Stingers (TV series)

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Stingers
Created by
StarringPeter Phelps
Kate Kendall
Anita Hegh
Joe Petruzzi
Roxane Wilson
Ian Stenlake
Jessica Napier
Jacinta Stapleton
Daniel Fredriksen
Lisa Chappell
Gary Sweet
Country of originAustralia
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes192
Production
Executive producer(s)
Running time44 minutes (including ads)
Production company(s)Beyond Television Productions
Release
Original networkNine Network
Original release29 September 1998 –
14 December 2004

Stingers (1998–2004) is an Australian police drama television series. It ran for eight seasons on the Nine Network before it was canceled in late 2004 due to declining ratings and the late timeslot Channel Nine gave the program. The series has also aired in 65 countries, including Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Gibraltar, Iran, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Inspired by true events, Stingers chronicled the cases of a deep undercover unit of the Victoria Police. The series also followed their personal lives, which sometimes became intertwined with their jobs. The show received average ratings during its debut season, but after some major changes, including intensive character development, the series became a success the following year. The original cast members include Peter Phelps, Joe Petruzzi, Kate Kendall, Ian Stenlake, Anita Hegh, and Jessica Napier. Phelps and Kendall were the only actors to remain with the show for its entire run.

Cast[edit]

  • Senior Constable Peter Church – Peter Phelps (1998–2004, Ep 1 to 192)
  • (Detective) Constable Angie Piper – Kate Kendall (1998–2004, Ep 1 to 192)
  • Det-Sen Sgt. Bernie Rocca – Joe Petruzzi (1998–1999, Ep 1 to 44)
  • Constable Oscar Stone – Ian Stenlake (1998–2002, Ep 1 to 110)
  • Det-Sen Sgt. (originally Det-Sgt.) Ellen 'Mac' Mackenzie – Anita Hegh (1998–2002, Ep 1 to 110)
  • Constable Daniella Mayo – Roxane Wilson (2000–2002, Ep 45 to 114)
  • Detective Inspector Luke Harris – Gary Sweet (2002–2004, Ep 111 to 192)
  • Constable (originally Probationary Constable) Christina Dichiera – Jacinta Stapleton (2002–2004, Ep 112 to 192)
  • Senior Detective Leo Flynn – Daniel Frederiksen (2003–2004, Ep 136 to 192)

Semi-regulars and other cast[edit]

  • Senior Detective (briefly demoted from Detective Inspector) Bill Hollister (Head of Homicide) – Nicholas Bell (Seasons 1–4)
  • Det-Sen Sgt. Reg 'The Ferret' Masters (Head of Vice Squad/Head of Drugs Squad) – Richard Morgan (Seasons 2–8)
  • Det-Sen Sgt. Bryan Gray (Head of Armed Robbery/Senior Detective for Special Investigations) – Jeremy Kewley (Seasons 3–8)
  • Det-Insp. Harry Love (Head of Homicide) – Martin Jacobs (Season 5)
  • Det-Insp. Frank Callahan (Head of Homicide) – David Swann (Seasons 3-5)
  • Det-Sen Sgt. Eric Chatterly (Senior Homicide Detective, possibly Acting Head of Homicide) – John Ridley (Seasons 2-8)
  • Det. Nick Jardine - Andy Rodoreda (Season 5)
  • Marty Engle (Informant/Angie's Fiance) - Jim Russell (Season 5)
  • Det. Insp. Andrew Bligh (Internal Affairs) - Russell Kiefel (Seasons 3-7)
  • Criminal Barrister Ingrid Burton – Rebecca Gibney (Seasons 6–7)
  • Sophie Novak – Katrina Milosevic (Seasons 7–8)
  • Detective Katherine Marks – Gigi Edgley (Season 8)
  • Constable Megan Walsh – Lisa Chappell (Season 8)
  • Samantha Piper - Angie's younger sister - Asher Keddie (Seasons 3-8)

Deceased cast members[edit]

Richard Morgan, who played Det-Sen Sgt. Reg Masters from 1999 until 2004, died of motor neurone disease on 23 December 2006. Morgan also appeared on The Sullivans, A Country Practice, Sons and Daughters, MDA, Blue Heelers and Something in the Air.

Another deceased actor and writer is Russell Kiefel (1951-2016), who played Detective Inspector Andrew Bligh of Internal Affairs during seasons 3 through 7. He collapsed backstage in a play.[1]

Series history[edit]

On Sunday 16 July 2006 at 2 p.m., Executive producer John Wild and script producer Marcia Gardner sat down with an audience at ACMI in Federation Square in Melbourne to "explore the narrative arc and character development from the first episodes to the final series." The event took place in the Screen Pit and was free to the public. Also in attendance was cast member Jeremy Kewley who posted the following rundown of the discussion for the Stingers forum:

It first began airing up towards the end of the year, on Monday nights. It was up against another new show on Channel Seven, Ally McBeal, and Stingers beat McBeal regularly for its first 11 weeks before it went on its Christmas ratings break. When both shows returned after the ratings break, McBeal began to win in the ratings quite comfortably, worrying Nine executives.

At this time Channel Nine and the producers had to work out how to win ratings back, and found that the reason why so many people preferred Ally McBeal over Stingers was because Stingers had a very rough, edgy and realistic feel to it, and that this did not appeal to women of all ages, who preferred the lightness of McBeal. So Stingers was moved to Tuesday night. This helped a bit, but not enough. Channel Nine were thinking about canceling the show, but Nine owner Kerry Packer liked the show and suggested that they keep it on the air. Nine did, but moved it an hour later to 9.30pm Tuesdays, and Stingers started to find its audience (although this was still not a big one). It stayed at this timeslot until the end of 7th season which seemed to be predominately male middle class white collar workers between the ages of 30–55.

