Answered By Fire: episode guide

Part One | Part Two

Answered By Fire, Part One

Australia: Sunday, May 28, 2006 (ABC)
Canada: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 (CBC)

David Wenham makes his much anticipated return to ABC TV in this dramatic story based on true events. In 1999, a group of Australian police joined other volunteers on the United Nations mission to East Timor. Their job was to oversee the country's vote on independence from Indonesia. The UN promised the East Timorese they would stay after the vote, regardless of what happened... It was a promise they couldn't keep.

Mark Waldman (David Wenham) is an Australian policeman who volunteers for the United Nations mission in East Timor. Put in charge of the Civilian Police at the UN base in Nunura, he meets Julie Fortin (Isabelle Blais), a Canadian policewoman on her first overseas mission, and Ismenio Soares (Alex Tilman), the young Timorese translator assigned to work with the unit.

Mark and Julie are unarmed and emotionally unprepared for the brutal reality of Timor, while Ismenio is cynical about whether the UN can prevent what seems an inevitable, bloody end to the process. Against growing intimidation and violence from the Indonesians and East Timorese militia, they work to get the Timorese registered to vote.

Ismenio's fears are realised when the vote goes pro-independence, the country is set alight and the UN evacuates. Mark and Julie are forced to abandon Ismenio and his family to a nightmarish fate at the hands of the Indonesian military and its murderous militias.

Once back home, Mark and Julie are each haunted by guilt, and driven to make amends to the people they tried - and failed - to protect. Both return to the smoking ruins of East Timor, bent on seeking some kind of justice for the Timorese. What they find instead is their own salvation.