Blue Heelers: episode guide

Mad Dogs & Englishmen

Episode 4.01 (129)
Monday, February 10, 1997
Written by Ysabelle Dean
Directed by Richard Sarell

Panic sweeps Mt. Thomas when an outbreak of a rare animal disease begins to kill humans. When Maggie suddenly collapses, PJ is desperate not to let the disease, which has already claimed two lives, take his beloved Maggie.

Nick's reign as Acting Sergeant is rapidly turning into a nightmare as he deals with Keith Purvis and a mob of panic-stricken farmers. Having decided the spate of deaths had been caused by rabies, they slate the responsibility home to a couple of English migrants, their young daughter, and her dog.

Starring: Tasma Walton, Damian Walshe-Howling, Lisa McCune, William McInnes, Martin Sacks, Julie Nihill, John Wood

Guest Starring: Felicity Steel as Elspeth Armstrong, Richard Aspel as Phillip Armstrong, Jacinta Oliver-Cook as Annabelle Armstrong, Reg Evans as Keith Purvis, Karen Davitt as Dr Zoe Hamilton, Rachel Blakely as Gina Belfanti, Russell Kiefel as Mal Truesdale, Maud Clark as Joan Truesdale, Colin Duckworth as Tibor Kerenyi, Axl Taylor as Barman Len

Note: there is a style change for the opening credits

Under Siege

Episode 4.02 (130)
Monday, February 10, 1997
Written by Susan Hore
Directed by Chris Langman

Nick fulfils a promise to young Annabelle Armstrong and takes her dog into protective custody. However, the farmers follow them into town and Nick soon finds the station cut off from the outside world with a highly agitated farmer, the girl, her mother and their dog.

Tom had hoped to quietly recover from his heart attack, but now finds himself standing in the heat trying to negotiate with an angry mob who have the police station under siege. Inside the station, tempers start to fray as Nick clashes with Adam and Dash. Frustrated by Nick's paralysis, the two young constables start negotiating with the farmer behind Nick's back.

The words "Japanese Encephalitis" strike fear into the heart of PJ. It's fatal, there's no cure, and it seems to be the cause of Maggie's illness. But PJ won't give up. Now the task is to prove the doctors wrong, to find a viable alternative and breath new life into his beloved Maggie.

Guest Starring: Russell Kiefel as Mal Truesdale, Felicity Steel as Elspeth Armstrong, Richard Aspel as Phillip Armstrong, Jacinta Oliver-Cook as Annabelle Armstrong, Karen Davitt as Dr Zoe Hamilton, Reg Evans as Keith Purvis, Peta Doodson as Monica Draper, Rachel Blakely as Gina Belfanti, Camilla Ah Kin as Dr Lou Rigo, Andrew Russell as Tony Timms, Bruce Ross as Harry

Working Lunch

Episode 4.03 (131)
Tuesday, February 11, 1997
Written by Bill Garner
Directed by Kevin Carlin

Dash discovers that her penchant for gossip may very well get her, and other people, into hot water when she and Adam overhear the Shire President, Roger Payne, having lunch with a woman who is definitely not his wife.

While out on a surveillance operation to catch an extortionist who's been threatening to blow up a restaurant, the pair, bored with three days of sitting in the car with nothing to do except listen, finally hear something interesting. Unfortunately, while Adam and Dash are preoccupied, the real extortionists manage to get away, much to PJ's chagrin. PJ appeals to Tom to hold the investigation over longer, but the matter is out of Tom's hands — the surveillance equipment and manpower belong to another unit and he can't retain them without very good reason. PJ's worried — he's given his word to Bluey, the frightened restaurateur, that he'd solve the case, and now he may not be able to keep it.

Dash is still obsessed with finding out who the mystery woman is, but is thwarted at every turn. When Roger Payne is brought in to see if he can assist with the identities of the extortionists, he admits he's been seeing another woman — his Human Resources manager, Katrina Hagen. Then a bullet hole is found in one of Katrina's windows and Dash is suspicious. She believes that somehow, Roger is involved, having formed a bad opinion of him from previous experience. It's up to Dash to prove that Roger is somehow connected to the shot fired through Katrina's window — but how will she do it? And will PJ manage to save Bluey's restaurant before the real extortionists come back?

Guest Starring: Natasha Herbert as Katrina Hagen, David Bradshaw as Roger Payne, Neil Foley as Bluey Johnston, Nik Barker as Austin, Jason Davis as Miles, Bill Garner as Gelly Jarvis, Simon Meates as Ray Scanlon, Axl Taylor as Len the Barman, Davin Taylor as Adam Driver Double, Russell Allal as PJ Driver Double

Note: this episode's writer, Bill Garner, also appears as safe-cracker Gelly Jarvis

Immaculate Misconception

Episode 4.04 (132)
February 18, 1997
Written by John Wood
Directed by Grant Brown

Maggie and Nick pull up Charlie Clarke for talking on his mobile phone and are surprised to discover the caller on the other end is no other than the boss. It turns out that Charlie was on his way to do a job at Clancy's halfway house when there's a crisis. Clancy's attractive housemate Leonie, isn't feeling well and Aunty Chris takes her to the doctor, only to discover that she's pregnant! Clancy happily admits to having forced Leonie to have sex. Tom doesn't believe it for a moment but finds he has to contend with Leonie's emotional father — Chris Riley's cousin, Dominic — as he tries to prove Clancy's innocence. Tom's situation with Leonie's father is further complicated when it turns out she and Clancy are in love and the two lovers attempt to elope.

Meanwhile, the Heelers are up to their top lip in excrement courtesy of an overflowing toilet in the cells. A reluctant Tom finds he needs assistance from Charlie Clarke who gives the Heelers a hard time over a toilet pedestal which has gone missing from the back of his truck. This is just one of a series of local thefts puzzling PJ and Nick. Adam, meanwhile, declares his feelings for Dash, but doesn't get the response he was hoping for.

Guest Starring: Michael Isaacs as Clancy, Rainey Mayo as Leonie Riley, Don Bridges as Charlie Clarke, Robin Dene as Dominic Riley, Karen Davitt as Dr Zoe Hamilton, Mick Ward as Freddy, Anthony Wallace as Billy, Mark Deans as Mark, Andy McPhee as Tim 'Tiny' Duggan, Brenda Monaghan as Rae Longford, Matthew Posetti as Andy Turner, Matt Robertson as J Peabody, Axl Taylor as Len the Barman

Reports Of Damage & Loss

Episode 4.05 (133)
February 25, 1997
Written by John Banas
Directed by Richard Sarell

It's raining cats and dogs in Mt Thomas and Nick and Adam are overdue back from patrol. When they arrive they are drenched through and their uniforms are in tatters. The other Heelers have no idea of the extent of their trauma until Tom asks them to explain themselves and Adam bursts into tears. While Dash attempts to draw the story out of Adam, Nick disappears to change his uniform. However, shock has taken over and he withdraws into himself, making it difficult to find out the true story. Adam explains that it all began when they attempted to rescue a young girl from a flooded stormwater drain...

While Nick held onto the girl and attempted to stop her from being dragged away, he sent Adam for help. However Adam soon found himself in the middle of a crisis of his own involving the girl's sister and wasn't able to get back in time. Piecing the story together, the Heelers discover that exhaustion wore Nick down and he eventually let go of the girl.

Now back in the station, guilt and anger leave Nick looking for a place to vent his frustration, and since he only knows one side of the story, Adam presents a good target. Eventually the news comes in that one of the sisters lived and the other died. Paradoxically, Nick and Adam start the healing process by going to inform the parents of their child's death. It's a lousy job but they can take solace in knowing that they did their best and were able to save one life.

Guest Starring: Martin Egan as Mr Freer, Amy Walsh as Margaret Walford, Collette Hardcastle as Jenny Walford

Note: John Banas' script for this unique episode won a 1997 AWGIE (Australian Writers' Guild) Award

Fowl Play

Episode 4.06 (134)
March 04, 1997
Written by Peter Dick
Directed by Chris Langman

Nick is astonished to discover that the shooter of a young protester at the opening of the duck season is none other than his sometime admirer, Dr Zoe Hamilton. She, of course, claims it was an accident, explaining that the chief protester grabbed her gun just as she was aiming at a duck. Adam gets an admirer of his own when he assists the pretty eighteen-year-old daughter of one of the duck shooters after she is injured in the melee. This is Stacey Norse, whose father Ken accuses the chief protester, Matthew Prentice, of stealing one of his ducks.

Troubles escalate when Ken Norse falls seriously ill while eating his specially prepared duck lunch at the Imperial Hotel. When Zoe suspects poisoning, the Heelers wonder if it might have been Matthew Prentice, but when blood tests show that Norse is actually suffering from a severe case of lead poisoning, they must rethink the case. Because this condition would have taken some thirteen years to accumulate, his own children, Stacey and her sixteen-year-old brother Scott, become the main suspects.

When PJ finally interviews them, a picture of a tragic and dysfunctional family emerges. Both children admit to hating their father, but deny trying to kill him. However, Scott's strange behaviour causes the Heelers to suspect him. When Maggie and PJ go to the farm again to question him, the boy levels a shotgun at them before driving off in his father's ute. Now the Heelers are involved in a manhunt — which Zoe can't help pointing out to Nick, gives them the same hunter's thrill that she gets from duck shooting. As Nick and Zoe co-ordinate Maggie and PJ's hunt for Scott, Adam, using a clue from Stacey, is able to work out how Ken Norse was poisoned.

Guest Starring: Kate Atkinson as Stacey Norse, Michael Caton as Ken Norse, Anne Phelan as Jeannie O'Dwyer, Karen Davitt as Dr Zoe Hamilton, Nathan Bocskay as Scott Norse, Jim Howes as Matthew Prentice, Georgia Power as Protestor 1, Scott Brennan as Protestor 2, Fiona Harris as Sally Simmons, Ewan Sprague as Shooter, Axl Taylor as Len

The Luck Of The Irish

Episode 4.07 (135)
March 11, 1997
Written by Cassandra Carter
Directed by Kevin Carlin

There are mixed reactions among the Heelers to Chris' sudden wedding announcement. Tom feels that she's rushing into things, a sentiment echoed by Chris' cousin, Dominic, who doesn't approve of Sean, sure that he's just trying to cash in on the Imperial's lucrative business. As Tom does a little digging into Sean's past, he discovers there's no record of him, or his teenage son, Conor, entering Australia. Sean explains away the anomaly with a smile, but Tom isn't convinced.

When Chris starts talking to Maggie about her plans for a huge wedding, Sean seems to be less than enthusiastic, and they argue about their plans. Sean storms out of the pub, but moments later, comes back and apologises — they'll talk about the wedding later. The next day, Sean hasn't returned and Chris is worried. He doesn't know anyone else in the district — where would he have gone? The Heelers try to placate her, but the mystery surrounding Sean deepens.

Chris' fears for his safety are justified when the Heelers discover a body in the cemetery bearing shotgun wounds — it's Sean. An investigation ensues, and Chris discovers the man she was in love with was a stranger to her in many ways. His past is a secret he was trying to escape from, but as the Heelers discover, there are many things that will follow you to the grave.

Meanwhile, Nick and Adam look into a series of complaints of harassment against a Turkish schoolgirl but their job is complicated by her refusal to identify the persons responsible.

