City Homicide: articles

Six and the City

IT DOESN'T take Noni Hazlehurst long to decide if she wants to take a role in a new show.

"I can tell by page five (of a script) if something is going to work or not, and that's probably why I don't work as much as I could," she says.

"I wouldn't want to be in something I wouldn't want to watch. Why would I rip people off to that extent?

"I'd rather have the reputation that, if I'm in something, people can trust it's going to be good."

So it's a good endorsement for the Channel 7 police drama, City Homicide that Hazlehurst took on the role of Det Supt Bernice Waverley.

"I knew when I read it that it was interesting and it's the whole package. The scripts have a real consistency and quality and the cast is incredibly experienced and talented," Hazlehurst says.

"I think a lot of Australian dramas have failed miserably in recent years because they have one experienced person and a lot of unknown, inexperienced people around them, and I think it shows.

"This cast is incredibly strong and versatile and they appreciate, like me, the quality of the scripts."

City Homicide was created by John Hugginson and John Banas, the writing team behind Blue Heelers and Water Rats.

It also stars Shane Bourne, Nadine Garner, Daniel MacPherson, Aaron Pedersen and Damien Richardson.

"It's a wonderful job for me. I live in Queensland and have a 13-year-old still at home, so I go down to Melbourne to film.

"With some scripts I don't have a great deal to do and with other scripts I have more involvement," she says.

"I couldn't be working at the rate the others guys are working, which is five days a week from 6am or earlier until 7pm or later."

Hazlehurst was intrigued by the chance to play a strong female.

"It's nice to be playing a woman in an executive position, who has the respect of her peers," she says.

"It's a real joy to be playing someone who's not the frenzied mother of a drug addict, which I did in Little Fish and Candy.

"I've tried throughout a 35-year career to do different things, because I have a fairly low boredom threshold. I look for all kinds of different things: presenting, film, theatre, public speaking, music and directing."

Before filming began, Hazlehurst met the head of the Victoria Police homicide squad to get a better idea about the qualities that would form the essence of her character.

"The words tenacious, intuitive and tough are the best to describe Bernice," she says.

"I understand the difficulties of being a female in a male world. I think most females do. But in a profession like the police, for a women to get this rank she would have to have these qualities in spades.

"It was important she be someone who was able to command respect, who has authority, doesn't take bulls--- and trusts her instincts to have good people on her team and let them do their jobs."

By Sarah Nicholson
September 12, 2007
Herald Sun