mistakes of "simplicity and stiffness" during its freshman season to deliver a season whose "most striking aspect" was its "naturalness".[2]

Another reviewer recommended the season to his readers as an overall improvement on the first, especially praising the dramatic possibilities inherent in the bigger Armidale-class bridge and the "more contemporary, plot-driven" story arc. But he still highlighted areas of possible improvement. Making the point that the show's dependence on the Australian Navy sometimes made it difficult for the show to indulge in interesting usage of dramatic license, he said that "McElroy All Media appears to have taken a "steady as she goes" approach to change rather than taking hold of the wheel and firmly jumping the shark with a tougher, grittier tone."[9]


Ratings for this season successfully reversed the trend of the first season. Whereas the freshman year had been plagued by a generally downward trend, season two was characterised by gradually improving ratings. Only the Brisbane region exhibited a strong fall-off of viewers in the season's final weeks. Although no episode of the season scored as highly as season one's first week, the final five weeks held steady at 1.5 million viewers nationally. The last two episodes of the season gained well over half a million more viewers over the last two installments of season one.

Sea Patrol (season 2) ratings.jpg
Episode number
Production number
Title Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide Perth TOTAL WEEKLY
The Dogs of War 407,000 327,000 227,000 144,000 142,000 1,247,000 21[10] 7[11]
Fortune Favours 321,000 379,000 218,000 158,000 146,000 1,222,000 26[12] 12[13]
Takedown 345,000 318,000 252,000 156,000 196,000 1,267,000 20[14] 7[15]
Heaven Born Captains 387,000 422,000 244,000 153,000 156,000 1,362,000 18[16] 7[17]
Giving Up The Dead 361,000 352,000 217,000 162,000 169,000 1,260,000 26[18] 9[19]
Birds 389,000 332,000 237,000 161,000 168,000 1,287,000 21[20] 6[21]
Hidden Agendas 396,000 405,000 270,000 166,000 157,000 1,394,000 10[22] 5[23]
Heart of Glass 418,000 361,000 252,000 153,000 196,000 1,380,000 12[24] 6[25]
Shadow Line 427,000 461,000 252,000 163,000 194,000 1,505,000 6[26] 4[27]
Rules of Engagement 411,000 413,000 304,000 170,000 174,000 1,471,000 10[28] 5[29]
A Brilliant Career 354,000 449,000 321,000 184,000 183,000 1,491,000 8[30] 4[31]
Friends Close, Enemies Closer 415,000 426,000 277,000 169,000 203,000 1,489,000 8[32] 3[33]
Soldiers of Fortune 430,000 467,000 239,000 159,000 191,000 1,486,000 8[34] 4[35]


Title Directed by Written by Original air date
14 1 "The Dogs of War" Geoff Bennett Adam H. Todd 31 March 2008 (2008-03-31)

Hammersley is sent to rescue aid workers during a coup in the Pacific nation of the Samaru Islands.

The interception of a foreign fishing vessel turns into a life threatening pursuit when Charge is stabbed by one of the crew they are trying to help.

Guest actors: Brad McMurray, Che Timmins, Jimmy Christiansen, Byron Hulbert, Russell Ingram, Rico Lescott, Troy Hunter, Malachi Waters.
15 2 "Fortune Favours" Ian Barry Michaeley O'Brien 7 April 2008 (2008-04-07)

A deadly eastern brown snake threatens lives, a curious medical emergency keeps Hammersley crew on high alert, and one of the ship’s favorites is decorated for bravery.

Guest actors: Anthony Standish, Robert Griffiths.
16 3 "Takedown" Geoff Bennett Tony Morphett 14 April 2008 (2008-04-14)

Kate and Nikki are in dire jeopardy when a rescue turns into a hostage situation, and an innocent child in need of medical help fights for survival. There are gun battles onboard Hammersley, and the very existence of the ship is threatened.