Guest Starring: David Pledger as Sean O'Malley, Peter O'Hare as Conor O'Malley, Robin Dene as Dominie Riley, Kevin Hopkins as Detective Lazar, Natasha Pincus as Deniz Demir, Anastasia Malinoff as Emine Demir, Gary Baade as Osman Demir, Julian Branagon as "Mad Dog" Murphy, Sam Loy as Bozo, Jamie Caldwell as Noddy, Terry Brittingham as Ed, David Rackhan as Harper, James Rigby as Fiddler, Bernadette O'Neil as Dancer, Joanne Arnold as Dancer

Note: 1998 Victoria/Tasmania Award winner: Victoria: Highly Commended: Steven Scoble

Bloodstained Angels

Episode 4.08 (136)
March 18, 1997
Written by David Phillips
Directed by Grant Brown

Responding to a complaint from a concerned parent about his underage son being in a local pub, Maggie and Dash are on hand when a young woman emerges, screaming and covered in blood. The girl is uninjured, the blood is fake, and the fan is actually flattered to have been chosen to be the band's "Bloodstained Angel", so the band get off with a warning but Tom is worried by their presence. His fears appear to be confirmed when he discovers one of the station's vehicles defaced with graffiti resonant of the band, MCD (Mad Cow Disease). But that is only the beginning of the Heelers problems with the band. A vandalised angel in the cemetery relates to the band's signature song "Bloodstained Angel" and then a blazing car in front of the Commercial Hotel conjures up another line of lyrics from the same song.

Meanwhile, a father seeks the help of the police in rescuing his son from the spell of the "demonic band". Tom is sympathetic, but there is only so much the local police sergeant can do, despite the gallery of death and destruction on the boy's bedroom walls. By now the peace of Mt Thomas appears to be shattering and the Heelers must determine whether they are looking at a publicity stunt, an avenging father or an adoring fan. As they look more closely at the lyrics, they realise that they have to act quickly because a direct attack on the police is next on the agenda.

Adam's relationship with Stacey Norse take a turn when Adam's bank account is cleaned out.

Guest Starring: Kate Atkinson as Stacey Norse, Broderick Smith as Jay Rigby, Samuel Johnson as Glen Rigby, Gary Rens as 'Lucy' Diamond, Jena Lowndes as Jez Cameron, Julie Campbell as Carla Bacci, Leon Teague as Paul Twomey, Craig Gillespie as Keenan Sykes, Kimberley Taylor as Michelle, Axl Taylor as Barman Len, Ema-Louise Napolitano as Vocalist

Charity Begins At Home

Episode 4.09 (137)
April 08, 1997
Written by Annie Beach
Directed by Richard Sarell

Nick and Adam are surprised when their call to a domestic dispute turns out to be at a Salvation Army women's meeting. They discover a young mother, Joanne Mason, has accused her husband Andrew of deliberately pushing her out of their car. He claims it was an accident but Joanne announces she's going to leave him anyway.

Captain Ingrid Perry, the Salvation Army officer, finds the wife accommodation at a women's shelter, but the Heelers are called out again when the husband finds out where she is and turns up to talk to her. In fact it turns out that Joanne had rung him herself and invited him round, then changed her mind. She is obviously very confused about the big life decision she has just made.

Meanwhile, Dash is moving into Maggie's flat. Despite the fact that they are running late for work, Dash talks Maggie into taking a detour so she can dump a bag full of unwanted clothes into the St. Steven's charity bin. Unbeknown to either of them, she accidentally throws out Maggie's favourite jumper. When she realises her mistake, Dash asks St. Steve's new priest, Father Brian Hergarty, for permission to look for the jumper in the bin — and thus discovers that it has been broken into and the contents stolen. Nobody appears to be more surprised than Captain Ingrid Perry when the stolen good are discovered in her store room. She claims she got the clothes from her own Salvation Army bin. During PJ's investigation, she tells him she sold Maggie's jumper to a second hand dealer. PJ and Maggie then discover money and other items donated to St. Steven's are also in her possession.

Maggie and Dash find themselves in the thick of the Mason's marriage problems when Dash cheerfully invites Joanne to stay at their place after she realises she'll have to move from the refuge because Andrew now knows were it is. Andrew follows Dash home from the hotel one night, and pleads on the doorstep for another chance to salvage his marriage. The hidden Joanne is actually swayed by his protestations of love and remorse. Will she go back to him, in spite of the escalating violence? And who is really stealing from St. Steven's? Would Ingrid Perry really put her whole reputation on the line for the sake of a few extra bucks? Or is it the slightly shonky second hand dealer? In the end the attempted murder of Ingid while she is conducting an outdoors prayer meeting gives the Heelers the real culprit.

Guest Starring: Caroline Huf as Joanne Mason, Tom Healey as Andrew Mason, Michelle Offen as Cpt. Ingrid Perry, Calleb Cluff as Leon, Merfyn Owen as Fr Brian Hegarty, Audrey Pearce as Briony Mason, Axl Taylor as Marman Len, Chris Peters as Salvo Band Member, Theresa Blake as Salvo Band Member, Phil Reilley as Baker

Fool For Love

Episode 4.10 (138)
April 15, 1997
Written by Emma Honey
Directed by Richard Jasek

Adam and Dash are called to a disturbance to find a lonely farmer banging at the door of what turns out to be a dating agency. Investigations reveal the farmer has paid a fortune to the agency without ever having had a date, but his fear of exposure and humiliation make him reluctant to lay an official complaint. With much persuasion from PJ he finally agrees to make a statement, only to find the agency miraculously comes up with the woman of his dreams. Now back to square one, the Heelers decide the only way to gather evidence is to go undercover. Maggie can't quite keep the green-eyed monster in check when PJ goes to the agency posing as a lonely heart.

Adam is forced to reveal romantic plans of his own but is underwhelmed by the response of his colleagues. He asks Nick to be best man at the wedding, but Nick refuses and tells Adam he is about to make the biggest mistake of his life. Dash is forced to reassess her own feelings, but gets much more than she bargained for when she goes to see Adam.

Meanwhile, the fraudulent practices of the dating agency push the farmer over the edge and he decides to settle matters by taking a gun to the pub. The resulting crisis forces the Heelers to take decisive action which disrupts Adam and Stacey's special day.

Guest Starring: Ross Thompson as Gil Charles, Gina Gaigalas as Vanessa Mills, Jane Allsop as Angie Anderson, Kate Atkinson as Stacey Norse, Nathan Bocskay as Scott Norse, Gregory Keyes as Sherman

Note: guest star Jane Allsop will join the cast as Constable Jo Parrish in series 6. Jane previously auditioned for the role of Dash McKinley which ultimately went to Tasma Walton

There Last Night

Episode 4.11 (139)
April 22, 1997
Written by David Boutland
Directed by Raymond Quint

Dash and Adam respond to a report of vandalism at the train yards, and discover a couple of young offenders — one so fleet of foot that he's even faster than Dash. She thinks she knows the boy, Jed Russell, and discovers from his mother that Jed's been living with his father, Jim. Jim is at the pub when Adam and Dash find him, and seems unconcerned about his son's actions. When a more serious incident happens at the trainyard, PJ becomes involved, and Jed Russell is the prime suspect in the case. Jim is brought in because Jed is underage, and during the questioning takes loud umbrage at PJ's tactics. His shouting alerts Tom, who recognises a fellow Vietnam veteran in trouble, and decides to help in any way he can.

Jim has a lot of trouble caring for his son because of his own problems coming to terms with the war. He's been writing everything down, hoping it would help, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. Jed sees his father as a loser, someone who didn't even fight in the war — he was just a mechanic, and this makes things between them difficult. Tom tries valiantly to make Jim see that he has to try and help his son — not just think of himself.

PJ discovers that the trouble at the railyard is due to a territory war between two gangs — Jed Russell being the leader of one, and a Vietnamese boy, Vinnie Nguyen, the leader of their rivals. Tom sees this as a perpetuation of old hatreds, and decides to stop their war.

The boys had organised to race the train — a dangerous stunt to see who gets the railway as their territory. Tom takes Jim with him, but things go horribly wrong when Jed falls on the railway tracks. Jim rescues his son — sacrificing himself in the process. Jed, with Tom's help, begins to see his father as the hero he was, a man who fought in a war he didn't ask to be a part of, in a place he never should have been.

Guest Starring: Ian Scott as Jim Russell, Ben Doville as Jed Russell, Jenny Lovell as Gail Russell, Thanh-Vu Nguyen as Vinnie Nguyen, Katie Ditchburn as Eva Mendels, Wayne Comley as Stationmaster, Margaret Sztajer as Mrs Mendels, Matt Tingate as Todd, Jason Buckley as Walter, James Hawkins as Gangmember, Ashley Spiteri as Gangmember, Theodore Papazoglou as Gangmember, Martin Foster as Gangmember


Episode 4.12 (140)
April 29, 1997
Written by Ysabelle Dean
Directed by Chris Langman

Maggie and PJ are in serious trouble when an investigation into a suspicious goldmine goes wrong, and they find themselves trapped.

Two newcomers in town, Matt Kinsella and Jamie Burgess claim that the goldmine is theirs, but old Hec O'Farrell, who has been working the mine for as long as anyone can remember, insists that Matt and Jamie are the trespassers — and what's more, they've stolen his gold dust. Dash and Adam discover Hec's fellow prospector, Bert, bashed, and PJ is happy to assume that Hec beat up his mate and took his own gold, hoping to pin the crime on Matt and Jamie. Tom and Dash however, are not so sure — Hec's friendship with Bert is legendary and why would he risk it for such a small amount of gold? Bert is also denying that his mate had anything to do with his bashing.

PJ is still sure the case begins and ends with Hec, and takes Maggie out to talk to Matt and Jamie about the license to the mine. While they are there, Matt and Jamie suddenly discover a huge gold nugget, which Hec insists would never have come from his mine. Tom too is getting a little skeptical — how often do people find gold with police as witnesses? A bit of checking into Matt and Jamie's background shows that they both worked as security guards in Kalgoorlie, and both were on duty when a gold bullion robbery took place. Both are very cagey about their pasts, and PJ begins to think there's more to this situation than meets the eye.

After Hec and Bert explain how to manufacture a convincing a gold nugget, PJ is sure that Matt and Jamie fabricated their nugget from the missing gold bullion. He and Maggie go to the mine to do some more investigating. Down the mine, Matt tells them to wait while he gets a larger light. Left alone, they find some of the equipment needed for fabricating a gold nugget, but are then knocked off their feet by an enormous explosion which caves in the mine behind them.

When they realise they're trapped in the mine, PJ is confident that they'll be discovered, but Maggie's claustrophobia makes her panic, she reminds him that they came to the mine without letting anyone know where they were — neither of them are expected at work tomorrow, so the other Heelers won't know they're missing. In the forced intimacy imposed by the situation, Maggie and PJ at last have time to explore the nature of the relationship between them.

Guest Starring: Bob Hornery as Hec O'Farrell, John Flaus as Bert James, Marco Chiappi as Matt Kinsella, Simon Woodward as Jamie Burgess, Leverne McDonnell as Deanna Delbridge, Andrew Russell as Tony Timms, Christopher Lee as Richard Elliot

Fool's Gold

Episode 4.13 (141)
May 06, 1997
Written by Tony Morphett
Directed by Gary Conway

Maggie and PJ are still trapped together underground, unbeknownst to the other Heelers, who are busy trying to locate Matt Kinsella, now suspected of attempting to murder his mining partner, Jamie Burgess. They discover both the men are ex-security guards from WA, who were involved in a gold bullion heist more than seven years ago during which a colleague was killed. It's only when PJ's car is discovered abandoned and carefully wiped clean of fingerprints that Tom realises something is seriously wrong.

A search finally leads to the collapsed mine and mere chance and a Mintie wrapper leads to the discovery of Maggie and PJ's living tomb. The rescue is complicated when the removal of rubble causes the mine to collapse some more, but eventually PJ and Maggie are rescued — only to insist on tracking down Burgess and Kinsella who left them to die. But Burgess is in hospital with head wounds and Kinsella has disappeared.

The key seems to lie with Burgess's girlfriend, Deanna, who turns out to be the widow of the third security guard who died in the bullion heist. How is she connected, who tried to smother Burgess in his hospital bed, and where is the elusive Matt Kinsella? Having found the answers to all these questions, Maggie and PJ have a decision to make about their mutual future.

