RESCUE Special Ops: articles

Underbelly criminals to Rescue: Special Ops heroes… Les Hill and Daniel Amalm.

From serial sinners to saviours

The thugs and killers of Underbelly have switched sides and will play police rescue officers and the men they save in a new crime drama for the Nine Network.

Seven actors who played gangsters, killers and thieves in the successful underworld series have signed on for Rescue: Special Ops, now in production.

"We've gone from killers to saviours," said Daniel Amalm, who starred as hitman Dino Dibra in the first season of Underbelly but is now in police uniform as rescue officer Jordan Zwitkowski.

"Even our weapons of choice have changed. We've not using revolvers or shotguns any more; now it's the jaws of life."

One of Amalm's on-screen colleagues is Les Hill, who played murdered drug baron Jason Moran in Underbelly. Hill will play officer Dean Gallagher.

Also playing either police or those in need of their help are Gyton Grantley (Underbelly season one's Carl Williams), Damien Walshe-Howling (who played murderer Benji Veniamin) and Tim McCunn and Martin Dingle-Wall (Underbelly 2's standover men Brian and Les Kane).

"And it's not just the cast, either," Amalm said. "We've got the same directors and crew. Underbelly was a great story with a lot of layers and that really gave us a lot of room to show what we could do."

Also coming from Underbelly is Peter Phelps, who is playing logistics officer Vince Marchello. Gary Sweet plays Hill's father.

"It's a great script, with a lot of meat on it for us to get stuck into," Amalm said. "There's a lot of action in every episode, with cutting into cars to get people out, abseiling down cliffs … plus a lot of drama between the characters."

By Scott Ellis
June 28, 2009
The Sun-Herald