By the middle of the second season, ratings were still not spectacular enough and Channel Nine commissioned research which showed that women were not particularly interested in Stingers. As women make up 50% of the audience the producers were told to make the first major change to Stingers: make it more female-friendly. This led to the departure of Joe Petruzzi, making Anita Hegh's character the boss of the Unit. This also led to another female character being introduced, undercover operative Danni Mayo, portrayed by Roxane Wilson. This led to the show becoming more 'lighter' to appeal to the female audiences. Soon after, humour was added to the show, in the form of Jeremy Kewley's character, Bryan Gray. These changes worked well and Stingers steamed through Seasons 3, 4 and 5, but then Anita Hegh and Ian Stenlake decided to leave the show, causing another drastic change in the series.

Channel Nine, on a nationwide cost-cutting drive, hinted at dropping the show because Stingers' was considered too expensive; its budget had crept up from its original $440,000-per-episode cost, to around $480,000. They dropped a bombshell on the producers: shave around $130,000 every week from the budget or the show would have to cease production. A huge ask, but everyone at Stingers was keen to keep going as everyone felt there were still life in the show and plenty of stories to tell.

By the start of the next season the budget was chopped down to $350,000 per episode. Shooting changed from six days per episode to five, stock changed from 16 mm film to SP Betacam Videotape, the crew became smaller, and writers were given less time to write each episode. The location changed from the "Crimplex" (warehouse/studio/offices by the Yarra River) to the studios of Channel Nine in Richmond. Channel Nine spent money on a big new set (plus a new "hospital ward" set and a new "pub/bar" set) and justified the cost by making sure that most of the action on the show now took place inside the studio on the new sets, with a lot less time spent on locations, with less money spent on car chases, stunts and special effects.

Channel Nine also wanted more "star power" in the show, so Gary Sweet was brought in as Luke Harris (and Roxane Wilson decided to leave), and Rebecca Gibney – now out of a job without Halifax f.p. – was cast for the first few episodes of the new season. Most of these major changes worked quite well, and most viewers at home would not have been too aware of the changes to the visual quality of the show (such as using tape instead of film).

But, as Executive Producer John Wild humorously pointed out, "the ratings didn't change one point!" Channel Nine commissioned more surveys that told them the show needed to appeal to younger viewers. So two new characters were added, played by Daniel Frederiksen and Jacinta Stapleton, and, John Wild said, "and the ratings still didn't change one point!" Channel Nine insisted that still more star power was needed to lift the ratings, so Lisa Chappell (Logie winning McLeod's Daughters star) joined the cast. After still no improvement to the ratings, more star power was further added in guest roles with Bill Hunter, Gigi Edgley, Steve Bisley, Tottie Goldsmith. No improvement still.

Stingers was then "rested" for a couple of weeks and replaced by repeats of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and these repeats rated better than first-run episodes of Stingers (screening a repeat episode of CSI probably[vague] costs the network about $25,000 as opposed to a first-run episode of Stingers at $350,000).

It became clear what Nine would do: move Stingers to 10.30pm on a permanent basis and put higher-rating repeats of CSI on at 9.30 p.m. Channel Nine in Adelaide did not like this move and moved Stingers to 9:30 Monday nights, however this only lasted for five weeks before it was moved back to 10:30 on a Tuesday night; such a move to a later timeslot caused Stingers’ ratings to drop even lower, giving Nine reason to finally end the show. Stingers’ curse seemed to be that it always rated well, but it never rated spectacularly.

Plot[edit]

Inspired by true events, Stingers chronicled the cases of a deep undercover unit of the Victoria police. The series also followed their personal lives, which sometimes became intertwined with their jobs. The original unit was composed of Senior Detective Peter Church (whose real name was Mike Fischer) played by Peter Phelps, Senior Detective Angie Piper (Kate Kendall), Constable Oscar Stone (whose real name was Cameron Pierce) played by Ian Stenlake, Det-Sgt. Ellen 'Mac' Mackenzie (Anita Hegh) and Det-Sen Sgt. Bernie Rocca (Joe Petruzzi), who led the unit. Rocca was shot and left the unit in season two, and Mac became the new head.

Constable Danni Mayo (Roxane Wilson) joined the unit in season three, while season five saw two casualties: Stone was killed while Mac ran away with a diamond robber. Detective Inspector Luke Harris (Gary Sweet) took over as head of the unit until the end of the series, and Danni quit the force after being enraged by him. Constable Christina Dichiera (Jacinta Stapleton) joined the unit in season six. Her real name is Felicity Matthews, but this was not known to the force, as she had a criminal history under that name. Senior Detective Leo Flynn (Daniel Frederiksen) joined in season seven.

Season eight saw the arrival of Detective Katherine Marks, who was revealed as Harris' daughter from his first marriage. The revelation also ended Harris and Angie's already shaky relationship, which had produced a son.

Episodes[edit]

Season one (1998–99)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
11"Ratcatcher"29 September 1998 (1998-09-29)
When a Homicide investigation into the disappearance of a teenage babysitter fails to reveal any useful evidence, Church and Angie go undercover to infiltrate a sinister criminal family.
22"Hit Me"6 October 1998 (1998-10-06)
Someone is looking to hire a hitman, so Church goes undercover. His client is a woman who claims that her husband is trying to kill her. She wants him dead before he succeeds.
33"The Initiation"13 October 1998 (1998-10-13)
A policeman has been shot. Undercover is called upon to infiltrate a suspected Romanian gang, but they don't deal with outsiders. Rocca must rely on an ex-undercover operative who could potentially jeopardize the job and the unit.
44"Show the Dead Mouse: Part 1"20 October 1998 (1998-10-20)
Undercover is called in to a serial killer case. When Angie's cover is blown, Kaye becomes her replacement. Her first solo job is going well until all contact with her is lost and she vanishes.
55"Show the Dead Mouse: Part 2"27 October 1998 (1998-10-27)

Following Kay's disappearance, the Unit goes into damage control, scrutinizing the surveillance footage and following up on the few leads they have - a process that provides an unexpected suspect.