Guest Starring: Leverne McDonnell as Deanna Delbridge, Simon Woodward as Jamie Burgess, Marco Chiappi as Matt Kinsella, Bob Hornery as Hec O'Farrell, Helen Trenos as Celia Donald, Kevin Maxwell as Rescue Leader

Grave Matters

Episode 4.14 (142)
May 13, 1997
Written by David Allen
Directed by Kevin Carlin

When the Heelers are called in to investigate vandalised graves at the Mt. Thomas cemetery, Tom discovers that Nell's grave site is amongst the desecrated. The vandals have spray-painted an obscenity on the headstone and Tom's deep hurt, fuelled by rage, drives the Heelers to find the culprits.

Father Brian Hegarty points out that only the Catholic section of the cemetery was attacked, and that the Blue Lite basketball team was thrashed by St. Stephen's the same night. As the coach of the Blue Liters, Nick defends his players. But then evidence gives the Heelers cause to suspect Jed Russell, one of the teenagers on the team who is a Legacy charge of Tom's, causing Tom to rise to Jed's defence. Nick, Maggie and PJ have to work hard to persuade Tom to let down his protective guard and interrogate Jed.

The following night, Father Brian takes it upon himself to do some undercover work at the cemetery and has to call on the Heelers again. This time a double grave has been desecrated, that of Alice and George James, her "dearly beloved brother". One half of the grave has been dug out, and when the Heelers inspect the coffin, they discover that the skeleton of Alice James is missing a hand.

Chris Riley has childhood memories of Alice James, telling the Heelers about "Alice and the Legend of the Scarlet Woman", a story about a local spinster with a rich lover who showered her with jewellery, none of which was found after she died so she assumed it was buried along with her. This leads PJ and Maggie to Helen Bremmer, Alice's only remaining family. Helen Bremmer, a widow with two teenage kids, is battling to keep her head above water with financial burdens on the farm. She doesn't know much about old Aunt Alice, but she does know one thing — Alice didn't have any brother George. Father Brian helps the Heelers substantiate this through the parish records and, in the meantime, Alice James' hand turns up in a shoe box on the church steps.

Lateral thinking on Maggie and PJ's part reveals a new strand to the Alice Scandal — her secret lover was a man called Walter Starling. Some persuasive detective work on Walter Starling's remaining relatives then unearths a startling revelation — that the fictitious body of George James is really Walter Starling, who was buried beside his true love as a dying request. So, if graveyard vandals were after the jewellery, who are they? And where's the jewellery? The Heelers eventually find the missing pieces to the story and the Alice James mystery is resolved. And when the culprit who desecrated Nell's gravestone is finally caught, Tom is forced to revisit his feelings of grief and family loss, and then to restore the damage caused to his relationship with young Jed Russell.

Guest Starring: Merfyn Owen as Fr Brian Hegarty, John Lee as Arthur Starlin, Brenda Palmer as Winifred Starlin, Ben Dovile as Jed Russell, Christine Keogh as Helen Bremmer, Caroline Morgan as Natalie Bremmer, David Kambouris as Shane Bremmer, Jenny Lovell as Gail Russell, Sam Loy as "Bozo" Ingram, Jasen Rosenbaum as Craig Perry, Luke Redfern as Sam Greer, Daniel Chante as Gavin Grimshaw, Sandi Wilson as Mrs. Ingram, Richard Gray as Jed Basketball Double

Loose Cannons

Episode 4.15 (143)
May 20, 1997
Written by David Marsh
Directed by Steve Mann

Shane Thompson is a professional shooter with a volatile temper and his return to Mt. Thomas creates a rift between Tom and Nick. Tom is concerned that his return spells trouble for Shane's wife and young family while Nick has been Shane's sponsor, getting him out of town following the breakdown of his marriage, finding him work as a shooter, and facilitating the exchange of letters between Shane and his son. Shane is desperate to return to his family and reconcile with his estranged wife. Unfortunately, she now has a new boyfriend and will not have him back.

To Tom's dismay, Nick takes a close personal interest in the situation and offers Shane temporary accommodation at the Watchhouse Keeper's residence, his box of guns stored for safe keeping in a corner of Nick's living room. When Zoo Hamilton's gun goes missing, the culprit turns out to be Shane's son, angered by his father's broken promise to buy him a gun and disturbed by the tension and conflict between his parents. The new boyfriend also earns his living with firearms and fosters the boy's interest in guns. As he is showing the boy his weapons, one of them accidentally goes off and puts a hole in the ceiling of the Imperial. Nick decides enough is enough and confiscates the boyfriend's guns, leaving himself open to accusations of favouritism towards his friend Shane. Already doubting Nick's judgment, Tom wonders whether the boyfriend might have right on his side.

The boyfriend is returning to Queensland and Shane's wife accepts a long standing offer to go with him and take the kids. Naturally, Shane reacts angrily to the news and Nick has to work desperately to defuse the situation. He thinks that he has succeeded, only to find that Shane has gone behind his back and ended up at the Imperial, drunk as a skunk. Nick decides that it's time for Shane to head back to New South Wales and enlists the support of a local truckie mate to make sure he gets there. Unfortunately, Shane has other ideas and comes back to wreak revenge and take his kids back.

If Nick has any doubt he should feel responsible for the abduction of the children, Shane's wife soon dispels it. Nick makes a solemn promise — he'll get her children back. He thinks he knows where Shane has taken them, but must disobey a direct order from Tom to get to them. In this he enlists the help of a most unusual ally.

Guest Starring: Francis Greenslade as Shane Thompson, Fiona Todd as Janet Thompson, Luke Lennox as Danny Thompson, Cherise Donovan as Cassie Thompson, Steve Adams as Max "Colt" Corrigan, Karen Davitt as Dr. Zoe Hamilton, Chris Bidlo as Ernie Rudge, Axl Taylor as Barman Len

Lean on Me

Episode 4.16 (144)
May 27, 1997
Written by Kathie Armstrong
Directed by Gary Conway

As Maggie and PJ are investigating what caused five teenagers to collapse at a local nightclub, Adam and Dash are consoling a farmer's son whose goat has died under suspicious circumstances. PJ suspects the neighbouring farmer — the irascible Albie O'Connell — but Adam and Dash are unable to find any evidence of foul play. When a sixth teenager is found unconscious in an alleyway, the Heelers realise someone is flooding Mt. Thomas with home-made amphetamines. But who?

A possible answer comes in the form of a couple of new bikers that Adam and Dash see riding into town. Perhaps they have joined forces with the local gang, the Legends, to manufacture amphetamines? A chat with the bikers reveals nothing helpful, but the Heelers remain convinced of their involvement when a newcomer to town is found beaten up by someone using chains and knuckle-dusters.

Meanwhile, Adam finds he has a new best friend in the young goat owner, who comes to him in frantic distress early one morning to report that his second goat has also been killed. This time Adam organises an autopsy, and when the goat is found to have traces of cyanide — a by-product of amphetamine manufacture — in its stomach contents, the Heelers realise they are close to the source of the drugs. A chance encounter with the "bird-watching" visiting bikers leads Adam and Dash to check out an old shed on a neighbouring property to the goats. And sure enough, they find the amphetamines cooking.

The Drug Squad is called in, in the form of the Clandestine Lab Crew, and the Heelers assist in staking out the shed to catch the bandits red-handed. But just as the Drug Squad are about to pounce on the amateur "cooks", the visiting bikers come thundering up with shotguns at the ready, and the intention of blowing the lab sky-high. It takes some quick heroics from the Heelers to save the day.

Guest Starring: Kate Atkinson as Stacey Norse, Karen Davitt as Dr. Zoe Hamilton, Michael Carman as Alby O'Connell, Bruno Stepnell as Gazza, Jason Crewes as Lee Parry, Sue Yardley as Sgt. Dale Saatchi, Robert Forza as Bruno, Michael Ellenford as Nigel, Nick Barkla as Byron Helford, Chris Gaffney as Jim Helford, Jane Menz as Lorna Helford, Emily Buxton as Viv, Tom Coghlan as Lochie Stewart, Tracy Hannigan as Mrs. Stewart, Fred Reking as Bruno Double

Random Breath

Episode 4.17 (145)
June 03, 1997
Written by Susan Hore
Directed by Chris Langman

Dash's career is on the line when is seems she waved her new boyfriend on instead of breathalysing him. Dash explains that it was because she saw a couple, in the car behind, changing seats and when she pulled them over. The driver was proven to be under the limit while the passenger was clearly drunk. The only way Dash can clear her name is to find some evidence that the couple did in fact swap seats. Unfortunately, it takes a fatal accident to finally prove she was telling the truth.

Guest Starring: Neil Pigot as Inspector Falcon-Price, Myles Collins as Murray Graham, Richard Neal as Rod Walker, Kate Whitbread as Melissa Philpot, Jeremy Kewley as Tony Timms, Robert Essex as Harry Carmichael, Joel Marrocco as Travis Healey, Mary Little as Ivy Paxton, Susanne Chapman as Michelle Tomminello, Zac Zavod as Bradley Tomminello, Kate Keltie as Briana Tomminello, Mim Green as Elizabeth Tomminello

Notes: Neil Pigot makes his first appearance as Inspector Falcon-Price (replacing Nick Waters' Inspector Faulkner). Jeremy Kewley appears for the first time as reporter Tony Timms, taking over the character from Andrew Russell who appeared in just two episodes. The Tomminellos ("two ems, one en, two els") appeared previously in episode 3.13

Close Encounters

Episode 4.18 (146)
June 10, 1997
Written by Stephen Measday
Directed by Kevin Carlin

A baby disappears in suspicious circumstances, but only Adam believes the mother's story when she claims the child was kidnapped. The woman's credibility is questioned when not a single picture of the infant can be found. Crime Scene call in with news of the discovery of what seems to be a shallow grave in the couple's backyard, but the only thing the Heelers find buried there is an apparatus for faking a pregnancy.

As investigations continue, the mother's sister turns up at the station and tells Tom she holds grave fears for her sister's sanity. It turns out the mother was a successful journalist who had a nervous breakdown following a well publicised "close encounter" with alien beings. Could it be the mother has done something to the baby? Was there a baby at all? Or was it all a product of the woman's fevered imagination? Adam and Nick find themselves at odds over Adam's support for the woman. A bond forms between the mother and Adam and she extracts a promise from the young constable that he will leave no stone unturned to find her child.

The Heelers find themselves called to a domestic dispute at the woman's house, only to discover her husband has been trying to get her to sign a Power of Attorney and she is throwing him out. Adam believes this is part of an elaborate plan to permanently relieve the woman of her money, but her husband claims he was acting only out of love and concern — someone has to pay the bills while his wife is ill!

After a chance encounter at the pub, Adam finds an unlikely ally in Nick, but just as he is finally convincing the others, the woman is found unconscious in her bedroom from an overdose of tranquillisers. Adam doesn't believe the mother is the suicidal type and points the finger at the husband. Nick comes up with some interesting information about the man's background and a fishing expedition at the Imperial Hotel reveals an interesting liaison.

The Heelers are now working on a conspiracy between the husband and the mother's sister, but will they get to the baby in time or will it be too late? With the plans of the conspirators already unravelling, Zoe calls from the hospital to say that the baby's mother is awake. The Heelers are now hot on the trail and track the husband and sister to a holiday cottage in the bush. But Adam still has a couple of unwelcome surprises ahead of him before the case is closed.

Guest Starring: Heather Bolton as Megan Davies, Paul Dawber as Warren Jones, Samantha Bews as Kerryn Davies, Karen Davitt as Dr Zoe Hamilton, Nigel Rodrigues as Satish Rajin, Amy Clarke as Bronwyn Davies-James, Sally-Anne Gilmour as Jill

Buckley's Chance

Episode 4.19 (147)
June 17, 1997
Written by Rich Held
Directed by Steve Mann

When local farmer Jack Buckley wins Oz Lotto, the patrons at the Imperial are truly delighted for him. His family have been struggling with their farm for as long as anyone can remember, and Jack dreams of using the money to pay off the bank and keep the farm in the family for future generations. The next day, however, Jack claims his winning ticket has been stolen, but PJ becomes skeptical because there is some doubt that the ticket ever existed — the newsagent didn't sell it to him, and his family can't remember seeing it. Maybe the old man really is going senile? But Maggie takes the old man's side, and even though PJ has dismissed the case as a uniform matter, Maggie's insistence that Jack is right keeps PJ interested.

