Phoenix: series one

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A car bomb explodes outside a Police Club celebration at the town hall. There are no clues and the motive is unknown. The Major Crime Squad is under pressure to track down the bombers before they strike again. Emotions, loyalties and ethics are strained to breaking point as the trail runs into repeated dead ends and the bombers play cat and mouse with Operation Phoenix.

Top Quality Crims

Episode 1.01
Australia: February 13, 1992
Written by Alison Nisselle
Directed by Julian McSwiney
Guest Cast:
  • Joy Hruby as Fat Alice
  • Simon Wilton as Barry Fletcher
  • David Bradshaw as Fluff
  • Don Bridges as Dave Turner
  • Christopher Stevenson as Johnny Mercer
  • Kevin Summers as Toohey
  • Dominic Sweeney as Wheels
  • George Vidalis as Mick
  • Denis Moore as Prosecutor
  • Patrick Moffat as Magistrate
  • Bob Stevenson as Judge
  • Geoff Wallis as Taffy
  • Vince D'Amico as Rozano
  • John Benton as Defence Counsel
  • Zac Wallace as Maori
  • Dorothy O'Neil as Super's Wife
  • Tim Bell as Local CID
  • Greg Glendinning as Snr Constable
  • Elizabeth Crockett as Girl
  • Glenn Perry as Accountant
  • Norman Steiner as Office Manager
  • Desiree Smith as Dave's Wife
  • Norm Barkell as Ron Mercer

Phoenix begins with the Major Crime Squad investigating a number of armed hold-ups. The main suspect is John Mercer a member of one of Melbourne's leading criminal families.

It is clear from the start that Inspector Jock Brennan is from the old school, a tough copper who lets nothing ruffle him. His dead-pan reply to Superintendent Wallace's advice that the brass are concerned about the Majors looking like thugs; "tell the big girls upstairs to piss off" is a classic, and his open disdain for forensic scientist Ian "Goose" Cochran is rooted in an old style of policing; "only a fool trusts that which he's not equipped to question." It will be some time before Jock will come to trust and respect the abilities of the Goose.

As the Majors wind up their investigation Jock receives his divorce papers and attends the Police Club "Christmas in July Ball". Shortly after arriving, a huge explosion occurs which will provide the focus for the rest of the series.