Final Appearance of Jessica Napier as Constable Kaye Kelso
66"Backlash"3 November 1998 (1998-11-03)
Whilst undercover, Church is employed by a brutal mercenary, Cameron Fraser, to assist in the abduction of a young girl. After a botched attempt, Fraser successfully tails Church, putting the security of the unit at risk.
77"Innocents Abroad"10 November 1998 (1998-11-10)
Following the drug-related death of a young clubber, the unit attempts to crack a large scale Ecstasy racket.
88"Blind Love"17 November 1998 (1998-11-17)
Mackenzie is put undercover on the witness protection scheme to befriend a victim of attempted murder because of her connections with a leading politician who is suspected of corruption.
99"Jelly Babies"24 November 1998 (1998-11-24)
While taking part in a buy/bust, Church and his dealer inadvertently get caught up in a siege instigated by three teenage criminals.
1010"Nothing Personal"22 February 1999 (1999-02-22)
The Professional Integrity Unit investigations goes undercover over claims of corrupt handling. After evidence leads to Rocca's suspension, the unit wants to know what's going on.
1111"Ten Feet Tall and Bullet Proof"1 March 1999 (1999-03-01)
Church is forced to drop his longtime team informant, Benny. Benny is outraged, but as a last hurrah, he gives Church information about a planned armoured van robbery.
1212"Faking It"8 March 1999 (1999-03-08)
Working undercover, Church sets up a buy/bust which turns sour after Stone is bashed and falls into a coma. Emotions run high as Church is forced to remain undercover.
1313"Right on Target"15 March 1999 (1999-03-15)
After Stone is nearly shot during a meeting with a dealer, Mac is worried about Stone's well-being when an informant helps Stone penetrate a gun dealing ring.
1414"Without Fear or Favour"6 April 1999 (1999-04-06)
The Unit goes undercover to locate a charismatic prison escapee, Kane, who accuses the police of wanting him dead rather than recaptured.
1515"Lunatic Fringe: Part 1"13 April 1999 (1999-04-13)
Stone and Angie go undercover to infiltrate "Mother Earth," a radical environmental group suspected of stealing explosives. Church is put in prison to befriend Aaron Feilder, the psychopathic leader of the group.
1616"Lunatic Fringe: Part 2"20 April 1999 (1999-04-20)
Church encounters Stone as part of the environmental extremist group. Stone wants to report to the unit but Church, driven by his own agenda, insists that any contact would jeopardise the sting.
1717"Talker"27 April 1999 (1999-04-27)
Someone is killing prostitutes and when another woman is found murdered, Mackenzie and Angie go undercover at a brothel.
1818"Into the Cold"4 May 1999 (1999-05-04)
When Church goes undercover to investigate a murder, he inadvertently ingratiates himself with the Rossis, a criminal family currently the target of an independent inquiry. Church is ordered to remain undercover.
1919"Lone Hand"11 May 1999 (1999-05-11)
With the help of the unit, Church manages to impress Dino Rossi and weaken the position of his right-hand man, who is resentful of Church being accepted into the ranks.
2020"Proving Ground"18 May 1999 (1999-05-18)
Mackenzie and Angie face an Internal Affairs investigation when an informant commits suicide.
2121"Cast Off"25 May 1999 (1999-05-25)
While the Unit learns of Church's relationship with Christina, Church is forced to come to terms with Christina's involvement with the family business and refuses to testify against Dino.
2222"Dead Man's Throw"1 June 1999 (1999-06-01)
Information comes to light that someone is trying to sell Dino details about Church. With his identity revealed, it is a deadly race against time for Church to save his relationship and his life.