If there was a ticket, who might have taken it? Jack blames the "vultures" who came to the farm equipment auction the day before, but thus far nobody has tried to claim the prize. One of the people at the auction was Adam, who bought an old cradle to do up for the baby he is eagerly awaiting. Stacey, however, doesn't share his enthusiasm for old furniture, preferring everything new for the baby. She is clearly bored by herself at the pub, and uses the excuse of not feeling well to get Adam home from work to see her.

When PJ and Maggie are called out to an intruder at the Buckley farm, and find Jack's sister Dot fighting with Rich over an old Lotto ticket found in the chook scraps, it looks more certain that there was a ticket and his family deliberately misled the police. They decide to question the family and soon discover a mass of secrets and hidden reasons for stealing the ticket. Sister Dot resents the fact that Jack inherited the farm and she got nothing, Georgina, his eighteen-year-old granddaughter, is desperate for attention and money since her parents split up, and finally his son, Stephen, wants to put his father into a retirement village and has been talking to developers about the land.

Matters come to a head with a fire at the Buckley's which burns down the old stables and destroys Georgina's much-loved horse. Stephen blames his father's senility for starting the fire, but Maggie overhears a heartfelt apology which gives her a clue as to the real identity of the ticket thief. One man's dream, it seems, can be a nightmare for somebody else.

Meanwhile, Adam ignores Stacey's latest call for help to attending the fire investigation. Then he discovers this one was for real, she has been rushed to hospital and is miscarrying. He is overcome with guilt as Stacey loses the baby. But then he learns some information which shatters his own dreams of future happiness.

Guest Starring: Don Barker as Jack Buckley, Steve Kidd as Stephen Buckley, Bryony Price as Georgina Buckley, Patsy Martin as Dorothy Buckley, Kate Atkinson as Stacey Cooper, Stuart Baker as Richo, Evan Higgins as Matt Sherman, Karen Davitt as Dr Zoe Hamilton, Michael Seymour as CVA captain, Axl Taylor as Barman Len

No Means No

Episode 4.20 (148)
June 24, 1997
Written by Michael Winter
Directed by Raymond Quint

Nick hasn't shown up for the start of his shift and a worried Maggie reports to Tom that he is not at the Watchhouse Keeper's residence either. Later it is discovered he has been at the home of Danielle Carter, an ex-prostitute at the centre of a major criminal trial in Mt Thomas. While this draws sniggers from his uniformed colleagues, PJ fails to see the humour. It will be hard enough to get a conviction for the rape of an ex-crow without Nick's personal involvement complicating the case.

Dash is appalled to receive a love letter from crusty old farmer Keith Purvis only to find this is yet another of Nick's practical jokes. Nick thinks it's Dash getting her own back when he receives a note from a "love sick secret admirer" suggesting an rendezvous in the park. Nick ignores the letter only to receive a much more threatening missive — his shredded clothing smeared with blood. Quite obviously, this is no practical joke, so who is stalking Nick? Maggie and PJ suspect Danielle when she turns up at the station with a heavily bandaged hand, but Nick is having none of it. Danielle needs reassurance about her decision to give evidence in the case. Will the jury take the word of an ex-prostitute accusing a respectable married man of rape? Her confidence is further undermined when she finds herself suspected of stalking Nick. Her refusal to give a sample of her handwriting does nothing to quell Maggie and PJ's mistrust. To the Heelers' consternation Nick continues to offer Danielle his unqualified support and their relationship continues to grow.

Just when Nick thought things couldn't get much worse, Monica Draper arrives to investigate an anonymous allegation of sexual harassment against him. What should be a straight forward investigation turns sour when Nick's history as a prankster comes back to haunt him. When Monica asks him about his relationship with Danielle, Nick refuses to answer, it's none of her business. Monica issues an ultimatum, answer the question by the end of his shift or face disciplinary charges. But the Heelers soon have other worries.

Nick unwittingly puts Maggie in the firing line with his larrikin sense of humour. While PJ wants to protect her, Maggie thinks his time would be better spent finding the person making the threats. PJ reluctantly leaves her in the care of Dash, but the stalker already has her target in sight and it doesn't take long before she is given the opportunity to strike. The Heeler's, meanwhile, discover the identity of the stalker, but it could be too late for Maggie who is now facing a knife wielding fanatic in the living room of her home.

Guest Starring: Anni Finsterer as Danielle Simpson, Karen Davitt as Dr. Zoe Hamilton, Jeremy Stanford as Gary Towers, Lisa Maria as Kerrie Knox, Steve Hutchison as Glenn Holding, Peta Doodson as Monica Draper, Sofie Laguna as Fiona Williams, Clive Hearne as Judge Williams, Kate Atkinson as Stacey Cooper, Joseph Berridge as Simon Simpson, Jacinta Brearley as Jessie Simpson, Elizabeth Crockett as Female Resident

Poetic Justice

Episode 4.21 (149)
July 01, 1997
Written by Bill Garner
Directed by Fiona Banks

It's time for the annual "Make a Wish" Talent Quest and Nick has a vision for the Heelers... Mt. Thomas is about to enjoy the rustic poetry of Banjo Paterson in a way they'll never forget...

On patrol, Adam and Dash encounter Errol the Feral walking into town with a box of organic produce for sale. The main purpose of Erol's trip to town is to make a court appearance — on marijuana possession charges. Erol had actually turned up at the police station previously to report his marijuana plants stolen!

An interstate truckdriver heading for the New South Wales border enters Mt. Thomas police station with some alarming news — his truck has been stolen along with a load of cigarettes worth nearly a million dollars. PJ is interviewing the truckdriver when Colin Ducker enters — a slick, mobile-phone-wielding Senior Investigator from the security division of the cigarette company, Fletcher-Rolfe International. Colin Ducker is there to catch the thief of the missing load pronto and insists that he's permitted to sit in on PJ's interview. When PJ shows resistance due to Colin Ducker's smug, fast-tracking attitude, Ducker play's his trump card: the head of Fletcher-Rolfe is an ex-Assistant Commissioner who has secured a company policy stating that police must give full cooperation in all matters requiring investigation. Tom persuades PJ to play the game Colin Ducker's way, or there'll most certainly be trouble from upstairs.

Meanwhile, feeling sorry for the dreadlocked and barefoot hippy, Errol, the Heelers attempt to help him smarten up his appearance before he faces court. Dash and Adam accompany him to St. Vinnie's for some "respectable" clothing and footwear of any description. They try to convince him that the dreadlocks should go and take him off to visit Victor, the local Russian barber. Errol is sure spiritual chaos will befall him if he is shorn, and he is not far wrong.

Nick takes his amateur theatrics to hair-yanking extremes with his relentless Shultz-style rehearsal of "The Man from Ironbark". Banjo Paterson would surely be rolling (or laughing) in his grave.

The Heelers eventually uncover the cigarette mystery through good, solid, old-fashioned police work (much to the high-flying Ducker's chagrin), revealing a carefully plotted scam.

Guest Starring: Stefan Dennis as Colin Ducker, Alan Brough as Kev Nooran, John R.K. Scott as Daryle Freedley, David Tredinnick as Errol, Tobi Webster as Noel Fisher, Jack Paynting as Accordian Player, Alberto Vila as Victor, Jason Davis as Miles, Nik Barker as Austin

Left In Trust

Episode 4.22 (150)
July 08, 1997
Written by Beverley Evans
Directed by Kevin Carlin

Maggie finds herself becoming personally involved when a Polish woman, Ivona, arrives at the police station, escorted by an irate taxi driver demanding payment. Ivona's grasp of English only extends to "Daughter", and Maggie realises the daughter must be in Mt. Thomas. Ivona has an address for some people by the name of McPhee, so the logical place to start the investigation is there.

Maggie and PJ quickly discover the situation isn't as straight forward as it looks — Danusha, Ivona's daughter, is an exchange student, whose host family were the McPhees, but she's no longer staying there. The Heelers are directed to a new family, the Barnses, who Danusha met through a school friend, Mandy. Their parents are both away, leaving Mandy's older brother, Jason in charge of the house. Both Mandy and Jason claim Danusha is staying back at the McPhee's.

Trying to trace Danusha, the Heelers investigate school records, both families, and the coordinator of the student exchange program. Unfortunately, no one seems to know where she is, or feel any Duty of Care for her. Both the McPhee and the Barnes children seem evasive when questioned, and PJ and Maggie soon ascertain that Leo McPhee was friendlier towards Danusha than his host role should allow.

Jason Barnes also found Danusha attractive, but is he telling the truth about the last time he saw her? The discovery of Danusha's passport under Jason's bed leads him to confess he left Danusha near the National Park after he forced his attentions on her, and she demanded that he stop. He had felt that leaving her there would teach her a lesson, and Mandy tried to cover for him. Will the Heelers find Danusha alive and be able to reunite mother and daughter? Or will they discover a shallow grave instead?

Guest Starring: Marta Kaczmarek as Ivona Kocinski, Kristof Kaczmarek as Steve Milic, Patrycja Broda as Danusha Kocinski, Laine Lamont as Frances McPhee, Geoff Parry as Leo McPhee, Laura Fitzpatrick as Mandy Barnes, James McKenna as Jason Barnes, Suzanne Brenchley as Mrs Wright, Tony Nikolakopoulos as Stavros, Kate Atkinson as Stacey Cooper, Fiona Morrell as Mrs Barnes

Sick Puppy

Episode 4.23 (151)
July 15, 1997
Written by Peter Dick
Directed by Steve Mann

Tom becomes worried when his schoolteacher daughter, Susan, fails to arrive in Mt. Thomas. She was driving up from Melbourne to take up a temporary posting at the town's primary school. Dash and Adam discover Susan Croydon's car abandoned on the roadside. It has been involved in an accident with another car, also abandoned, and there is no sign of either driver.

Bryan Maxwell, Andy's older brother, comes to the police station, anxious about Andy's failure to arrive at the family farm. Tom has just about convinced himself that Andy has done Susan harm when the missing pair are found — they were only hiking for help after the side-swipe accident which Susan insists was her fault. To Tom's chagrin his daughter has struck up a friendship with this dubious young man and invites him home for dinner. Bryan, the brother, invites himself too.

Conversation after the meal takes a sinister turn when Andy holds forth with some morbid details from the history of hanging. It seems to be a hobby of his. Tom tries to prevent Susan from having any further contact with Andy Maxwell after discovering he was accused of murder a few years before, but his daughter is too stubborn to listen and goes off on a picnic with Andy while Tom works fast to find out all he can about the murder case.

Jodi Dunn, the sister of the dead girl, is interviewed and remains convinced Andy murdered Michelle Dunn in a fit of rage after being dropped as her boyfriend. Bryan Maxwell is interviewed and is concerned to hear Andy is out with Susan. The impression grows that Andy is a timebomb and Susan might be his next victim. Maggie and Nick round up Andy and the unharmed Susan. Back at the station, PJ grills Andy concerning his role in Michelle Dunn's death. Andy, although under stress, sticks to his story. However, the Heelers have discovered a lie about his movements on the day of the murderand Homicide is contacted to reopen their investigation.

Meanwhile, the second of two disturbing burglaries occurs in Mt. Thomas, each involving the strangulation of a dog. In one case, a real dog is killed with a cord, in the other a toy dog is found hanging from a noose. There is a strong link here with Andy Maxwell, whose dog breeding aunt, Nita Maxwell, blamed Andy for hanging three of her best breeders from a tree the last time the boy was in the area.

