Blue Heelers: articles


Heelers’ kangaroo court

IT must be tough living at Mt Thomas. Just when you’re cruising down a country road, thinking it’s just another regular day of patrols and paperwork, bang! A group of kangaroos turns up, shot dead by a sicko wielding an AK47.

“It looks like a battlefield,” Constable Evan Jones says.

And so begins another tough case for those tireless cops in Blue Heelers, for whom the drama just never seems to stop.

But there’s plenty of life in this week’s case for Jonesy, who’s like an over-eager terrier just waiting to sink his teeth into the leg of any suspect.

Watching the intense and highly strung constable is such a draining experience as he flits around pointing his finger and sprouting off about “the way things should be done”, you almost want to slap him and pour a bucket of cold water over his head.

When he discovers the bodies of the kangaroos his police-school education doesn’t fail him, however, and he locates a shell of a bullet, the kind that were used by the Viet Cong.

Exactly what such high-powered weaponry is doing in country Mt Thomas is anyone’s guess, but the Heelers soon sniff out a scent.

Back at the station, Jonesy is confident he’s got his suspect—Mr O’Grady, the property owner who’s a passionate advocate of kangaroo culling and… a Vietnam veteran.

His arch nemesis is schoolteacher Jim Morgan, a greenie who wants to save the furry creatures from those murderers and is… a Vietnam veteran.

But that wily old Snr-Sgt Tom Croydon isn’t so sure his war buddy is to blame.

For Jonesy, justice is moving too slowly and he’s practically frothing at the mouth with the prospect of a killer on the loose. “We’ve got some crazy person out there shooting kangaroos with those bullets; do we want that to start happening to people?” he implores.

While, unfortunately, no one is there to slap the good constable, guru Detective PJ mysteriously appears like a voice of reason to calm the young pup down.

But when O’Grady offers up his property to be searched, the Heelers use some supreme logic to rule he can’t be the criminal—he’s too honest.

Not surprisingly, that decision comes back to bite them.

In comes Lone Ranger Croydon, who never seems to muster a smile (can you blame him when his alter ego, John Wood, has been nominated for the Gold Logie since the year dot and has missed out each year).

Off he goes to confront O’Grady who succumbs and leads the good officers to a hidden cache of ex-Vietnam war weapons, stored by the town’s “crazy old men” as souvenirs from war.

Shock, horror—an AK47 is missing and so is an M16.

Some wise words from guru PJ, and the Heelers realise they’re barking up the wrong tree and head off to search for Morgan’s son who’s gone bush.

The tension is palpable and Croydon feels like he is back in Vietnam, but while he’s as cool as a cucumber, quick-draw Jonesy can’t handle this delicate approach and rushes to disarm the young deranged boy, only to become a hostage himself.

Will Jonesy get more than a bucket of cold water over his head or will the learned senior-sergeant be able to save him in time?

By Emma Chalmers
May 13, 2004
The Courier Mail