Season two (1999)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
231"Salsa: Part 1"8 June 1999 (1999-06-08)
Stone and Angie go undercover to investigate the murder of a young Asian woman involved in the X-rated movie business. MacKenzie receives a compromising photograph relating to her former relationship with Church.
242"Salsa: Part 2"15 June 1999 (1999-06-15)
The compromising photograph of MacKenzie and Church threatens the security of the entire unit. Church pursues the source of the photos while Angie and Stone push for more information on the Porn Star murderer.
253"Set for Life"22 June 1999 (1999-06-22)
Church works undercover as a safecracker to find out the target of the robbery, discovering that the gang have a one-off, get rich quick scheme.
264"The Big Picture"29 June 1999 (1999-06-29)
Rocca finds himself in unfamiliar territory when he goes undercover with Church on a case involving gold smuggling and political intrigue.
275"Rat Trap"6 July 1999 (1999-07-06)
The Unit pull off a successful cocaine bust, leaving drug lord, Bryce Forbes, wanting revenge. Acting on information supplied by Forbes' lover, Heather, Stone is sent undercover to infiltrate the drug lord's operation.
286"Finders Keepers"27 July 1999 (1999-07-27)
MacKenzie goes undercover in a woman's prison. Her target is Nancy, a young woman convicted of murdering her husband, who embezzled millions of dollars in an investment scam. The Unit's aim is to recover the money.
297"Playing with the Celibate Dead"29 July 1999 (1999-07-29)
Stone and MacKenzie infiltrate a gang planning to rob and murder a coin dealer. When they lose contact with the Unit, Rocca must second guess their movements.
308"White Lies"3 August 1999 (1999-08-03)
Church is due to give evidence in court against major crime figure, Dino Rossi, but the Unit discovers someone wants Church silenced before he can testify.
319"Mr. Right"10 August 1999 (1999-08-10)
MacKenzie works closely with Maddern, a psychological profiler to identify a killer who uses the internet to select his victims. With the Unit in full-scale back up, Mac is put undercover as bait.
3210"The Favour"17 August 1999 (1999-08-17)
Working undercover as an ex-army officer, that now supplies illegal explosives, Stone encounters his first girlfriend, Kelly, entangled in a contrabrand arms export scam.
3311"Judas Kiss"31 August 1999 (1999-08-31)
While investigating large scale thefts on the docks, Church accidentally shoots an old mate, Tony. While Church is suspended, the Unit continues to uncover the extent of the shipping robberies.
3412"Counting the Beat"7 September 1999 (1999-09-07)
Church and Angie go undercover to investigate suspected drug importation in the music industry. Church works on the record company manager, while Angie investigates charismatic rock star, Jimi Mercer.
3513"Just Acting"14 September 1999 (1999-09-14)
Stone leads a sting on a well known crime family that doesn't quite go to plan as the eldest son, Billy, escapes. Stone and Angie lay low at Stone's family farm, but Billy tracks them down.
3614"Unnatural Justice"21 September 1999 (1999-09-21)
When the daughter of a Family Court judge is abducted, Church teams up with Rory, a young Undercover recruit, and together they investigate a group lobbying against the judge.
3715"Dance with the Dragon"28 September 1999 (1999-09-28)
While investigating a heroin racket, Church encounters his nephew, Matt, who has fallen victim to the needle. Church spends time with Matt, experiencing the emotional, rather than criminal, side of heroin addiction.
3816"The Long Haul"5 October 1999 (1999-10-05)
Undercover with Angie and Stone, Church investigates a series of strategic truck-hijackings which have turned to murder.
3917"Swarm"12 October 1999 (1999-10-12)
When the husband of a leading Aboriginal activist is car-bombed, Stone and Angie go undercover to investigate SWARM, a radical right-wing group suspected of involvement.
4018"Men in the Dark"19 October 1999 (1999-10-19)
When A.J., one of MacKenzie's informants, finds out that the adoption of his young Vietnamese daughter wasn't strictly legal, Church and MacKenzie uncover a ring of child smugglers.
4119"Full Term"26 October 1999 (1999-10-26)
By using Stone's informant, Rocca plans a dangerous drug operation to land a well known drug heavy. The drug operation is put at risk when Stone's informant goes into labour and Church is left holding the baby.
4220"House Rules"2 November 1999 (1999-11-02)
Church and Mac go undercover to infiltrate a group of high-roller gamblers who conduct illegal gaming sessions. The sting takes a bizarre turn when the gaming session is raided, not by the police, but by robbers.
4321"Signal One"9 November 1999 (1999-11-09)
When Rocca is shot outside his home, Church becomes obsessed with finding the gunman. Mac assumes she will fill in for Rocca so there is friction aplenty as a new boss joins the ranks.
4422"The Dingo (Listed as Dingo on the DVD)"16 November 1999 (1999-11-16)
Church meets a new informant, Terry Hanks, who repeatedly delivers big time drug dealers, but when Terry offers to land them 'The Dingo', the biggest and baddest dealer of all, Mac and Church have their doubts.

Season three (2000)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
145"Brilliant Lies"14 June 2000 (2000-06-14)
A sassy new operative arrives at the Unit as the group go undercover to entrap a gang of teenage thieves. However, a mistake leads to as kidknapping which places everyone in jeopardy.
246"Forced Perspective"21 June 2000 (2000-06-21)
Church goes undercover into the world of stolen art. When he discovers that the target is abusing his son, Church's repressed memories. of his abusive father are triggered and he must grapple with conflicting emotions.
347"Which Bank?"28 June 2000 (2000-06-28)
A well planned sting goes horribly wrong when Church infiltrates a criminal gang who are intent on robbing a very large bank.
448"Twisted Sister"1 August 2000 (2000-08-01)
Angie's assignment is jeopardised with the unexpected arrival of her sister. Mac is faced with a crisis when she discovers that Danni is involved with a suspect.
549"Unplaced Favourite"8 August 2000 (2000-08-08)
Danni's future with the unit is on the line when her ex-boyfriend becomes the prime suspect in a horse-doping scam.
650"No Way Out"15 August 2000 (2000-08-15)
Hollister asks Mac for help to capture master bank robber, Marty Stockwell. Hollister wants revenge after Stockwell fatally shot one of his men. Church and Danni go undercover to bring Stockwell to justice.
751"Necessary Force"22 August 2000 (2000-08-22)
In court, things go horribly wrong when the Magistrate dismisses the charges against Tony Howarth for shooting Bernie Rocca. Church comes under fire from Internal Affairs after he is accused of using excessive force to obtain a confession.
852"No Pain, No Gain"29 August 2000 (2000-08-29)
Church becomes involved in a young boy's life after he catches him trying to steal his car. Meanwhile, Angie goes undercover to expose a dentist accused of malpractice.
953"HeartLine"5 September 2000 (2000-09-05)
Three backpackers are murdered. Stone is sent in to investigate the suspect, Evelyn Leigh but he lets his emotions cloud hs judgement - a mistake that could cost him his life.
1054"Mob Rules"12 September 2000 (2000-09-12)
Mac and Church must infiltrate a neighbourhood residents group who are protesting the acquittal and return to the neighbourhood of a local teacher recently charged with the murder of a young student.
1155"A Marriage to Die For"12 September 2000 (2000-09-12)
When Church conducts a sting on a bikie gang, a simple gun deal becomes complicated after Church is hired to do a hit.
1256"In Too Deep"19 September 2000 (2000-09-19)
The undercover Unit face a psychological challenge when an operative loses his identity during a long-term assignment.
1357"The Last Hit"19 September 2000 (2000-09-19)
Church strikes up an unlikely friendship with a hitman after preventing his attempted suicide. He is drawn into the middle of a heated triangle with no simple solution.
1458"Fine Details"26 September 2000 (2000-09-26)
Danni learns the meaning of betrayal when she is forced to use an innocent to solve a murder.
1559"Truly, Madly, Deeply"3 October 2000 (2000-10-03)
MacKenzie faces a dilemma when Detective Inspector Bill Hollister is revealed as a regular client at an illegal brothel.
1660"The Good Life"17 October 2000 (2000-10-17)
Danni and the rest of the team are called in when a well-known career criminal turns Crown witness under unusual circumstances.
1761"Second Chance"24 October 2000 (2000-10-24)
MacKenzie's past comes back to haunt her when her adopted brother is released from prison.
1862"Every Move You Make"31 October 2000 (2000-10-31)
While working to exposed and armed robbery ring, Angie is stalked by an obsessed admirer. The stalker not only jeopardises Angie's sting, but threatens the security of the entire unit.
1963"A Matter of Trust"7 November 2000 (2000-11-07)
Church must put his career on the line when an old Academy buddy is implicated in a homicide.
2064"Spare Parts"14 November 2000 (2000-11-14)
A personal favour from Church becomes a case for Undercover when an illegal organ-trading scam is exposed.
2165"Organised Crime"21 November 2000 (2000-11-21)
The Undercover Unit are assigned to investigate a five-year-old unsolved bank robbery with tragic consequences.
2266"Something Old, Something New"21 November 2000 (2000-11-21)
MacKenzie and Angie face an internal Affairs investigation when an informant commits suicide.