There's yet another alarm for Tom Croydon when he finds that Susan has departed from his house, leaving behind an angry note and no clue where she's gone. The next day he starts a worried hunt to trace her. Where has Susan gone and is her life in danger? All the Heelers know is that the murderer is poised to strike again. Can they find him before he claims another victim?

Guest Starring: Beth Buchanan as Susan Croydon, Timothy Schwerdt as Bryan Maxwell, Angus Smallwood as Andy Maxwell, Carla Hoogeveen as Nita Maxwell, Nana Coburn as Jodi Dunn, Adam May as Ellis Corby, Oliver Frobose as Tyrone Terry, Scott Meneilly as Sr Detective Green

Sisterly Love

Episode 4.24 (152)
July 22, 1997
Written by Jenny Lewis
Directed by Fiona Banks

Maggie and PJ are embroiled in a series of burglaries, which look as though they're originating from the school where Susan, Tom's daughter, is assisting as a relief teacher. PJ has analysed every possible link between the burgled houses. After eliminating the Juicy Rooster Chicken delivery man he is left with no alternative but to investigate the school.

While Susan has her hands full with students such as Chloe Bassetti, who stole valuable coins out of her desk and tried to hock them, PJ is convinced that an assignment Susan set was designed to find out details of where valuables are kept in the kids' houses. Susan isn't happy being the immediate suspect but the Heelers can't forget her somewhat chequered past. She finally explains that it wasn't her that set the assignment, but the principal of the school, Guy Ashfield, a problem gambler who has previously been investigated for embezzling funds. Guy pleads innocence, and when a locket is found at the scene of a recent break-in, it seems he's telling the truth — it's traced back to Chloe's mother, Domenica Bassetti. Unfortunately for the Heelers, it seems Domenica has disappeared — and neither Chloe or her older sister Natalie, know where she is.

A huge attempt at tracking down Domenica leads the police no closer to finding her — until PJ starts trying to get information from Natalie. He's sure Domenica is using the girls to cover for her, and finally Susan suggests that she mind the girls overnight and radio the Heelers when Domenica arrives. Unfortunately, the girls are gone and there's no sign of Domenica — however, another burglary has been attempted, and the burglar was female. She was also shot by Henry Biggins, a man who believes it's his right to protect his home by whatever means necessary. However, when the Heelers find the burglar, they're shocked to discover that it's not Domenica Bassetti at all. The burglar's real identity and Domenica's fate are more intriguing than anyone could've guessed.

Guest Starring: Beth Buchanan as Susan Croydon, Rebekah Jay as Natalie Bassetti, Jane Harber as Chloe Bassetti, Rebecca Daniel as Laura Bassetti, Paul English as Guy Ashfield, Alan Cassell as Henry Biggins, Simon O'Brien as Justin Biggins, Jules Hutchison as Donna Walton, James Lawson as Juicy Rooster Man, Dawn Klingberg as Mrs Mundy, Chris Bidlo as Ernie Rudge

Note: by all accounts this is just Jane Harber's second tv role, her first being in The Last of the Ryans which aired in April 1997. She is perhaps most well-known for her roles in Neighbours, The Moodys, and Offspring.

Can't Take a Joke

Episode 4.25 (153)
July 29, 1997
Written by Roger Dunn
Directed by Grant Brown

Maggie is on a private visit to the panel beater's shop when her attention is drawn to a small car sitting on top of a pile of pallets. The car belongs to Molly, the sole female employee of the shop who is stoically enduring the actions of her colleagues. While the Heelers persuade the boys to return the vehicle to its owner, Maggie and Dash believe Molly has been the victim of systematic victimisation and with Tom's consent they return to the shop to warn off the foreman and his mates, but their pleas fall on deaf ears. They are soon back at the shop in answer to a fire alarm only to find a soaked Molly who has set off the sprinkler system after being locked in the changing rooms. It seems someone has stolen the boss' keys to shut her in, but were they just intending to keep Molly trapped or were they keeping her on ice for other, more sinister reasons? A description from the locksmith leads the Heelers to a young apprentice in the shop. When questioned by the Heelers, the boy not only admits doing the deed, but seems proud of it.

Meanwhile, the foreman's brother has returned to town from Queensland. To Adam's chagrin, he turns out to be Stacey's old boyfriend and she wastes no time renewing his acquaintance. Stacey decides to try and save her marriage by playing the two males off against one another. Adam is irritated when he discovers the two have been to the movies together and retaliates by stopping the ex-boyfriend in his car and doing a thorough roadworthy test. This backfires when the ex-boyfriend complains, landing Adam in hot water with the boss.

There is more trouble at the panel beater's when some spray paint equipment is sabotaged, seriously injuring one of the workers. The person who mixes the paint and had the greatest opportunity to sabotage turns out to be Damian, the male apprentice. However, when PJ goes to interview him, he discovers Damian has absconded from the scene — guilty behaviour indeed! The young man's despair has driven him to desperate measures, but Maggie talks him out of doing something drastic. The Heelers must now determine whether he is the culprit or just another victim.

Adam and Dash are out on patrol when he sees Stacey's ex-boyfriend's car parked outside the Imperial Hotel. Adam, hot-headedly rushes inside where he discovers Stacey in a highly compromising situation. He resists the temptation to resolve the matter with his fists, but on the way out, Adam spots Damian drinking with his mates. The Heelers have already spoken to the boy but Adam doesn't know this and he tries to order him back to the station for questioning. An ugly confrontation ensues, ending with a major injury and Adam's career in tatters.

Guest Starring: Kate Atkinson as Stacey Cooper, Damien Pree as Jeff Dimmock, Shawn Unsworth as Brad Dimmock, Joelene Crnogorac as Molly Beggs, Greg Carroll as John Farmer, Patrick Ritter as Trevor Sykes, Sue Jones as June Allenby, Nick Mitchell as Damian Allenby, Michael Seymour as CFA Captain

Note: two alumni from Round The Twist feature in this episode, Joelene Crnogorac and Nick Mitchell, both from series 2 of the popular kids' series.

Every Contact Leaves Its Trace

Episode 4.26 (154)
August 05, 1997
Written by Cassandra Carter
Directed by Graham Thornburn

PJ and Maggie are called to the U Wreck panel repair works where the foreman, Jeff Dimmock, lies injured outside — a victim of a hit-run driver. Dimmock is a feared bully with any number of enemies who must be regarded as suspects but Dimmock himself believes the culprit to be Molly Beggs, one of two apprentices whose lives at work have been marred by the culture of torment and vicious practical jokes.

While PJ and Maggie begin their investigations, another mystery surrounds one of the Heelers themselves — Adam Cooper is missing. The pressures mounting recently in Adam's married life as well as a disaster in his career give Tom Croydon and Nick Schultz some unease about whether he may have suicided. Dash McKinley does not believe Adam would suicide over the misbehaviour of his wife, Stacey. From slender clues, Dash uses her detailed knowledge of the Mt. Thomas landscape to work out where Adam may have gone. She and Nick discover Adam in the bush, lying near death with a bullet in his chest and his own gun in his hand. It certainly looks like a suicide attempt.

Meanwhile, Maggie and PJ are narrowing the field in their hunt for the hit-and-run driver — who proves to be someone unexpected.

Dash persuades Inspector Monica Draper to be allowed to look over the crime scene where Adam was discovered, she believes he was ambushed by an unknown gunman. They discover blood near some car tracks and further down the track, a car has slid into the bush. Inside is the badly wounded Brad Dimmock, who gasps out the accusation that "Cooper shot me". Adam certainly had some motivation. Brad, the brother of Jeff Dimmock, is his wife's lover, and the real father of the unborn baby Stacey lost.

Adam revives in hospital, and gives the story of the ambush Brad had staged, intending it to look like a suicide. Brad himself does not recover from the wound Adam gave him in self-defence. Brad's death leaves Dash McKinley tracing the full plot against Adam. The truth she discovers is tough for everyone to take.

Guest Starring: Kate Atkinson as Stacey Cooper, Peta Doodson as Monica Draper, Karen Davitt as Dr. Zoe Hamilton, Damien Pree as Jeff Dimmock, Shawn Unsworth as Brad Dimmock, Joelene Crnogorac as Molly Beggs, Sue Jones as June Allenby, Greg Carroll as John Farmer, Tony Farrell as Forensic Detective

Playing Games

Episode 4.27 (155)
August 12, 1997
Written by David Allen
Directed by Chris Langman

The Heelers are called to the site of a demonstration against a proposed resort development in Widgeree. While they manage to allay the demonstrators' activities, emotions run high when the owners of the proposed development find themselves at a "Murder Mystery" weekend with the head of the demonstrators. The tension heightens with Maggie and PJ also attending the weekend for the hospital's Children's Wing Charity. As the plot of the Murder Mystery Weekend unravels, so does the fabric of a number of the players' lives. The head of the development is attacked in the cellar of the Imperial and the development site is vandalised, all of which leads to an investigation that brings the development's viability into question. The Heelers must discover whether it was the demonstrators who damaged the site or if there are others with a more complex motive.

PJ is confronted by his past when he recognises something naggingly familiar about the game's coordinator. PJ discovers he was the informer that disappeared before clearing PJ of corruption while working with the Regional Gaming Squad. This could now be PJ's chance to clear his record.

PJ's involvement in the Mystery Weekend forces Maggie to confront her feelings for him. They have been cast as honeymooners — Maggie is unsure whether to let the romance of the situation engulf her and return to PJ's arms. Much to PJ's disappointment, the turbulent events of the weekend conspire against his reunion with Maggie, it seems there are more obstacles to their passion than he had anticipated.

A hole in the cellar floor and an intriguing stranger lead to more than Chris Riley bargains. Her new guest promises romance but when she refuses his advances he reveals he is one of her ex-husband's partners. He owes some serious people a lot of money and has come to the pub to collect. Their confrontation leads to a life-threatening episode for Chris and tests the Heelers ability to deal with such an intense situation.

Guest Starring: Evelyn Krape as Rowena Wyndham, Rod Desley as Steven Wyndham, Robert Essex as Harry Carmichael, Susan J. Arnold as Stella Downer, Paul Wentford as Michael Scott, Fred Whitlock as Larry Page, Vanessa Ready as Vi Chisholm, Brenda Palmer as Winifred Starling, Barbara Joseph as Patricia Scott, Emma Delmenico as Lenore Scott, Angie Hilton as Waitress May, Axl Taylor as Barman Len

Counting Chickens

Episode 4.28 (156)
August 19, 1997
Written by John Banas
Directed by Fiona Banks

Nick and Dash arrive at Betty Freer's funeral to pay their respects, but instead they find her two sons fighting in her grave. Alex Freer is the younger son, and has been working on the family's free-range farm since his father's death. When the older son, Jerry, returns home from America wishing to make some changes to the farm, an intense feud erupts. The fight at the funeral is a symptom of the mounting tension within the family.

When Mrs. Freer's bedroom is ransacked and her jewellery stolen, PJ and Maggie become involved in the investigation. Was Jerry Freer simply trying to scare his brother off the land, or is it a straightforward case of theft? This is soon accompanied by the theft of two thousand dollars worth of feed. Dash manages to find a lead — the Freers' neighbour Griff Hoekstra, a pig farmer, seems to have sufficient motive presenting itself in the form of forcing the Freers to sell. The plot begins to heat up when Jerry Freer's son is almost killed. PJ must make some headway soon before someone really is killed. Who is the perpetrator hiding in the one place that PJ has as yet not checked?

At the same time, Nick is absorbed in compiling receipts for his tax return and removing Adam's stitches. PJ is thoroughly impressed by Nick's stunning accountant, much to Maggie's distress. But why is she curiously uninterested in taking his business.

