Heartland: episode guide


Episode 1 & 2

Canadian premiere: November 27, 2000
Written by Ro Hume and Susan Macgillicuddy
Directed by Julian Pringle
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • David Ngoombujarra as Mujadi Burunga
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Rachael Maza as Leila Sutton
  • Nicholas Papademetriou as Harry Bradshaw
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • David Kennedy as Robert Sutton
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • Luke Carroll as Jason Sutton
  • Bill McPherson as Errol Hannigan
  • Hugh Devaney as Frank Delaney
  • Kevin Smith as Shorty Carmichael
  • Kylie Russell as Wilga Carmichael
  • Mark Fitzpatrick as Dennis
  • Marjorie Child as Eileen
  • Scott Lowe as Patrick
  • Leanne Bundy as Robyn
  • Amy Miller-Porter as Carly Sutton
  • Dwayne Buchanan as Toddler Sutton
  • Jie Pittman as Flint Baker

Vincent Burunga (Ernie Dingo) leaves his home and his past in Western Australia and makes a fresh start in New South Wales as an Aboriginal Police Liaison Officer, working in the small coastal town of Brooklyn Waters. An outsider to the local Aboriginal people and the white justice system, he finds himself constantly walking on the edge, caught between two cultures… trying to understand each other.

When Beth Ashton, (Cate Blanchett) a young radio producer fleeing a broken marriage, arrives to sort out her late grandfather’s estate, she finds herself caught up in the same situation. Jock’s house backs onto Binbilla, a former Aboriginal reserve where two families still live in a small peaceful community. She finds herself drawn more quickly and more deeply into their lives than she expected, after a brawl at the local Football League final. Her contacts with the Dyer and Carmichael families take her on a journey of self-discovery, as prejudice gives way to respect.

She came to Brooklyn Waters for the peace and quiet, and a chance to sort out her life, away from the city; but she finds this disrupted by the competition for her attention between Vincent and Phil McCarthy (Steve Vidler) the young sergeant in charge at Brooklyn Waters.

And totally shattered when she finds herself in the centre of tragedy when a young girl from Binbilla is brutally raped and killed, and her boyfriend, Ricky Dyer (Bradley Byquar) is charged with her murder. As the evidence builds, Ricky’s grandfather, Alf (Bob Maza) is the only one who believes in his innocence, and he charges Vincent with the seemingly impossible task of freeing "his boy".

Episode 3

Written by Ro Hume
Directed by Scott Hartford-Davis
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • Lisa Kinchela as Sally Dyer
  • Lillian Crombie as Mary Dyer
  • Kevin Smith as Shorty Carmichael
  • Aaron Pedersen as Clarrie Carmichael
  • Auriel Andrew as Vi Murray
  • John Sherrin as John Thompson
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • David Kennedy as Robert Sutton
  • Rachael Maza as Leila Sutton
  • Scott Lowe as Patrick
  • Luke Carroll as Jason Sutton
  • Amy Miller-Porter as Carly Sutton
  • Dwayne Buchanan as Toddler Sutton

Ricky’s statement to the Police admitting he killed Wilga in a drunken rage apparently closes the case, and the two families at Binbilla are torn apart, as they deal with the death of one community member at the hand of another. But Vincent is convinced that there are problems with Ricky’s statement, and the way it was obtained. He knows that if Ricky is innocent, then the real killer is still free but he can’t convince the system that this is even a possibility.

The simmering tensions erupt at Wilga’s funeral, as Millie Carmichael (Justine Saunders) deals with the immediate loss on her child, and Mary Dyer (Lillian Crombie) faces a poignant reminder of the children she lost to the Welfare system many years ago.

In the turmoil, Beth discovers that she has much closer ties to the Binbilla people than she ever dreamed, as the secret her grandfather and kept for so may years finally comes to light.

She and Vincent are drawn closer together as he helps her deal with the fact that she has an aunt and uncle she has never known of, and that they are Mary’s children by her grandfather Jock.