Guest actors: James Stewart, Anthony Edwards, Ray Tiernan, Michelle Ayala.
17 4 "Heaven Born Captains" Ian Barry Jeff Truman 21 April 2008 (2008-04-21)

A charming SAS officer causes a stir. An illegal fishing boat is the subject of a perilous boarding. A promised promotion is put at risk by a foolish stunt, and an elegant soiree given by the French Consulate on Samaru is attended by both Cupid and the green-eyed monster.

Guest actors: Joel Pierce, Mira Pawel, Richard Chong, Ariu Lang Sio, Vince Gorce, Anthony Guilbert, Haley Mitchell, Ben Siemer, Nik Schodel, Jamie Hite.
18 5 "Giving Up The Dead" Geoff Bennett John Ridley 28 April 2008 (2008-04-28)

The RO's future in the Navy is in questions when an incident with the RHIB leads to the discovery that he has drugs in his system, and the crew start to question just how well they really know their radio operator.

RO, feeling ostracized by his shipmates is starting to suffer flashbacks, and is convinced that his drinks must have been spiked during a night out with some Swedish backpackers. Later, the body of an apparently murdered young man is brought aboard Hammersley and RO recognises him as one of the backpackers, but worried he may in some way be involved in the death, he keeps the information to himself. Hammersley tries to find out what has happened to the man, and during the search encounters a stranded fisherman, and offer their assistance, the fisherman is reluctant to accept their help, but following an altercation in the galley between RO and ET, Mike Flynn insist the XO and RO provide an escorts to the nearest port, thereby presenting the ideal chance to get RO off the ship and for the XO to find out what is going on. RO soon becomes suspicious of the fisherman and as his memory comes back realises this is the man who killed the backpacker and tried to kill him. Now he needs to convince the XO of his story, and get Hammersley to return in time before they all face a fiery death. Separately Hammersley has recovered a cache of forged Samaruan bank notes is destined to destabilise the fragile economy of the troubled islands.

Guest actors: Alex Petersons, Sebastian Wichne, Adam Fawns, Todd Levi, Robert Reitano, Jimmy Christiansen.
19 6 "Birds" Ian Berry Matt Ford 5 May 2008 (2008-05-05)

Hammersley’s crew have been joined by an agent from the Marine Protection Agency, Campbell Fulton, and he accompanies them when they board a FFV fishing for Trochus. The boarding appears to be mostly standard until they make a grisly discovery; one of the fisherman has been locked inside a barrel, and dies shortly after discovery.

Back on Hammersley, Campbell Fulton has taken a liking to Nicky, but so far she has been brushing off his advances, so when he overhears her talking with ET he sees an opportunity to use the information about their relationship to his own advantage. Later in her cabin, he tries to kiss her but when she pushes him away and threatens to report him, he uses her relationship with ET as a threat to keep her mouth shut, and forces himself onto her. She manages to fight him off, but knowing she has to keep her feelings for ET secret she can’t tell anyone what he has done.

Back on the FFV, Swain warns that the dead fisherman could be the result of bird-flu, so ET is none too happy about being assigned to sail the boat to port especially when Campbell Fulton is assigned with him. When a fight breaks out on the FFV between Fulton and ET that results in ET becoming trapped below deck the crew are forced to overcome their worries about the bird flu and help their friend. With ET trapped and water coming in through a breach in the hull, Swain and the CO fear they may need to resort to drastic measures to free him before he drowns. As the rescue becomes desperate it become obvious to everyone that Nicky has feelings for ET beyond that of just friends, and she has no choice but to tell the XO the truth about the attack by Campbell Fulton.

Guest actors: Andrew Buchanan, Trent Huen, Shea Adams.
20 7 "Hidden Agendas" Geoff Bennett Philip Dalkin 12 May 2008 (2008-05-12)

Swain is distraught when he gets an e-mail from home telling him his wife has left and he is not to contact her, but he is forced to put aside his worries when a young boy he has befriended from the Samaru Islands becomes entangled with illegal gun smuggling and is later kidnapped.