Guest Starring: Rodney Bell as Jerry Freer, Tim Aris as Alex Freer, Anne Browning as Rhonda Freer, Vince Gil as Griff Hoekstra, Emily Lumbers as Melanie Baldwin, Matthew Ker as Toby Freer, Andrew Hicks as Doctor Davies

Drag Line

Episode 4.29 (157)
August 26, 1997
Written by Tony Morphett
Directed by Grant Brown

When Maggie and Dash go to inform the local wowser, Bert Cole, that his shop has been vandalised, they find him dead — and dressed in women's clothing. His house has also been burgled and his cause of death is unknown. PJ and Maggie must determine whether Bert Cole's death was due to natural causes or murder. Reporter Timms gets wind of the unusual circumstances surrounding Cole's death and harasses Tom looking for a story. Meanwhile, Dash discovers a room in Cole's house full of make up and women's clothes, but in a number of sizes. It's clear that there must be others that cross dress with Cole. During the search, Maggie stumbles onto Cole's video collection which feature a small boy at kindergarten — is Cole a child molester too?

PJ comes across a young man trying to sell stolen goods. He has in his possession the television removed from Cole's house and his address book but denies taking the video camera. It is revealed that the man is Cole's son-in-law, Johnnie Baxter, and that he was attempting to blackmail Cole. Johnnie claims that his father-in-law was already dead when he arrived, but did he murder Cole when he wouldn't pay up?

PJ tracks down the other cross dressers that met at Bert Cole's house. It seems that one of them was the last person to see Cole alive. Was there a falling out, was their blackmail within the club, or it was it a crime of passion? Perhaps the missing video camera will provide PJ with the clue he needs to solve the mystery.

Meanwhile, Adam's back in the station awaiting the outcome of the inquest into David Allenby's death. He is anxious to resume duties but will the result mean the end of his career?

Guest Starring: Neil Pigot as Inspector Falcon-Price, Jeremy Kewley as Tony Timms, Karen Davitt as Dr Zoe Hamilton, Rodney Sharp as David Craig, Kristina Bidenko as Simone Cole, Laurie Dobson as Bert Cole, Matthew Posetti as Johnnie Baxter, Paul Glen as Bob Callahan, Steve Lane as Trevor Gillespie, William Gustus as Billy Cole

Closing Ranks

Episode 4.30 (158)
Sept 02, 1997
Written by Rick Held
Directed by Steve Mann

While on routine patrol, Dash and Nick pull over to attend to a car that has driven off the road and discover that the pregnant driver has gone into labour. After taking her to the hospital, Nick is assaulted by a man found breaking into a truck in the car park and is himself admitted to the hospital with a head wound.

Responding to the incident, the Heelers are on hand to see the child born but when the baby's health takes a sudden turn for the worse and subsequently dies, the bereaved father, drunk and in search of answers, takes Nick and Zoe hostage. The man is easily subdued but Nick takes up his cause, and, along with PJ, investigates the baby's doctor. What they uncover provides the painful answers sought by the grieving parents and sheds some light on Nick's assault.

Meanwhile, Monica Draper arrives to interview Adam in relation to his assault on Damien Allenby. After bumping into Damian in hospital, Dash learns he is considering a civil lawsuit against Adam and the police. With Adam facing the end of his policing career, Dash makes her own enquiries into the incident leading to a surprising turn of events.©tzuk

Guest Starring: Paul Bongiovanni as Sergio Torrini, Maria Theodorakis as Angusta Torrini, Tony Hawkins as Dr Quentin Morris, Abbe Holmes as Nurse Gwen Ryan, Karen Davitt as Dr. Zoe Hamilton, Bruno Stepnell as Gary Finch, Nick Mitchell as Damien Allenby, Damien Pree as Jeff Dimmock, Peta Doodson as Monica Draper, Joelene Crnogorac as Molly Beggs, Lachlan Raverty as Baby Torrini

Off the Air

Episode 4.31 (159)
September 09, 1997
Written by David Marsh
Directed by Peter Sharp

When Nick stumbles onto the 3SD van broadcasting from the centre of Mt Thomas, the station is thrown into chaos. The disc jockey, Rod Wright, is discussing an apparent crime wave that is sweeping the town, a crime wave that, as far as the Heelers are concerned, has no real basis. That is until Vi Chisholm is knocked over and her bag is stolen and Greg Anderson reports that his hardware shop has been damaged. Adam is sent to investigate the disturbance at Anderson's Hardware while Maggie and Dash bring Vi Chisholm in to ask her a few questions. Upon investigating the Hardware store Adam discovers that the damage only amounts to the dislodgement of a rack of keys, the perpetrator allegedly Zac Taylor, a recently fired employee. Dean, Greg Anderson's son, claims that Zac was fired because he never did his job properly and that he had threatened to harm Greg after being fired. Deciding to question Zac himself, Adam finds him washing car windscreens at a stop sign, and brings him into the station for questioning.

Meanwhile, Maggie and PJ are having trouble comprehending Vi's description of her assailant. Then Rob Wright sweeps Vi out of the station and into his van to do a live-to-air interview about the attack. Listening to the program the Heelers find that Vi's memory seems to have mysteriously come back as she describes exactly what the assailant was wearing. The clothes description just happens to fit Zac Taylor's, who is just leaving the station, and PJ is forced to haul Zac back into the station, where he denies having had any involvement in the bag snatching incident. In fact he claims he was talking to Chris, inquiring for work, at the Imperial at the time of the robbery.

Rod Wright continues to broadcast on the Mt. Thomas crime wave, going so far as to call the police incompetent. Tom calls the station to try and straighten out the situation, but ends up abusing Rod on air — a situation that Inspector Falcon-Price finds extremely unsatisfactory.

Next, Maggie and PJ are called to a robbery at Vi Chisholm's home. The perpetrator used the key's in the stolen handbag to enter the house and all fingers point at Zac. The charges against the boy begin to increase as Vi collapses from a stroke as a result of the shock. PJ receives information via Rob Wright's radio station that the perpetrator was riding a black and white bike, one identical to Zac's. On finding the bike and Vi's handbag in a nearby dam PJ, brings Zac in for more questioning. Zac claims that his bike was stolen, but PJ is sure that he is the guilty party. Things start to look even grimmer for Zac when it is announced that Vi Chisholm has died in hospital.

Merv Poole unwittingly comes to Zac's rescue when he reveals that Zac was washing his windscreen at the time of the robbery. PJ and Maggie begin looking for clues and discover that Dean Anderson may have had a part to play in the robberies. Will they be able to discover the real mastermind behind the robberies?

Guest Starring: Alan Dale as Rod Wright, Dan Spielman as Zac Taylor, Steven Gates as Dean Anderson, Trevor Kilgour as Greg Anderson, Peter Aanensen as Merv Poole, Vanessa Ready as Vi Chisholm, Lidia Faranda as Car Owner, Axl Taylor as Barman Len, Marie Trevor as Leila Clegg, Louise Watson as Judy Wright, George Ginis as Con, Cecilia Opie as Bystander

Note: Peter Aanensen's first appearance as Merv Poole. He will appear into series 11.

The Scarecrow

Episode 4.32 (160)
September 16, 1997
Written by David Boutland
Directed by Russell Burton

Nick is manning the desk when a young man, Gavin Stone, comes in to report that his father's car has been stolen. Maggie encounters Gavin Stone as he is leaving the station. She looks at his car — it is falling apart as they speak. Gavin pleads with her to give him a chance to repair it, as it is now their only way of getting around. This doesn't seem too out of the ordinary until a horrified Dash states that Gavin Stone is The Scarecrow and his father is the Troll. Elaborating on local legend, Dash explains that the Troll and his son have been feared by every child in the district for many years, even now The Scarecrow still gives her the creeps. Although Maggie lets him off with a warning she is later forced to register the car unroadworthy.

Meanwhile, PJ is investigating a series of car thefts from the supermarket parking lot. Each theft victim seems to have a similar description of a man that they saw loitering at the scene. Tom firmly believes that these are not isolated random thefts, they may be witnessing the handiwork of an organised ring.

Tempers flare over Maggie's decision to register the Stone's car as unroadworthy. Arthur Stone is furious and demands to know how his son is supposed to make his way into town for supplies. Maggie attempts to console him — this is a point of law and there is nothing that they can do about it. However it is clear that he will only be happy when his son is allowed to use the car again or if the Heelers find his stolen vehicle.

A call out to a possible burglary at Maggie's home turns out to be the arrival of her elder brother Robbie. Maggie is thrilled to see him, but PJ is not so sure that Robbie's return is such a positive event because of his history as a heroin addict. Maggie manages to find Robbie a job at Lemon Motors, a situation that PJ later uses to his advantage. He believes that the owner of the lot, Paul Dent, is tied into the car thefts and used Robbie as a spy. When Maggie learns of PJ's plans she is furious that he has put Robbie's job in danger.

However, Maggie has more pressing things to worry about. When she sees that Gavin Stone has decided to use a friend's motorbike she reminds him that if he is planning to take his girlfriend for a ride then he must also get a helmet for her. As Gavin returns to his friend's property for another helmet he has an accident. Dash and Adam find him lying dead in a ditch. When Arthur Stone hears of his son's death he flies into a rage, blaming Maggie, and demanding some answers.

Next, Maggie's car is vandalised and someone is making strange phone calls to her home. But no one suspects the life threatening situation that will befall Maggie when the car vandal tries to revenge Gavin's death. Unless Robbie and PJ can discover can discover her tormentor's identity, Maggie's enforcement of a point of law may result in a death sentence.

Guest Starring: Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Max Fairchild as Arthur Stone, Darron Nicholls as Gavin Stone, Nicholas Crawford-Smith as Paul Dent, Amanda Sandwith as Melissa Hunter, Chris Waters as Steve Parsons, Pauline Coutts as Nadine Powers, Ariane Vrisakis as Kathie Anderson.

Note: Brett Climo's first appearance as Robbie Doyle. The role was played by David Wenham in episode 3.12

Safe As Houses

Episode 4.33 (161)
September 23, 1997
Written by Craig Wilkins, Beverley Evans
Directed by Richard Sarrell

While Dash is lending some support to the devastated Chalmers family as they are being evicted from their farm by the bank, her good friend Samantha (Sam) Chalmers alleges that Jock Hennessey, the Bank Manager, has sexually assaulted her. An outraged Dash promises to do all that she can to bring Jock to justice, but he denies the allegation, explaining he was merely trying to stop her from removing a door from the house. Tom steps in and manages to diffuse the situation without any charges being laid, but Dash is still determined to help her friend, if only with some good advice.

When Tom realises that the rowdy protest against the bank in the form of Sam and her mother setting up camp in the rotunda of the Memorial park was actually a part of Dash's "good advice", he is not pleased. But he also has some sympathy for the dispossessed farmers, so when Jock Hennessey demands that they be removed, Tom is reluctant to step in, instead he asks Dash to try and talk some sense into her friends. Dash's next bright idea is to organise an auction of the Chalmers' possessions in place of the demonstration. Nick plays the auctioneer and ropes some of the Heelers into being dummy bidders — except that they find themselves making some very expensive purchases. Tom even forks out $750 for an old grandfather clock, but when he gets it home he finds that it is locked, so he can't even wind it.

Meanwhile, Sam's tight-fisted old grandfather has demanded to be allowed to serve goal time instead of paying his parking fines, so he misses the auction. When he finds out that the old clock has been sold, he is extremely upset. Sam is the major suspect when Jock Hennessey's car is vandalised, but she denies it vigorously. Then Tom reports that his house has been broken into — but mysteriously nothing has been taken. Later, Dash and the rest of the Heelers feel as if they have been betrayed when they realise that Sam is flashing more cash around town than the auction could possibly have brought in. Dash is forced to have another look at her friend and consider whether or not she was conned into standing up for her. But Dash's continuing investigation into the matter uncovers a buried mystery and a heartbreaking family truth.