Season four (2001)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
167"Snakehead"14 August 2001 (2001-08-14)
The Undercover Unit is called in to investigate when eleven illegal immigrants are found dead inside a shipping container.
268"Rich Man's World"21 August 2001 (2001-08-21)
Church uses an informant to infiltrate a drug syndicate, with tragic consequences.
369"Beyond Redemption"28 August 2001 (2001-08-28)
Angie goes undercover at a halfway house to obtain evidence against a psychological killer.
470"Tell Me You Love Me"11 September 2001 (2001-09-11)
Church and MacKenzie pose as a married couple experiencing relationship difficulties as they investigate a murder.
571"Fool to Want You"18 September 2001 (2001-09-18)
Church becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation when he moonlights as a private investigator.
672"Family Values"25 September 2001 (2001-09-25)
Church goes undercover in a bikie gang to expose a major amphetamine ring, with unexpected and tragic consequences.
773"Whatever It Takes"2 October 2001 (2001-10-02)
The future of the Undercover Unit looks uncertain when Stone is investigated for the shooting death of biker Chicken Lake.
874"Into the Darkness"10 October 2001 (2001-10-10)
In the aftermath of Bill Hollister's murder, MacKenzie grieves while Church tries to bring the killer to justice.
975"Foster Cops"17 October 2001 (2001-10-17)
Church and Danni pose as foster parents in an unusual operation to capture Australia's Most Wanted Armed Robber.
1076"The Whisper Room"23 October 2001 (2001-10-23)
The Undercover Unit investigates a group of paedophiles who use an internet chat-room to procure their victims.
1177"Feud"24 October 2001 (2001-10-24)
The Undercover investigate an extortion attempt against a pharmaceutical company and find themselves at the centre of a long-term feud.
1278"One of Us"30 October 2001 (2001-10-30)
Stone is recruited by an Assistant Commissioner to assassinate the Bomb-maker responsible for Bill Hollister's death.
1379"Dog Eat Dog (Episode 80 on DVD)"31 October 2001 (2001-10-31)
The Undercover Unit stage an intensive investigation to nail the ex-police officer believed responsible for Bill Hollister's murder.
1480"Slice (Episode 79 on DVD)"6 November 2001 (2001-11-06)
Danni's cover is blown and her career is threatened when an escaped criminal seeks his revenge.
1581"Love Hurts"7 November 2001 (2001-11-07)
A case of mistaken identity results in Stone being recruited to assist with a major armed robbery.
1682"Psychotic Episode"20 November 2001 (2001-11-20)
Strange guns, UFOs, and piggerists with glass eyes - it's all in a day's work for Church, when his only source of information for a possible murder case is a paranoid schizophrenic.
1783"Closure"21 November 2001 (2001-11-21)
MacKenzie investigates a Private Detective who specialises in adoption cases, with the secret hope of locating her birth mother.
1884"True Colours"21 November 2001 (2001-11-21)
MacKenzie makes contact with her natural mother and both women become embroiled in an Undercover operation to nail a mastermind armed robber.
1985"Too Many Crooks"27 November 2001 (2001-11-27)
The Unit works with an undercover operative from Queensland to defeat a gang of amphetamine dealers responsible for a kidnapping.
2086"Just Another Day"27 November 2001 (2001-11-27)
Stone is caught in a siege situation at a hospital when an armed robbery goes horribly wrong.
2187"Reunion"28 November 2001 (2001-11-28)
Church's worlds collide when he has to attend his twenty year high-school reunion as part of a drug sting.
2288"Do the Right Thing"28 November 2001 (2001-11-28)
As Church, Danni, Stone and Angie focus on a drug sting, MacKenzie is distracted by an invitation to apply for Head of Homicide - which would mean leaving the Undercover Unit.

