Stateless (TV series)

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Created by
Written by
  • Elise McCredie
  • Belinda Chayko
Directed by
ComposerCornel Wilczek
Country of originAustralia
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Executive producers
  • Sheila Jayadev
  • Paul Ranford
EditorsMark Atkin
Martin Connor
Running time60 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNBCUniversal Global Distribution
Original networkABC
Picture format720p HDTV
Original release1 March 2020 (2020-03-01)

Stateless is an Australian television drama series launched on ABC TV on 1 March 2020. The six episodes were released on Netflix on 8 July 2020.

The series is partly inspired by the real-life story of Cornelia Rau, an Australian who was unlawfully detained under the Australian Government's mandatory detention program.


The series centres on four strangers in an immigration detention centre in the Australian desert: an airline hostess escaping a suburban cult, an Afghan refugee fleeing persecution, a young Australian father escaping a dead-end job and a bureaucrat caught up in a national scandal. When their lives intersect they are pushed to the brink of sanity, yet unlikely and profound emotional connections are made amongst the group.[1]

After the sixth and final episode, the epilogue states the program was based upon true stories about Australian immigration detention.


  • Yvonne Strahovski as Sofie Werner, a German-Australian flight attendant who struggles with mental health issues, based on Cornelia Rau
  • Marta Dusseldorp as Margot Werner, Sofie’s responsible older sister
  • Asher Keddie as Clare Kowitz, a representative of the Department of Immigration Management and Multicultural Affairs (DIMMA, based on DIMIA)
  • Sarah Peirse as Assistant Secretary Genevieve Mundy, Clare’s superior at DIMMA in Canberra
  • Dan Spielman as David Meakin, a journalist reporting on the Australian immigration policy and its effects
  • Fayssal Bazzi as Ahmad Ameer, a refugee from Afghanistan
  • Soraya Heidari as Mina, Ameer’s eldest daughter
  • Jai Courtney as Off. Cameron ‘Cam’ Sandford, a new officer at Barton Immigration Detention Centre
  • Maria Angelico as Angie Sandford, Cam’s wife
  • Kate Box as Janice Sandford, Cam’s older sister who is critical of the Australian immigration policy
  • Darren Gilshenan as Brian Ashworth, the general manager of Barton Immigration Detention Centre
  • Rachel House as Off. Harriet Tawake, the cruel coordinator of the officers at Barton Immigration Detention Centre
  • Clarence Ryan as Off. Sullivan, a close friend of Cam’s and a fellow officer at Barton Immigration Detention Centre
  • Rose Riley as Off. Sharee Burton, a young officer at Barton Immigration Detention Centre
  • Dominic West as Gordon Masters, co-founder of GOPA, based on Ken Dyers of Kenja Communication
  • Cate Blanchett as Pat Masters, co-founder of GOPA, based on Jan Hamilton of Kenja Communication
  • Claude Jabbour as Farid, an Arab refugee who befriends Ameer before ending up at Barton
  • Kwame N. Kamara as Mosi, an African regufee who befriends Ameer before ending up at Barton
  • Phoenix Raei as Javad Shahrokh, one of the refugees at Barton, who is separated from his family
  • Helana Sawires as Rosna, a Kurdish refugee at Barton


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [2]Australia viewers
1"The Circumstances in Which They Come"Emma FreemanElise McCredie1 March 2020 (2020-03-01)441,000[3]
2"Incognita"Emma FreemanElise McCredie8 March 2020 (2020-03-08)363,000[4]
3"The Right Thing"Emma FreemanBelinda Chayko15 March 2020 (2020-03-15)390,000[5]
4"Run Sofie Run"Jocelyn MoorhouseElise McCredie22 March 2020 (2020-03-22)430,000[6]
5"Panis Angelicus"Jocelyn MoorhouseBelinda Chayko29 March 2020 (2020-03-29)409,000[7]
6"The Seventh Circle"Jocelyn MoorhouseElise McCredie5 April 2020 (2020-04-05)469,000[8]


The series is partly inspired by the real-life story of Cornelia Rau, an Australian who was unlawfully detained under the Australian Government's mandatory detention program.[9]