Guest Starring: Jennifer Priest as Sam Chalmers, Maggie King as Mary Chalmers, Vic Gordan as Harry Quinn, Iain Murton as Jock Hennessey, Jeremy Keweley as Tony Timms, Helen Trenos as Celia Donald, James Pratt as Jerry Evans, Axl Taylor as Barman Len

Our Patch

Episode 4.34 (162)
September 30, 1997
Written by Anthony Ellis
Directed by Fiona Banks

Is Tom Croydon going soft? That's what Chris Riley and the Heelers think when Tom fails to reprimand a bunch of drunken louts. Even when they let a live snake go in the pub and make rather unsavoury advances towards Maggie and Dash, Tom stops PJ from charging them. The Heelers are suitably unimpressed and are left wondering why Tom would protect a bunch of "yobbos".

Meanwhile, Maggie and Nick are investigating some strange behaviour by the Torrinis, local market gardeners, and friends of Nick's. Augusta had come into the station to speak to Nick but her husband took her out before she could say anything. Now their road-side stall has been knocked over and Augusta has been bashed. Maggie believes that she may be the victim of domestic violence but Nick has other ideas. He suggests that both the Torrinis are the victims of harassment, perhaps at the hands of the Belfanti brothers, major market gardeners in the area who had been the Torrinis' agents but were recently fired. Nick believes that the brothers maybe employing some standover tactics to ensure that the Torrinis don't spread rumours about them.

The Heelers' curiosity about the new louts in town gets the better of them, PJ rings around and discovers their true identity. Never one to let things go PJ grabs Maggie and they follow the men into the National Park. There PJ stumbles onto a hothouse full of marijuana. Who are the growers of the marijuana crop, and how are the Torrinis, the Belfantis and the new louts in town connected to it? Will the Heelers be able to put the pieces together in time to bring the drug ring down?

Guest Starring: Doug Bowles as Det. Sgt. Les Bennett, Peter Docker as Det. "String" Rowley, Bert Labonte as Snr. Const. Roy Nicholl, Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Peta Brady as Anise Lightfoot, Richard Gyoerffry as Guido Belfanti, Daniel Cassar as Sando Belfanti, Paul Bongiovannie as Sergio Torrini, Maria Theodorakis as Augusta Torrini, Sophie Lampel as Hayley, Roy Thompson as Mr. O'Brien

The All-Seeing Eye

Episode 4.35 (163)
October 07, 1997
Written by Cassandra Carter
Directed by Raymond Quint

What seems to be a case of petty theft turns into an investigation of a two-year-old kidnapping when Maggie and PJ realise that a fingerprint found on a stolen figurine bought at a local car-boot sale actually matches one found on the ransom note. In no time the wealthy parents of Helen McMurtrie, the missing child, arrive in town and start demanding action. Felicity, the mother, is particularly anxious, and when she runs into an old acquaintance, Siobhan Kennedy hairdresser and witch, she insists that the police employ her as a clairvoyant. Much to Tom's surprise, Siobhan refuses, it's not what she does.

However, the McMurtrie's offer of a $50,000 reward brings another clairvoyant contender into the station. This is Magda Lupescu, who introduces herself as a Romanian Gypsy. Under skeptical police supervision, Magda uses a bracelet belonging to the missing child to perform psychometry over a local map. She assures the Heelers that if they search in a particular spot, they will find evidence of the little girl, who is, unfortunately, dead. Sure enough, the search leads straight to a hidden garbage bag containing the clothes Helen McMurtrie was wearing when she was kidnapped. This raises the suspicions of the ever-skeptical PJ, if you discount "mumbo-jumbo", how did Magda know where to find the clothes?

PJ's suspicions are increased when he and Maggie discover that Magda has a small girl living with her. Trouble is, Helen is blonde and Australian and would be eight years old now, whereas this girl is dark-haired and Romanian and only six. What does Magda really know? The best person to find out, under the circumstances, seems to be Siobhan Kennedy. Her verdict is that although Magda is a genuine "finder", she is lying about the child being dead. With this incentive, the Heelers renew their efforts to find the missing child.

Meanwhile, after one look at Robbie Doyle, Siobhan tells Dash that she thinks he is using heroin — he has a "murky aura". But when Dash passes this intelligence onto Maggie, Maggie refuses to believe it... until she has the house to herself and just can't resist the temptation to search it for drugs. The house is clean, and Maggie heaves a huge sigh of relief — until she remembers the veggie patch that Robbie was so keen to dig for her.

Guest Starring: Deidre Kwiecinski Rubenstein as Magda Lupescu, Alyce Lobianco as Ilona, Doug Dew as Harry Laxton, Lillian Lewis as Mrs Lyme, Nikki Coghill as Felicity McMurtrie, Gregory Ross as John McMurtrie, Marijana Dujmovic as Teacher, Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Peta Brady as Anise Lightfoot, Jeremy Kewley as Tony Timms, Rosalind Hammond as Siobhan Kennedy, Chelsea Driessen as Jassy, Antonio Falvo as Petru Lepescu, Amantha Imber as Social Worker

Playing Possum

Episode 4.36 (164)
October 14, 1997
Written by David Allen, Judith Colquhoun
Directed by Russell Burton

PJ is on the trail of a cat burglar known as the Possum. This thief is responsible for a number of jewellery thefts in Mt. Thomas and has proven virtually impossible to catch. PJ enlists Maggie's help but she is having trouble focusing on the case as her thoughts are firmly fixed on her brother Robbie and her discovery that he is using heroin again. Maggie realises that the only way she can help her brother overcome his addiction is with the help of her family so asks their father, Sgt. Pat Doyle, up from Melbourne.

Maggie and Pat face Robbie who tries to convince them that he can stop using heroin whenever he likes. Maggie and Pat realise that this is just another junkie line and explain that they will help him any way they can if he is willing to combat his addiction. Robbie suggests that with their help he can go cold turkey. Maggie and Pat decide that they will take shifts in watching Robbie while he goes through withdrawal. However, this makes it even harder for Maggie to concentrate on the jewellery thefts.

Gail Russell, a victim of the Possum, arrives at the station claiming that she' seen her stolen emerald dress clip in a local jewellery shop. However, when PJ questions the shop owner he discovers the feature stone of this piece is a garnet, not an emerald. Could she be lying as part of an insurance scam?

Maggie discusses Robbie's heroin addiction with Dash but asks her to keep it to herself. However, PJ knows something is wrong and manages to heavy Dash into telling him about the heroin. With this knowledge he tries to lend support to Maggie but she shuts him out. She just wants him to keep quite about it and leave her alone, everything is fine. But everything is not fine. Robbie is going through the horrors of cold turkey, and there is little Maggie can do but watch her brother try to deal with the pain.

Meanwhile, PJ is making progress with the jewellery theft investigation. It now seems that Gail Russell could be right about her dress clip, the stones may have been swapped. This may be the piece of information PJ needs to unmask the Possum.

Maggie wakes the next morning to find that her brother has made it through the worst of the withdrawal and seems relieved to have his addiction behind him. Pat Doyle leaves Maggie and Robbie for Melbourne, sure that everything is under control. Then Dash announces that her CD player has gone missing. Is Robbie as clean as Maggie hopes?

Guest Starring: Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Dennis Miller as Sgt. Pat Doyle, Peta Brady as Anise Lightfoot, Jenny Lovell as Gail Russell, John Jacobs as Benny Danders, Mary Rose Casey as Gillian Casooyni, Rob Steele as George Ambrose, Wendy Strehlow as Maxine

Collateral Damage

Episode 4.37 (165)
October 21, 1997
Written by Bill Garner
Directed by Karl Steinberg

During a routine school locker search for stolen money, the Heelers find a foil of heroin in a fourteen-year-old girl's locker. She says she was given it at a party and PJ immediately concludes it is a free sample, handed out by someone determined to expand their drug business in Mt. Thomas. Maggie is particularly concerned because of her brother Robbie's previous addiction, but is determined to believe that he is still clean in spite of his admission that he did "borrow" Dash's CD player. When Maggie demands it back, he first says he has lent it to his girlfriend, Anise, and then admits that she pawned it, probably to pay for drugs. Maggie is convinced Anise is a bad influence on him, and urges him to break off with her. Then Maggie finds Anise shooting up in her living room, and promptly arrests her, dragging her down to the station.

PJ, however, is determined to catch suppliers, not just users, and does a deal with Anise, in return for not being charged, she is to lead them straight to her dealer, who is one of the bouncers at the nightclub. Anise carries out her part, but the operation is a complete fizzer, there are no drugs to be found in the club. It seems they must have been warned in advance. Could there be a leak at Mt. Thomas station?

Maggie comes home to find that Robbie has just used heroin. She is furious, but he pleads for her help and understanding, telling her he has done a deal with his new boss, information from his policewoman sister in return for drugs. And he fears for his life if he doesn't comply. Maggie comforts and reassures him. Meanwhile Tom and PJ are determined to find the source of the leak so they set a trap, telling the Heelers of another raid that night. PJ is astonished when the person he catches informing the nightclub owner is none other than Maggie.

Guest Starring: Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Peta Brady as Anise Lightfoot, Greg Stone as Geoff Abbott 'Shorty', Robert Price as 'Buzzer', Neil Pigot as Inspector Falcon-Price, Gemma Bishop as Kylie Bunton, Chris Gregory as Alan Bunton, Jules Hutchison as Sue Bunton, Mark Wilson as Benny Matthews, Timothy Verbi as Garren Matthews, Margaret Dalglish as Jean McClusky, Fabio De Luca as Braden Kirby, Debra Elise as Teacher, Linda Keane as Citizen 1, Mark Guerin as Citizen 2

Note: 1998 AFI Award nominee for "Best Episode in a Television Drama Series" (Riccardo Pellizzeri producer)

The Big Picture

Episode 4.38 (166)
October 28, 1997
Written by Michael Winter
Directed by Richard Sarell

PJ and Tom refuse to believe that Maggie could be leaking information to a suspected drug dealer. PJ is stymied, but before he and Tom can decide what to do, their boss, District Inspector Russell Falcon-Price, arrives demanding to know why they have not yet reported Maggie. He calls in Inspector Monica Draper, from Ethical Standards Division, who interviews Maggie — and promptly suspends her from duty. Still convinced of her innocence, PJ is frantic. When he can't get through to Maggie, he sends Tom, who is similarly unsuccessful. Maggie, it seems, just will not help herself. In stunned disbelief, the other Heelers continue with the business of trying to clean up the local drug scene — in spite of the previous night's failed raid on Shorty's nightclub.

Nick and Dash observe young Kylie Bunton behaving suspiciously outside "the party palace" — another suspected drug dissemination point — and plan to mount a raid the next day. Unfortunately by then Kylie Bunton has gone missing. Her parents seem uncharacteristically unconcerned, and then change their story to say that Kylie is staying with her grandmother. It is on their next visit to the Bunton's that Nick and Dash hear a window smash and discover that Kylie is being kept prisoner by her own parents — the only way they can think of to keep her away from heroin.

Meanwhile, PJ is getting very disturbing news about Maggie. It seems she has gone to see Shorty Abbot, the suspected drug-dealer who is owner of Shorty's nightclub and Robbie's boss. They have been seen lunching at the Imperial where Maggie was obviously negotiating for a job. Determined to force the truth from her by any means, PJ picks a fight with Maggie, telling her he's glad they never got closer, because she's obviously untrustworthy. Even still, she refuses to speak.

Then, Maggie finds Robbie and Anise about to shoot up in her living room. In a fury she chases Anise off, but not before learning enough to make her realise that the big district drug distribution will be happening that afternoon. When she tries to warn the Heelers, Falcon-Price won't believe her. But PJ does. He forces the others to mount a raid on the nightclub, where they arrive just in time to stop Maggie from receiving a lethal 'hot dose' from Shorty Abbot. The drug distributors are all caught, and Maggie is able to satisfactorily explain her part in the scheme. She is reinstated into the force and has a reconciliation with PJ, who tries to explain that he doesn't hate her brother, just what he's doing to her. But her drug nightmare is not over, Maggie returns home to find a dead body on her couch — Anise has overdosed. Fortunately Robbie is all right... this time.