Episode 4

Written by Kristen Dunphy
Directed by Scott Hartford-Davis
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • Shane Connor as Ben Lovell
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Melissa Jaffer as Meredith Lovell
  • Lillian Crombie as Mary Dyer
  • Lisa Kinchela as Sally Dyer
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • John Sherrin as John Thompson
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • Kevin Smith as Shorty Carmichael
  • Aaron Pedersen as Clarrie Carmichael
  • Auriel Andrew as Vi Murray
  • Danielle Carter as Receptionist
  • Richard Carter as Merv
  • Alan Lovell as Peter
  • Mark Saunders as Mike
  • Pamela Young as Belle
  • Leanne Bundy as Robyn

The afternoon Wilga was killed makes Vincent even more convinced that the confession he gave is worthless, and more determined to find out the truth of what happened.

For Ricky, the thought that he might have killed the girl he loved is worse torture that the solitude of the cells, and his grief drives him to an act of self-destructive desperation.

Vincent saves his life, but Alf can see that Ricky might still be lost, if he’s taken from his family to jail in the city, and tries to show him the comfort and strength he will need form the old ways, if he is to survive.

Beth helps Sally Dyer (Lisa Kinchela) trace the brother who was taken away before she was born.

For the Dyers, Ben Lovell (Shane Conner) is "little Eddie", who has never been forgotten, and whose place in the community has always been kept. For Beth, Ben is her only living relative.

For Ben, the discovery that he has a white niece and an Aboriginal family shatters his world, for he has never been told that he is even adopted let alone where he comes from.

Coming to terms with this leads finally to a reunion with his mother Mary, with unexpected consequences for them all.

Episode 5

Written by Ro Hume and Bob Maza
Directed by Paul Faint
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • Lillian Crombie as Mary Dyer
  • Kevin Smith as Shorty Carmichael
  • Aaron Pedersen as Clarrie Carmichael
  • Auriel Andrew as Vi Murray
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • David Kennedy as Robert Sutton
  • Rachael Maza as Leila Sutton
  • Luke Carroll as Jason Sutton
  • Amy Miller-porter as Carly Sutton
  • Dwayne Buchanan as Toddler Sutton
  • Nicholas Papademetriou as Harry Bradshaw
  • Leanne Bundy as Robyn
  • Mark Saunders as Cliff
  • Kristopher Greaves as Kev
  • Caroline Glynn-Vidgen as Vicky Bradshaw
  • Phil Meacham as Constable
  • Brian Ellison as Alf Double
  • Bernie Ledger as Chris Double

Ricky comes back from the hospital to the cell, knowing that there is no way now to avoid being transferred to the city.

Alf makes one last try to convince him that the old ways will make him strong enough to endure this ordeal. With his grandfather’s help, Ricky looks deeply onto himself, and realises that he could not have killed Wilga without it being burnt into his memory.

ut if Ricky now is certain he is innocent, results of the forensic testing that Vincent expected to clear him in fact point even more strongly to is guilt. When Ricky is transferred to the city, all that Alf and Vincent have to sustain them is their belief that he will be cleared.

Life at Binbella is slowly returning to normal. Which for Robert Sutton (David Kennedy) and his wife Leila (Rachel Maza) means an on-going struggle with the problems caused by Robert’s drinking.

A loving family is nearly torn apart when Robert assaults a man in Brooklyn Waters. Robert realises that his drinking has led him to risk something far more frightening that losing his wife and children. He decides that he has to help himself…but he needs time to work in his problem.

As Vincent and Beth work with the community to make sure he gets that chance, Beth is brought face to face with the strength of the love that binds the family together. And she realises something. Over the weeks her feelings for Vincent have deepened into love. Her only problem now is how….and if… she should let him know.

Episode 6

Written by Nicholas Parsons
Directed by Julian Pringle
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • David Ngoombujarra as Mujadi Burunga
  • Judith Wilkes as Mum Burrunga
  • Franklyn Nannup as Joshua
  • Josie Lawford as Bronwyn
  • Steven Albert as Bowler
  • Lynley Narkle as Rachel
  • Sharon Wilkes as Fleur
  • Kyle Morrison as Oberon
  • Trevor Jamieson as Nobby
  • Andrea Ryan as Newborn Bab

As Vincent deals with the frustration that Ricky is in jail for a crime he probably didn’t commit, he is forced to face his personal inner turmoil…and is drawn back to Western Australia to confront the secrets of his past.