Kate and Jim's romantic getaway turns into a life-or-death struggle when they encounter rebel forces and the kidnapped boy.

Guest actors: Michael Tuahine, Patrick Jhanur, Steven Harman, Ling-Hsueh Tang, Daisy Betts, Rico Lescott, Joyce McNeill, Steve Daddow, Josh Elkington, Sam Elia.
21 8 "Heart of Glass" Ian Berry Samantha Winston 19 May 2008 (2008-05-19)

Bomber's 21st birthday celebrations are cut short when she and Spider are lost overboard, and their rescuers are not as benevolent as they first appear. Meanwhile Buffer secretly deals with a personal tragedy.

Guest actors: Eugene Gilfedder, Lexie Symon, Scott McRae, Lee O'Shaughnessy, Steve Harmon.
22 9 "Shadow Line" Geoff Bennett Tony Morphett 26 May 2008 (2008-05-26)

When the crew of Hammersley rescue a long survivor of a pirate attack they discover his fellow crew have been murdered and the culprits sound very familiar to the men who attacked and stabbed Charge. Wanting revenge for their friend Hammersley start the hunt for the pirates who turns out to be a foreign mercenary, but Charge is less than keen to be reunited with his attacker, preferring to put the matter behind him and move on.

When Hammersley catches up with the foreign mercenary he manages to slip his bonds and escape onto an Island leading to a land search. Three teams pursue him into the jungle, but he attacks Spider knocking him unconscious and steeling his gun. He then turns the gun on Kate who puts up the fight of her life to survive his attack.

Guest actors: Brad McMurray, Will Wensley, Ariu Lang Sio, Hayley Mitchell, Lee O'Shaughnessy.
23 10 "Rules of Engagement" Ian Barry Jeff Truman 2 June 2008 (2008-06-02)

Captain Roth's patrol gets ambushed, leaving three dead and severely injuring Mike Flynn during the rescue. Kate is now in charge of Hammersley, and has to deal with a stowaway who has become close to ET hoping that she can use his affections to escape Samaru and get to Australia. The XO declines her request telling her they have no choice but to send her home. However, when they try to land back on one of the 'safer' Islands they are confronted by local bandits who want to take the young woman for themselves. Kate uses a trick picked up from Jim Roth to outsmart the bandits, and the young woman is returned safely to Hammersley.

Guest actors: Emelia Burnset
24 11 "A Brilliant Career" Geoff Bennett Michaeley O'Brien 9 June 2008 (2008-06-09)

With Mike still recovering in hospital from the wound to his leg, Hammersley is assigned a new Commanding Officer, an 'old-school' CO and old friend of Charge. Everything starts well, but his orders start to become erratic. He takes an immediate dislike to Kate, setting her up to fail, but as his decisions start to place the lives of the crew and the safety of the ship at risk Kate has no choice to step in and take back command of the ship.

Meanwhile, the mercenary who stabbed Charge is in the same hospital as Mike, and Mike tries to get some information from him. He appears to be recovering but then suddenly and mysteriously dies. Mike Flynn gets out of hospital to return to his command of Hammersley. Mike believes Ray Walsman is involved with the death of the mercenary and in an illegal shipping business.

Guest actors: Geoff Morrell, Brad McMurray, Kaitlyn Clare, Peter Adams.
25 12 "Friends Close, Enemies Closer" Ian Berry Felicity Packard 16 June 2008 (2008-06-16)