Blanchett says that the title "refers to statelessness in a more poetic sense, not in a legal, physical sense. It's more about identity and the loss of people's identity when they are faced with long-term detention, when they become a number, when they are dislocated from markers in their life like home and culture, and separated from their families".[10]

The music for the series was composed by Cornel Wilczek[11]


Stateless had its world premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020, in the new Series section, along with Mystery Road Series 2.[12][13]

The Australian television channel ABC premiered the series in Australia soon afterwards, on 1 March 2020.[14] Netflix released the series globally on 8 July 2020.[15][16][17]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The script for Episode 6 by Elise McCredie was shortlisted for the Betty Roland Prize for Scriptwriting at the 2021 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards.[18]

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref(s)
2021 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (AACTA Awards) Best Telefeature, Mini Series or Short Run Series Cate Blanchett, Elise McCredie, Tony Ayres, Sheila Jayadev, Paul Ranford, Liz Watts, Andrew Upton Won [19]
Best Screenplay in Television Elise McCredie (for "The Circumstances in Which They Come") Won
Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama Fayssal Bazzi Won
Jai Courtney Nominated
Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama Yvonne Strahovski Won
Asher Keddie Nominated
Best Guest or Supporting Actor in a Television Drama Darren Gilshenan Won
Best Guest or Supporting Actress in a Television Drama Cate Blanchett Won
Best Direction in Television Emma Freeman Won
Jocelyn Moorehouse Nominated
Best Cinematography in Television Bonnie Elliott (for "The Circumstances in Which They Come") Won
Best Editing in Television Mark Atkin (for "The Circumstances in Which They Come") Won
Martin Connor (for "The Seventh") Nominated
Best Sound in Television Tom Heuzenroeder, Pete Smith, Michael Darren, Des Kenneally (for "The Circumstances in Which They Come") Won
Best Original Music Score in Television Cornel Wilczek (for "The Seventh") Won
Best Production Design in Television Melinda Doring (for "The Circumstances in Which They Come") Won
Best Costume Design in Television Mariot Kerr (for "The Circumstances in Which They Come") Won


  1. ^ Knox, David (15 May 2019). "All-star cast for ABC drama Stateless". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Stateless – Listings". Next Episode. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  3. ^ Knox, David (2 March 2020). "Sunday 1 March 2020". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  4. ^ Knox, David (9 March 2020). "Sunday 8 March 2020". TV Tonight. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  5. ^ Knox, David (16 March 2020). "Sunday 15 March 2020". TV Tonight. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  6. ^ Knox, David (23 March 2020). "Sunday 22 March 2020". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  7. ^ Knox, David (30 March 2020). "Sunday 29 March 2020". TV Tonight. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  8. ^ Knox, David (6 April 2020). "Sunday 5 April 2020". TV Tonight. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  9. ^ Keane, Daniel (1 March 2020). "Cornelia Rau, Australia's immigration wars and the true story behind TV drama Stateless". ABC News. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  10. ^ Dray, Kayleigh (7 July 2020). "The troubling true story that inspired Netflix's Stateless". Stylist. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  11. ^ "Stateless - The Screen Guide". Screen Australia. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  12. ^ Zhou, Debbie (27 February 2020). "'People are starting to wake up': Berlin film festival spotlights Australia's 'unfinished business'". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  13. ^ "World premieres for Stateless and Mystery Road at Berlin International Film Festival". ABC. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  14. ^ Knox, David (16 January 2020). "Airdate: Stateless". TV Tonight. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Stateless". Radiotimes. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  16. ^ Ravindran, Manori (25 February 2020). "Netflix Swoops In for Global Rights to Cate Blanchett Refugee Drama 'Stateless' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  17. ^ Kanter, Jake (25 February 2020). "'Stateless': Cate Blanchett Reveals Why TV Is The Perfect Medium For Her Netflix-Acquired Refugee Drama". Deadline. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  18. ^ "NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2021 shortlists announced". Books+Publishing. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  19. ^ "Aacta awards 2020: Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Ned Kelly gang vie for honours". the Guardian. 31 October 2020. Retrieved 1 November 2020.

External links[edit]