Season five (2002)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
189"Thin Ice"5 February 2002 (2002-02-05)
MacKenzie becomes the victim of a grifter on the eve of her interview for Head of Homicide, while Church's career is threatened when a journalist attempts to expose him.
290"An Anonymous Guy"12 February 2002 (2002-02-12)
Angie has to develop a romantic relationship with a murder suspect and then coerce him into becoming an informant.
391"Cash on Delivery"19 February 2002 (2002-02-19)
Danni's determination to go it alone with her pregnancy clouds her professional judgement when she stumbles across an illegal adoption racket.
492"What's Love Got to Do with It?"27 February 2002 (2002-02-27)
MacKenzie discovers the grifter who drugged her is linked to a senior colleague - someone who had good reason to want her out of the running for Head of Homicide.
593"A Little Crush"5 March 2002 (2002-03-05)
Stone cultivates a live-wire young prostitute named Brittany to get information on a dangerous drug criminal.
694"No Promises"12 March 2002 (2002-03-12)
When Church is sent under cover to share a cell with a convicted murder, Danni must face the toughest decision of her life alone.
795"Mule Train"19 March 2002 (2002-03-19)
Angie is forced to bend the rules as she attempts to prevent her sister Sam from being arrested on drug importation charges.
896"White Ants"26 March 2002 (2002-03-26)
Danni has to protect former undercover cop Gary Edgerton and help prepare him for court case where he is the reluctant key witness.
997"In the Gun"2 April 2002 (2002-04-02)
Stone investigates a woman who may be organising a hit on her husband, while MacKenzie is dealing with hit men of a different kind.
1098"In Plain View"9 April 2002 (2002-04-09)
Angie and the rest of the Undercover Unit rally around MacKenzie, risking their jobs in order to prove her innocence.
1199"Fatal Flaw"16 April 2002 (2002-04-16)
With Harry Love in a position to make his final move against MacKenzie, she and the other Undercover have to take desperate action.
12100"Trust"23 April 2002 (2002-04-23)
Angie goes undercover to bust an armed robbery ring but her romance with informant Marty Engle places them both in dangerous territory.
13101"Big Fish"30 April 2002 (2002-04-30)
Stone and Church go undercover to investigate a pair of teenage drug manufacturers, with unexpectedly tragic consequences.
14102"Demilitarized Zone"7 May 2002 (2002-05-07)
Sonte is abducted when Undercover fails to bust an international arms dealing ring that is run by lethal ex SAS officers.
15103"Blow Off"14 May 2002 (2002-05-14)
When a failed frug bust leaves Undercover with a dead dealer and a high class protitute holding a couple of bags of cocaine, the Unit undertakes an operation inside a busy brothel.
16104"Inside Man"21 May 2002 (2002-05-21)
When an undercover operation causes the death of a young woman, Church and Angie are faced with the dilemma of saving one dangerous criminal from another.
17105"Mind Games"28 May 2002 (2002-05-28)
The Unit's attempt to trap a serial killer leaves MacKenzie fighting for her and her best friend's life.
18106"Disgraceful Conduct"4 June 2002 (2002-06-04)
Stone is set to expose a high powered businessman trading cars for heroin when he discovers a young prostitute he has cared for his in anger as a result of his actions.
19107"Smoke and Mirrors"2 July 2002 (2002-07-02)
Church becomes convinced he is being stalked by a man who holds him responsible for the murder of his girlfriend.
20108"Too Much Information"9 July 2002 (2002-07-09)
When the Unit try to nab a standover man for murder, Angie's relationship with an informant causes a confrontation within the ranks.
21109"Pale Horse"16 July 2002 (2002-07-16)
The unit seems on shaky ground when Homicide attempt to charge Church with murder, but are devastated when Stone goes beyond the call of duty to save Church.
22110"A Girl's Best Friend"23 July 2002 (2002-07-23)
MacKenzie is faced with a choice between her personal happiness and her successful career when she becomes involved with a charismatic art thief.

Season six (2002)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
1111"Collateral Damage"13 August 2002 (2002-08-13)
Oscar Stone's Killer is brought to trial in a situation of high security. The accused is represented by a high profile criminal barrister, Ingrid Burton.
2112"The Last Dance"20 August 2002 (2002-08-20)
When Church goes undercover as an armed robber, he is busted by a young cop. Harris is so impressed that he arranges for her to join Undercover for a trial period.
3113"Teamwork"3 September 2002 (2002-09-03)
Church's undercover assignment results in the kidnapping of a drug dealer's son. Meanwhile, Chris finds herself on what appears to be a routine surveillance job at a video store.
4114"Looking After Number One"10 September 2002 (2002-09-10)
An undercover attempt to sting a drug distributor results in tragedy, with accusations made against an undercover opperative.
5115"Old Scores"24 September 2002 (2002-09-24)
Harris sends Chris undercover to infiltrate a violent gang of brothers despite Church's reservations about her inexperience.
6116"Separation Anxiety"1 October 2002 (2002-10-01)
A middle-aged woman, Helen, brings a cardboard box into police headquarters claiming it contains a bomb.
7117"Slow Hand, Easy Touch"8 October 2002 (2002-10-08)
Church's hapless pursuit of the coke happy Vidarl crew takes a turn for the worst when most of them turn up dead - victims of a bloody armed robbery.
8118"Scratch Me Lucky"15 October 2002 (2002-10-15)
Church goes undercover on a building site to investigate union corruption and the disappearance of activist Craig Shore.
9119"Payback"22 October 2002 (2002-10-22)
Church goes undercover on the construction site where Ingrid Burton's client, Steer, was murdered. Church is convinced that Harris is corrupt and goes to extreme lengths to prove it.
10120"The Whole Truth"29 October 2002 (2002-10-29)
Church and Angie continue piecing together links between Conrad, suspected drug kingpin Sting Endquist and known union basher Rick Tyson. Harris suspects Church of corruption.
11121"Breakdown"5 November 2002 (2002-11-05)
Harris is clearly losing it and is convinced that his officers are out to get him. In his paranoid state, he decides it's time to do something about Church...kill him.
12122"Partners in Crime"12 November 2002 (2002-11-12)
The cat is well and truly set among the pigeons when Church and Harris are forced to work together determined to catch two small-time dealers.
13123"Revenge of the Turtles"19 November 2002 (2002-11-19)
Church and Harris find themselves under extreme pressure to sealer their names after the Police Integrity Unit are tipped off about the duo's possible involvement in a drug trade.
14124"Uriel's Sword"26 November 2002 (2002-11-26)
When drug boss Sting Endquist survives an attempt on his life, Church convinces him that the assailant was Stone's killer, Conrad.