Buffer's new girlfriend has decided to take a holiday, and since Buffer is not available she is going with another friend - a male friend. Buffer trusts her, but the banter of his shipmates soon make him question his trust and he starts a desperate attempt to try to contact her. On shore leave, and still grumpy with his ship mates who are continuing to wind him up, Buffer sees a person that he thinks is could be part of the rebel forces behind the attacks on Samaru, so decides to follow him. His pursuit leaves him locked in a cargo container which soon puts to sea. The following day, and Hammersley is due to sail, but no-one can find Buffer until Charge notices a voicemail from Buffer which goes some way to explaining his disappearance, and Hammersley sets out to find what has happened to him. The container ship with Buffer on board pulls into shore, and Buffer is able to get a short message to Hammersley, but with very little information about his location. Buffer decides to follow the mercenaries to their camp, and is surprised to see Ray Walsman is running the operation. Using his phone to take photos and gather evidence, just as his girlfriend calls and the noise alerts the mercs to his presence. Taken prisoner by the mercs Walsman orders him to be killed. Hammersley are in a desperate search to find him, knowing he is in trouble, but with little to go on, and all the while they are searching Buffer, with a gun to his head, has been ordered to dig his own grave.

Guest actors: Aaron Fa'aosa, Goran D. Kleut, Bo Kaan, Colin Handley, Ben Siemer, Sharm Brown, Rico Lescott.
26 13 "Soldiers of Fortune" Ian Berry John Ridley 23 June 2008 (2008-06-23)

The net is tightening on Ray Walsman, and a warrant is issued for his arrest for his involvement with illegal gun running and tampering with the elections on Sameru, as well as the order he gave to have Buffer killed. Hammersley catch him and hand him over to the Sameru authorities to be charged with attempted murder, but he engineers an escape and reignites the coup on Sameru to cover his escape. At the same time, Hammersley are escorting a small group of UN officials, but one of their number is not who he claims and makes an attempt on Buffer's life - the only man who can really put Walsman in jail.

The CO and Buffer interrogate the man and get a lead on Walsman position and set a trap for him. When they catch him on his boat Buffer gets the chance to exact revenge on the man who tried to kill him - twice.

Guest actors: Damien Cassidy, Aaron Fa'aosa, Yves Chapand, Colin Handley, David Martin, Darryl Walsh, Rene Perrin, Ben Siemer, Jimmy Christiansen, Ben Siemer, Jamie Hite, Ben Siemer, Mark Ferguson.

DVD release[edit]

The second season of Sea Patrol – Sea Patrol II: The Coup – was released on Region 4 DVD on 6 November 2008.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Promotional card for series 2". Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  2. ^ a b c Idato, Michael (2008-03-31). "All ship shape". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  3. ^ "Farewell to the Fremantle Class" (PDF). Semaphore. Sea Power Centre, Australian Department of Defence. October 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  4. ^ "Shadow Line". Sea Patrol. Season 2. Episode 9. Nine Network. 
  5. ^ "Soldiers of Fortune". Sea Patrol. Season 2. Episode 13. Nine Network. 
  6. ^ "Friends Close, Enemies Closer". Sea Patrol. Season 2. Episode 12. Nine Network. 
  7. ^ a b Deery, Shannon; Markson, Sharri. No sex please, we're navy, Sunday Herald Sun, 1 June 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  8. ^ a b Ellis, Scott. Patrol plays politics, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 May 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  9. ^ Knox, David (2008-03-29). "First Review: Sea Patrol II". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  10. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 14, TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  11. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 14, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  12. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 15, TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  13. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 15, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  14. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 16, TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  15. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 16, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  16. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 17, TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  17. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 17, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  18. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 18, TV Tonight. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  19. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 18, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  20. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 19, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  21. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 19, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  22. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 20, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  23. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 20, TV Tonight. Retrieved 21 May 2008.
  24. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 21, TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
  25. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 21, TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
  26. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 22, TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  27. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 22, TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  28. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 23, TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  29. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 23, TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  30. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 24, TV Tonight. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
  31. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 24, TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  32. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 25, TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  33. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 25, TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  34. ^ Knox, David. Network Rankings – Week 26, TV Tonight. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  35. ^ Knox, David. Television Ratings – Week 26, TV Tonight. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  36. ^ Sea Patrol – Season 2 (complete) DVD summary, Retrieved 16 August 2008.
General references