Beth goes with him on a journey into the world he came from, as Vincent returns to his family for the first time in seven years, and to the dry searing red plains near the sacred rock of Mt Augustus, the country to which he is linked in a way she cannot understand.

What Beth foresaw as a joyful family reunion turns out to be tense, and full of conflict, as Vincent’s brother Mujadi (David Moombunarra) and his mother and sister react with suspicion to his sudden return…and to Beth’s presence.

Her first shock is that Vincent left a wife and child behind when he abandoned his job as a Police Officer in the west. The second is realising that he feels responsible for his daughter’s sudden illness, and believes that only by undergoing the full punishment of traditional law can she be saved.

As Vincent is caught between "whitefella" law and "blackfella" law, knowing he must answer to both, Beth realises that the side of Vincent she came to love in Brooklyn Waters is only one part of him. And that the other side is stronger than she ever dreamed.

Episode 7

Written by John Cundill
Directed by Julian Pringle
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • David Ngoombujarra as Mujadi Burunga
  • Judith Wilkes as Mum Burrunga
  • Franklyn Nannup as Joshua
  • Josie Lawford as Bronwyn
  • Steven Albert as Bowler
  • Lynley Narkle as Rachel
  • Sharon Wilkes as Fleur
  • Kyle Morrison as Oberon
  • Trevor Jamieson as Nobby
  • Andrea Ryan as Newborn Baby

In the alien country of Mount Augustus, Beth is unable to bear the idea of Vincent undergoing the ritual punishment that he feels he must, in order to atone for his past breach of traditional law. which might cost his daughter her life. She feels that they are both trapped in a world that she cannot understand and when she cannot persuade him to leave with her, she feels she has no choice but to leave alone

This is not what Vincent wants, but he knows that he must confront what has happened in his past, before he can face any future.

Beth’s planned departure is foiled by Vincent’s mother and sister who lead her out into the desert with the women, their apparently innocent excursion keeping her well away from the "law business" that hangs over the day.

As they explore the country of Vincent’s childhood, Beth learns more about him and his people, and is drawn into a deeper acceptance of his ways.

When Vincent returns from the payback, the past is wiped clean, and now he is free to stay in his country with his people… if he wants to . And Beth can only hope that the feelings for her he is now able to acknowledge will be strong enough to draw him back with her.

Episode 8

Written by Ro Hume and Susan Macgillicuddy
Directed by Scott Hartford-Davis
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • Shane Connor as Ben Lovell
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Lisa Kinchela as Sally Dyer
  • Lillian Crombie as Mary Dyer
  • Auriel Andrew as Vi Murray
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • Rachael Maza as Leila Sutton
  • Luke Carroll as Jason Sutton
  • Genevieve Lemon as Fiona Lovell
  • Ali and Zoe Neill as Sherri Lovell
  • David Kaff as Steve Purcell
  • Beth Champion as Lucy Mitchel
  • Joel Emerton as Derek
  • Joshua Rosenthal as Baz Timms
  • Leanne Bundy as Robyn
  • Hugh Devaney as Frank
  • Jie Pittman as Mal

Beth and Vincent return from Western Australia, to find that their changed relationship is a source of unwelcome interest for everyone in the small town. What seemed so easy out west is much harder back in the everyday world of gossip and prejudice. But their hardest task is coming to terms with the different ways they look at the world.

When Mary dies, the community insists on approaching Ben Lovell with the news. Beth feels that his right to privacy must come first, Vincent feels that his obligations to his family outweigh his personal wishes.

Tension between them grows as Vincent’s visit to tell Ben of Mary’s death ends in apparent disaster, when he realises that Ben has not even told his wife Fiona (Genevieve Lemon) the truth about his past.

But Beth is forced to admit Vincent was right when Ben returns to the community, and is welcomed by Alf, Sally and the others, as he comes to accept the family he was taken from so long ago.