Season seven (2003–04)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
1125"Lies and Secrets"25 March 2003 (2003-03-25)
...
2126"Pentimento"1 April 2003 (2003-04-01)
...
3127"Cul-De-Sac"8 April 2003 (2003-04-08)
...
4128"Your Cheating Heart"15 April 2003 (2003-04-15)
...
5129"Don't Look Back"22 April 2003 (2003-04-22)
...
6130"Snakes in the Grass"29 April 2003 (2003-04-29)
...
7131"Aftershocks"6 May 2003 (2003-05-06)
...
8132"Priapus' Playground"13 May 2003 (2003-05-13)
...
9133"The Eighth Day"20 May 2003 (2003-05-20)
...
10134"Sex & Drugs & Deep House"27 May 2003 (2003-05-27)
...
11135"New Blood"3 June 2003 (2003-06-03)
...
12136"Cold War"10 June 2003 (2003-06-10)
...
13137"Acts of Love"17 June 2003 (2003-06-17)
...
14138"Heartbeat"24 June 2003 (2003-06-24)
...
15139"Sons & Lovers"1 July 2003 (2003-07-01)
...
16140"It Started with a Kiss"8 July 2003 (2003-07-08)
...
17141"Wild Card"15 July 2003 (2003-07-15)
...
18142"Practice of Deceit"22 July 2003 (2003-07-22)
...
19143"Killing Heidi"29 July 2003 (2003-07-29)
...
20144"Sleeping with the Enemy"5 August 2003 (2003-08-05)
...
21145"A Horse Is a Horse"12 August 2003 (2003-08-12)
...
22146"Conversations with the Dead"19 August 2003 (2003-08-19)
...
23147"Free Radical"26 August 2003 (2003-08-26)
...
24148"Daddy's Little Diamond"2 September 2003 (2003-09-02)
...
25149"Time Out"9 September 2003 (2003-09-09)
...
26150"Perfect Match"16 September 2003 (2003-09-16)
...
27151"Boosted"23 September 2003 (2003-09-23)
...
28152"One Perfect Day"30 September 2003 (2003-09-30)
...
29153"Troppo Fest"7 October 2003 (2003-10-07)
...
30154"Train Wreck"14 October 2003 (2003-10-14)
...
31155"The Thin Blue Line"21 October 2003 (2003-10-21)
...
32156"Love's Labours Lost"28 October 2003 (2003-10-28)
The undercover squad are working on a drug sting in the rave scene when they discover that the drug dealer's 12-year-old daughter is the girlfriend of Detective Bryan Gray's teenage son Frank. When Bryan finds out, his response is typically insensitive and it jeopardizes the operation. But it leads to a watershed in Bryan's strained relationship with his son and forces Luke Harris to re-appraise Bryan Gray. Meanwhile Luke is pressuring Angie to give their very brief marriage one more go. He wines and dines his estranged wife, but it seems she can't be won over.
33157"Fashion Victim"28 October 2003 (2003-10-28)
...
34158"Total Recall"9 March 2004 (2004-03-09)
...
35159"The Wrong Man"16 March 2004 (2004-03-16)
...
36160"The Weakest Link"23 March 2004 (2004-03-23)
...
37161"Twilight"30 March 2004 (2004-03-30)
...
38162"The Object of My Affection"6 April 2004 (2004-04-06)
...
39163"From Russia with Love"13 April 2004 (2004-04-13)
...
40164"Cops and Robbers"20 April 2004 (2004-04-20)
...

Season eight (2004)[edit]

Number
in series
Number
in season
Title Original air date
1165"Hammer Horror"27 April 2004 (2004-04-27)
...
2166"A Square Inside the Circle"25 May 2004 (2004-05-25)
...
3167"Family Ties"1 June 2004 (2004-06-01)
...
4168"The River of No Return"8 June 2004 (2004-06-08)
...
5169"Brave New World"15 June 2004 (2004-06-15)
...
6170"No Man's Land"22 June 2004 (2004-06-22)
...
7171"One More Chance"29 June 2004 (2004-06-29)
...
8172"Break and Enter"6 July 2004 (2004-07-06)
...
9173"House of Mirrors"13 July 2004 (2004-07-13)
...
10174"Roman Charity"20 July 2004 (2004-07-20)
...
11175"Starlight Hotel"27 July 2004 (2004-07-27)
...
12176"The Complete Package"3 August 2004 (2004-08-03)
...
13177"The Contract"10 August 2004 (2004-08-10)
...
14178"Vanished"17 August 2004 (2004-08-17)
...
15179"Mea Culpa"23 August 2004 (2004-08-23)
...
16180"Past Lives"30 August 2004 (2004-08-30)
...
17181"I Am the Walrus"7 September 2004 (2004-09-07)
...
18182"Dream Machine"14 September 2004 (2004-09-14)
...
19183"The Good Oil"21 September 2004 (2004-09-21)
...
20184"Dirty Little Secrets"28 September 2004 (2004-09-28)
...
21185"Being Josh Brisbane"3 October 2004 (2004-10-03)
...
22186"End Game"19 October 2004 (2004-10-19)
...
23187"Random Harvest"26 October 2004 (2004-10-26)
...
24188"Hunting Ground"2 November 2004 (2004-11-02)
...
25189"Year of the Snake"9 November 2004 (2004-11-09)
...
26190"Head On"30 November 2004 (2004-11-30)
...
27191"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"7 December 2004 (2004-12-07)
...
28192"After the Fact"14 December 2004 (2004-12-14)
...