Guest Starring: Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Peta Brady as Anise Lightfoot, Neil Pigot as Inspector Falcon-Price, Greg Stone as Geoff Abbott 'Shorty', Mark Wilson as Benny Matthews, Robert Price as 'Buzzer', Peta Doodson as Monica Draper, Gemma Bishop as Kylie Bunton, Chris Gregory as Alan Bunton, Jules Hutchison as Sue Bunton, Timothy Verbi as Garren Matthews

Settlement Postponed

Episode 4.39 (167)
November 04, 1997
Written by Tony Morphett
Directed by Richard Jasek

It's Melbourne Cup time in Mt. Thomas and the Heelers are watching the race in the pub along with a number of other notables, such as Richo, Celia Donald and Compo Hayes. When Compo introduces them to his angry mate, Stacker Nicholl, as his best friends, the Heelers begin to get suspicious. Their suspicions are increased when they learn the TAB takings for the Cup are well down on last year's, and Tom deduces that an illegal Starting Price bookie must be in the town.

Maggie and PJ are convinced that Compo is involved in some way after Chris discover that his room at the Imperial has been trashed and he has gone missing. A short search of the hotel soon finds him asleep in the cellar, but Compo's explanation satisfies no one. When Stacker is brought in and charged, Nick is able to establish that he is a customer of the new SP bookie — even though Stacker denies all knowledge. So who could the SP be? Celia Donald is very anxious about her missing Filofax, and she is well-known to like a flutter on the horses. Could it be her? Could it be Stacker himself?

While they are puzzling over this, Compo reports another future crime, and talks his way into sitting off the Steam Packet bottle shop with Nick and Adam, waiting for it to be robbed. It isn't. Nick throes Compo out of the car and tells him to get lost. Then Nick feels incredibly guilty, because the next day it seems Compo has taken him at word. He is missing, and all a search of his room produces is Celia's Filofax, which contains an SP booking sheet listing a number of local punters — including Richo, Stacker and Celia herself. The only punter not mentioned is Compo, so he must be the SP bookie.

Meanwhile PJ is dismayed to discover that Maggie has borrowed $5000 to put Robbie into Thea Copeland's clinic in the hope that its alternative use of hypnotherapy and the like can finally cure him of his addiction. Robbie seems to be doing very well there... until he too disappears. When the Heelers learn that Compo Hayes has also been attending the clinic to get therapy for his gambling addiction, they are not too surprised to learn that Compo and Robbie have taken off together. It is not long before they're found, in circumstances which make Maggie realise that her battle against Robbie's heroin addiction is far from over.

Guest Starring: Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Tony Rickards as Compo Hayes, Ron Kamoen as Stacker Nicholls, Fiona Corke as Thea Copeland, Helen Trenos as Celia Donald, Stuart Baker as Richo, Hugh Elphinstone as Servo Proprietor, Jerry Gerolemou as Ambulance Officer

Containing The Rage

Episode 4.40 (168)
November 11, 1997
Written by Paul Davies
Directed by Karl Steinberg

Tom is incensed when he discovers that red paint has been thrown over the war memorial two days before Remembrance Day and gives up his day off to find the person responsible. Meanwhile, Keith Purvis comes in to pay a traffic fine which turns out to be bogus, there must be a fake cop operating in the area. Tom goes to interview a suspect in the desecration case and finds him to be an old policemate from NSW who has just been forced to retire amid corruption allegations and is now looking for somewhere to retire. Could he be the fake copper? Then an angry motorist reports he is the victim of "road rage" — a young hoon just tried to run him off the road. Tom is convinced there is some sort of link between these diverse incidents. And Dash also runs into an old friend, under suspicious circumstances also. Her old schoolmate, Rosie, has just punched Adam in the eye after he attempted to break up a fight over the darts board in the Imperial.

Tom finds his link, but it's not what he thought. Rosie (now calling herself Blade) admits to being part of the road rage incident, but absolutely denies anything to do with the war memorial. Dash sticks her neck out for Rosie, guaranteeing that she will appear in court and organising accommodation for her at the hotel. But Rosie disappears and in searching for her Dash discovers that her step-father died only two days ago and that her mother has not heard from her in years. Rosie turns up during another road rage incident, in which she is terrorising a young mother in a car, but stops when she notices the baby in the back seat. When questioned by the Heelers, she reveals the reason for her anger problem — she had to leave town when she was impregnated by the stepfather who has just died.

Meanwhile, suspicion returns to Tom's old mate as the fake cop when his vehicle is firebombed. Could this be a motorist's revenge? Other motorists are reporting bogus fines and the fake cop is obviously still at work. The Heelers set up an operation to catch him in the act but the first car he chooses to stop is driven by Rosie. This time she is able to control her anger and effects a relatively peaceful citizen's arrest. The fake cop turns out to be someone quite unexpected.

Guest Starring: Kate Kendall as Rosie Burgess, Denis Moore as Bob Carrick, Peter Whitford as Bernie Lochren, Reg Evans as Keith Purvis, Stuart Baker as Richo, Maree Hingston as Barbara Burgess, Nik Baker as Austin, Stuart Atkin as Maurice, Roger Boyce as Priest, Jools Weigh as Angela

The Civil Dead

Episode 4.41 (169)
November 18, 1997
Written by Susan Hore
Directed by Raymond Quint

It is court day in Mt. Thomas and the Heelers all turn up to witness Luke Darcy's trial for the attempted murder of his father — the incident which sparked the police shooting where PJ was forced to defend himself against Luke's irate mother, Raeleen [episodes 3.36, 3.37]. No one is more dismayed than PJ when Luke manages to use the system and the cutbacks in Legal Aid to have his trial deferred. He is now a free man — with a very big grudge against Detective Hasham! PJ quickly becomes irritated with the Heelers' efforts to protect him from the vengeful Luke.

Then local solicitor, Sally Downie, reports that her office has been broken into and PJ is convinced that Like is behind it, because Sally has inherited the management of the Karla Darcy Fund — a public fund set up for Luke's little sister after the shooting. With the scant evidence of a partial print, PJ heads off to pick up Luke, only to find the clan matriarch, Grandma Lucy Kenny, has been bashed. Again PJ is convinced Luke is behind it, but it is against Grandma's creed to dob to the police.

Meanwhile, Maggie is prosecuting a young shoplifter in the magistrate's court — a seventeen-year-old who has chosen to defend herself because Legal Aid has denied her funding on the grounds that she insisted on pleading not guilty. She is making such a hash of it that when there is an unexpected adjournment, Dash convinces Tom that they should help her find a defence lawyer. After the girl's grandfather refuses to help, Tom reluctantly approaches Sally Downie, who refuses to take the case pro-bono because she is too busy with a money-earning civil matter. Disapproving of what he sees as this money-grasping attitude, Tom triumphantly solves her civil case, leaving her with no choice but to take on the young shoplifter for nothing.

When PJ gets word that Luke is planning to rob a bottle shop, he thinks that he's in luck. Unfortunately the would-be robber turns out to be Luke's dumb mate, Warty Watts and PJ is thwarted again. Increasingly frustrated, PJ wants to lure Luke into attacking him, but instead it is Dash who becomes Luke's victim when she thwarts his attempt to rob the high school fete. Held hostage by the one person on earth she really fears, Dash is desperate, he actually manages to escape and runs for assistance to the nearest house — only to find it is the Kenny house. Fortunately, little Kayla becomes her unlikely ally, barring the door against her brother's murderous rage while Dash phone for help. Maggie and PJ arrive in time to rescue Dash, but Luke escapes on a trail bike.

While PJ is setting himself up as a sacrificial lamb Dash manages to discover why Grandma Kenny was bashed — she is co-signatory on the Kayla Darcy Fund with Sally Downie. Hearing this, PJ realises Sally may be in danger and gets to her office just in time to find Luke leaving with his latest hostage, the young shoplifter. It is only after rescuing Sally that Tom finds he was totally mistaken, far from being a well-heeled lawyer, she is actually living in penury while she builds up her new practice. And with his prejudices broken down, Tom realises that she is a very attractive woman.

Guest Starring: Catherine Wilkin as Sally Downie, Kane McDonald as Warty, Jan Frazer as Jane Gray, Adam May as Ellis Corby, Jonathon Brooks as Luke Darcy, Blaise Stowers as Kayla Darcy, Lesley Baker as Grandma Kenny, Clive Hearne as Judge Williams, Sarah Chapman as Ebony Fisher, Alan Cassell as Henry Biggins, Peter Sardi as Lionel Jenkins, Jennifer Robinson as Teacher, Cameron Rosel as Baz, Robbie MacFarlane as Julian King, Bruce Barnes as Clerk of Courts


Episode 4.42 (170)
November 25, 1997
Written by David Boutland
Directed by Russell Burton

Maggie is telling Dash of her recurring nightmare of a dark and angry horse when Robbie brings in his new employer, Doreen Jackson, and her father, Jim Jamieson, to report that one of his paintings has been stolen — a painting of a horse. Ever since Jim was crippled by a rogue horse, it seems he paints nothing but horses — the same horse, over and over again. But when Maggie and PJ go to his derelict property to investigate, they discover that the stolen painting has been returned. Jim can't understand it, but PJ thinks that answer to the confusion lies in the empty liquor bottles on his table.

Robbie heads off to his job at Doreen's service station, but is soon calling the station to report he has been robbed. Apparently two leather-clad bikers held him up at knife-point and stole the takings in the till. PJ is skeptical, suspecting that Robbie may have staged the robbery in order to use the money to support his heroin addiction. Maggie vehemently rejects this suggestion, desperately needing to believe that Robbie has turned a new leaf. Tom mediates between them, insisting PJ take the case at face value.

At the hotel, PJ meets one of Chris' guests who rides a motorbike. He says he is a food critic, but PJ finds his attitude suspicious. That night Maggie wakes from another nightmare and hears Robbie going out in her car. He doesn't return until the next morning, but when Maggie learns more of Jim Jameison's paintings were stolen in the night and that Jim has been injured, she evades PJ's questions about Robbie's whereabouts by saying that she was asleep. The injured Jim won't admit to being bashed, and can't give a description of the thief. Dorren alibis Robbie, defiantly telling Maggie that they spent the night together.

Then Tom discovers that Chris' mysterious guest is in fact an art-dealer, with priors for selling forged paintings. PJ and Maggie investigates this theft, but it quickly emerges that they have different agendas. PJ is trying to establish some link between Robbie and the dealer, but Maggie knowing what she knows, is desperate to prove that Robbie was not involved. Instead she finds the opposite. She finds tyre prints from her car out at Jasmine's, and a small triangle of wood in the boot of her car. The dealer explains to her that this is a framing wedge, used to help stretch an unframed painting — like the stolen ones. Maggie confronts Robbie with this evidence, accusing him of the crime. He admits it, but says he got rid of the paintings for Doreen, who wanted to stop her father's obsession with painting the horse, and threw them out at the local tip. Maggie wants to believe him.

Meanwhile, PJ accidentally learns that Maggie had evidence that she is not sharing with him. He finds a courier clerk who remembers sending a large package to Sydney for someone of Robbie's description. He is now certain Robbie is linked to the crime, but instead of proceeding officially, he goes to Maggie and offers to help her hide the evidence in return for a promise that she will now get Robbie out of her life. Maggie is extremely moved by this demonstration of the depth of his love for her, but soon realises that she cannot allow him to sacrifice his integrity for her. It is in PJ's arms, in bed, that Maggie accepts that she must be true to herself — she is a copper, that's her job. Maggie and PJ get back to work, first proving the case against Robbie and then arresting him. He will go to prison, where he may or may not get off heroin. Maggie has finally realised that it is his problem to solve, not hers. And life will go on in Mt. Thomas.

Guest Starring: Brett Climo as Robbie Doyle, Sally Lightfoot as Doreen Jackson, Marshall Napier as Jim Jamieson, Robert Menzies as Bill Golding, Catherine Wilkin as Sally Downie, Jeremy Kewley as Tony Timms

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