Vincent learns of another murder in a nearby town, and becomes convinced that this is linked with Wilga’s death. He comes under pressure from Phil for neglecting his work to compulsively follow a lead that is tenuous at best.

When Jason Sutton (Luke Carroll) is accused of stealing at school, Beth realises she is still an outsider, when her well meaning attempts to help cause Leila to turn on her.

Hurt and angry by Vincent’s apparent refusal to defend her to Leila, Beth decides that all she is risking by staying with him is further hurt. Her recent marriage break-up has convinced her that she doesn’t need any more pain, and what starts as a seemingly small quarrel ends with them deciding that the only sensible course is to call it quits.

Episode 9

Written by Ro Hume
Directed by Scott Hartford-Davis
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • Shane Connor as Ben Lovell
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Lisa Kinchela as Sally Dyer
  • Aaron Pedersen as Clarrie Carmichael
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • David Kennedy as Robert Sutton
  • Rachael Maza as Leila Sutton
  • Luke Carroll as Jason Sutton
  • Genevieve Lemon as Fiona Lovell
  • Ali and Zoe Neill as Sherri Lovell
  • Leanne Bundy as Robyn
  • Harold Hopkins as Jim

Putting their failed relationship behind them, Beth and Vincent throw themselves into their own concerns. Trying to ignore how much they miss each other.

Vincent discovers likes between a string of murders and assaults throughout the state that convince him that Wilga’s real killer is not only still free, but still active. He puts his job at risk trying to draw the loose threads together into a pattern that will lead to Ricky being freed.

To Fiona’s growing dismay, Ben throws himself into his newly discovered Aboriginality. Determined to use his skills to help his people, he persuades the Binbilla people to revive a failed Aboriginal business, not knowing there are several people around who aren’t happy to see interest focused on a forgotten failure.

His friend John Thompson (John Sheerin) is a bureaucrat who tries to advise him to leave well enough alone, but Ben is determined to strengthen his ties with his new family, and forges ahead.

Even an arson attack on the boat-yard doesn’t slow him down. But as the truth comes out as to who wanted the financial affairs of the boat-yard forever, Ben realises that the past cannot be changed, no matter how much he wants it to be wiped out, and winds up lost between two worlds…the one he was taken from and the one he grew up in.

Beth decides it’s time to take charge of her life again, and to return to the city. When Vincent learns she is going, he realises that the thought of life without her is harder to face than any problems they have to overcome… and makes a last ditch effort to persuade her to stay.

Episode 10

Written by Nicholas Parsons
Directed by Paul Faint
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Jeremy Sims as Garth Maddern
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • Lydia Miller as Nerida
  • Warren Owens as Les
  • Zoe Carides as Shelley
  • Rhoda Roberts as Dionne
  • Bill McPherson as Errol Hannigan
  • Robert Alexander as Professor Last
  • Ray Kelly as Pete
  • Kristy Shaw as Producer's Assistant
  • Nicholas Reid as Mal
  • Edwina Bishop as Police Constable

Vincent, Beth, Alf and Chris go to the city to pursue Ricky’s case. Vincent and Beth stay in Beth’s house, believing that Garth (Jeremy Simms), her estranged husband, is away on business. He arrives home unexpectedly, and there is the beginning of some tension between Beth, Vincent and Garth.

Vincent pushes Ricky’s case with Nerida Watson (Lydia Miller), the Aboriginal Legal Service Solicitor. He questions Frank Delaney (Hugh Devaney), the man he believes is responsible for the murder, and succeeds in eliciting a verbal confession. Nerida agrees to approach the Director Public Prosecution for bail. Alf and Chris stay at a Hostel for Aboriginal prisoners, run by Les (Warren Owens) an old mate of Alf’s. Attitudes of older Aboriginals compared with the young are explores through Alf and Les and Chris and Dianne (Rhode Roberts), Les’ assistant at the Centre. Chris is encouraged to try out for a Football team, and is invited by the coach to join the training squad.