Series ratings[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired Viewers (in millions) Rating Drama Rank
Season premiere Season finale
1 22 29 September 1998 1 June 1999 N/A 11.2[2] #5[2]
2 22 8 June 1999 16 November 1999 N/A 8.4[2] #6[2]
3 22 12 June 2000 21 November 2000 N/A 8.3[2] #7[2]
4 22 14 August 2001 28 November 2001 N/A[2]
5 22 5 February 2002 23 July 2002 1.003[2] 7.6[2] #9[2]
6 14 13 August 2002 26 November 2002
7 40 25 March 2003 20 April 2004 1.024[2] 7.6[2] #8[2]
8 28 27 April 2004 14 December 2004 0.646[3] 4.7[3] #6[3]

DVD releases[edit]

2006-2009: Beyond Home Entertainment released Seasons 1-8 as individual Season DVDs.

2013: Beyond Home Entertainment released Stingers: The Complete Collection Boxset.

2016: Beyond Home Entertainment released Stingers: Season 1 & 2 Collectors set

Stingers VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray Information[edit]

Title Format Ep # Discs Region 4 (Australia) DVD Special Features DVD Distributor
Season One DVD 22 6 September 4, 2006 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Season Two DVD 22 6 March 14, 2007 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Season Three DVD 22 6 June 4, 2007 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Season Four DVD 22 6 December 7, 2007 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Season Five DVD 22 6 June 11, 2008 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Season Six DVD 14 4 January 6, 2009 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Season Seven DVD 40 10 June 10, 2009 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Season Eight DVD 28 7 August 4, 2009 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Stingers The Complete Series DVD 192 51 May 1, 2013 None Beyond Home Entertainment
Stingers Season 1 & 2 Collectors set DVD 44 13 April 20, 2016 None Beyond Home Entertainment

Available At (National Film and Sound Archives)[edit]

Season Title Episodes NFSA Content Available For Viewing
Season One 22/22 Documents

Publicity Flyer

Publicity Kit x 02

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)
Season Two 22/22 Documents

Publicity Kit x 02

Home Media Format

Season 02 DVD Set

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)
Season Three 22/22 Documents

Publicity Kit

Scripts

Episode 01 (Post-Production Script)

Episode 02 (Post-Production Script)

Episode 03 (Post-Production Script)

Episode 04 (Post-Production Script)

Episode 05 (Post-Production Script)

Episode 06 (Post-Production Script)

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)
Season Four 22/22 Documents

Publicity Kit

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)
Season Five 22/22 Documents

Publicity Kit

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)
Season Six 14/14 Documents

Episode 01 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 02 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 03 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 04 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 05 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 06 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 07 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 08 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 09 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 10 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 11 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 12 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 13 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 14 (Short and Long Synopses)

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)
Season Seven 40/40 Documents

Episode 01 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 02 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 03 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 04 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 05 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 06 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 07 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 08 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 09 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 10 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 11 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 12 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 13 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 14 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 15 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 16 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 17 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 18 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 19 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 20 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 21 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 22 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 23 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 24 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 25 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 26 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 27 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 28 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 29 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 30 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 31 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 32 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 33 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 34 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 35 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 36 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 37 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 38 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 39 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 40 (Short and Long Synopses)

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)
Season Eight 28/28 Documents

Episode 01 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 02 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 03 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 04 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 05 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 06 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 07 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 08 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 09 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 10 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 11 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 12 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 13 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 14 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 15 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 16 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 17 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 18 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 19 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 20 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 21 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 22 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 23 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 24 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 25 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 26 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 27 (Short and Long Synopses)

Episode 28 (Short and Long Synopses)

Only Selected Episodes are available (Format: Tape)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards[edit]

Australian Film Institute Television Awards:

Logie Awards:

Nominations[edit]

Australian Film Institute Television Awards:

  • Best Actress in a Supporting or Guest Role in a Television Drama or Comedy – Jacinta Stapleton (2004)[5]
  • Best Direction in Television – Grant Brown (2004)[5]
  • Best Screenplay in Television – Matt Ford (2004)[5]
  • Best Television Drama Series (2003)[6]
  • Best Actor in a Guest Role in a Television Drama Series – Travis McMahon for the episode "Rich Man's World" (2001)[7]
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role in a Television Drama Series – Rhondda Findleton for the episode "Fool To Want You" (2001)[7]
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role in a Television Drama Series – Aaron Blabey for the episode "Second Chance" (2000)[8]
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role in a Television Drama Series – Daniel Daperis for the episode "Forced Perspective" (2000)[8]
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Television Drama Series – Anita Hegh (2000)[8]

Logie Awards:

  • Most Outstanding Drama Series (2005)
  • Most Popular New Female Talent – Katrina Milosevic (2004)
  • Most Popular New Male Talent – Daniel Frederiksen (2004)
  • Most Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – Gary Sweet (2004)
  • Most Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – Kate Kendall (2004)
  • Most Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – Gary Sweet (2003)
  • Most Outstanding Drama Series (2001)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howie, Tamara (21 November 2016). "Australian actor Russell Kiefel died while in Darwin for his role in And I'm the Queen of Sheba". NT News. News.com.au. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/archmrrateseriesall.aspx
  3. ^ a b c http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/research/statistics/archmrrateseries.aspx
  4. ^ a b "Television categories 1986–2009". AFI Award Winners. Australian Film Institute. 2009. Archived from the original on 20 September 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  5. ^ a b c T Zuk (1998–2010). "2004 Australian Film Institute Awards". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  6. ^ T Zuk (1998–2010). "2003 Australian Film Institute Awards". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b T Zuk (1998–2010). "2001 Australian Film Institute Awards". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 5 December 2010.
  8. ^ a b c T Zuk (1998–2010). "2000 Australian Film Institute Awards". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 5 December 2010.

External links[edit]