East West 101: articles

New season focus on fallout from Iraq and Afghanistan wars ... Detective Zane Malik (played by Don Hany) in SBS's award-winning cop drama East West 101.

East West 101's third season on SBS inspired by Iraq and Afghanistan wars

EAST West 101 has dominated TV categories at the Australian Film Institute Awards and the peer-voted categories at the Logies.

East West 101 could not garner more critical acclaim if it tried and deserves its status as one of the finest cop shows in the history of Australian TV - and there have been plenty.

East West 101 has been faithful to the formula of having a big, over-arching case at its centre and separate smaller crimes contained in each episode.

Setting it so clearly apart from other shows in the genre is that East West 101 has been so bold in tackling race issues.

From the outset, the characters' personal lives, the environment in which the police were working and the crimes seemed culturally charged in some way. It was an element that opened up so many rich scenarios you had to wonder why more shows don't mix it up a bit, why they short-change themselves by going all white bread.

That series two almost didn't make it into production is testament to the commitment of its creators to deliver great scripts.

Susie Porter, who reprises the role of Patricia Wright in season three, says the show was almost shelved after the debut season because producer Steve Knapman fretted over whether he could maintain its quality.

"They were not going to go ahead with season two because they couldn't get their angles to the stories right," Porter says. "So it was kind of touch and go."

Porter and Don Hany are back on deck with Aaron Fa'aoso, Renee Lim, Danielle Farinacci and Tasneem Roc.

Also in the cast are Matt Nable and Aden Young - who recently completed shooting The Killer Elite with Robert De Niro and Clive Owen - Aaron Jeffrey, Tammy MacIntosh and Once Were Warriors star Rena Owen.

Season three explores the fallout from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through crimes committed in Australia.

"Without giving too much away, Insp Wright struggles in the coming season with personal dilemmas and decisions that shocked me to the very core of my moral fibre," Porter says.

Knapman, who produces East West 101 with Kris Wyld, adds: "The third season presented the usual challenge, if not a greater one. The inspiration behind the scripts came from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. I was interested in exploring the universal truths of the experience of combat on men, as well as the collateral damage of innocent civilians that was the consequence of such supposed humanitarian intervention."

By April 20, 2011
The Daily Telegraph