Episode 11

Written by Andrew Kelly and John Cundill
Directed by Paul Faint
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Lydia Miller as Nerida Watson
  • Jeremy Sims as Garth Maddern
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • Warren Owens as Les
  • Zoe Carides as Shelley
  • Rhoda Roberts as Dionne
  • David Wenham as Warwick Bone
  • Bill McPherson as Errol Hannigan
  • Robert Alexander as Professor Last
  • Hugh Devaney as Frank Delaney
  • Tony Barry as Prison Officer 1
  • Ray Kelly as Pete
  • Kristy Shaw as Producer's Assistant
  • Nicholas Reid as Mal

Vincent and Nerida succeed in doing a deal with the D.P.P. to get Ricky bail, but are foiled when Garth broadcasts details on air.

Beth is tempted to stay in the city by Garth’s offer to produce a TV show he has been offered, but changes her mind when he ruins Ricky’s chance of bail.

Chris tells Alf he has been invited to join the football team. Alf disapproves, but relents when he realises Ricky will not be released.

Episode 12

Written by Ro Hume and Ernie Dingo
Directed by Kate Woods
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • Kerry Walker as Sylvia
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • Lisa Kinchela as Sally Dyer
  • Kevin Smith as Shorty Carmichael
  • Aaron Pedersen as Clarrie Carmichael
  • Auriel Andrew as Vi Murray
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • David Kennedy as Robert Sutton
  • Rachael Maza as Leila Sutton
  • Luke Carroll as Jason Sutton
  • Leanne Bundy as Robyn
  • Harold Hopkins as Jim
  • Gary Waddell as Lennie
  • Bill Mcpherson as Errol Hannigan
  • Tony Barry as Escort Officer
  • Darren Yap as Dr Nguyen
  • Mark Fitzgerald as Dennis

After Ricky’s bail application unexpectedly fails, Vincent, Alf and Beth return from the city without him to everyone’s disappointment.

Feeling he has let everyone down, Vincent starts going over and over the evidence again, desperate to find something - anything - that will prove the truth of Ricky’s innocence and see him free.

Realising that her old life in the city doesn’t fit anymore, Beth sets about defining a new life for herself in Brooklyn Waters, but this proves more difficult than she thought, as she realises the full implications of her relationship with Vincent how much the way she looks at life has changed.

Alf has lost faith in Vincent’s ability to help "his boy". And he’s lost Chris too, who’s stayed in the city chasing his dreams of football glory. The strain of the past months finally lead to a collapse, which doctors at the hospital cannot understand or cure.

Episode 13

Written by Ro Hume and Ernie Dingo
Directed by Kate Woods
Starring
  • Ernie Dingo as Vincent Burunga
  • Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Ashton
  • Bob Maza as Alf Dyer
  • Justine Saunders as Millie Carmichael
  • Steven Vidler as Phil McCarthy
  • John Polson as Patrick
  • Kerry Walker as Sylvia
  • Paul Caesar as Macka Hargraves
  • Bradley Byquar as Ricky Dyer
  • Lisa Kinchela as Sally Dyer
  • Kevin Smith as Shorty Carmichael
  • Aaron Pedersen as Clarrie Carmichael
  • Auriel Andrew as Vi Murray
  • Wes Patten as Chris Dyer
  • David Kennedy as Robert Sutton
  • Rachael Maza as Leila Sutton
  • Luke Carroll as Jason Sutton
  • Leanne Bundy as Robyn
  • Harold Hopkins as Jim
  • Gary Waddell as Lennie
  • Bill Mcpherson as Errol Hannigan
  • Tony Barry as Escort Officer
  • Darren Yap as Dr Nguyen
  • Mark Fitzgerald as Dennis

Fearing he will die the family gathers. Even Ricky is allowed a compassionate visit, and it is while they are all gathered together at their lowest point that Vincent discovers the final unexpected piece of the puzzle, which answers once and for all who killed Wilga Carmichael, and sees Ricky finally cleared.

But Vincent’s struggles with the system aren’t over. His career is put on the line when he is accused of beating up a white prisoner under his care in the cells. Discouraged, he resigns, only to realise when Ricky is re-arrested, that opting out of the system is not the way to change things.

Furious at this injustice, the people of Binbilla make a defiant stand against authority, not knowing that the chaos they precipitate will lead to the death of a staunch ally.