State Coroner: profiles

Wendy Hughes as Kate Ferrari — State Coroner

Wendy Hughes

Multi-award winning Australian actress, Wendy Hughes, stars as the State Coroner, Kate Ferrari.

Wendy graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in 1970 and from that moment has been in constant demand in Australia in theatre, television and film.Wendy spent four years in America where she starred with Kevin Kline in the movie Princess Caraboo, as co-lead in Two Shades of Blue, in Happy New Year with Peter Falk and received co-lead television roles in Donor, The Heist with Pierce Brosnan, mini-series Amerika with Kris Kristofferson, Star Trek, Homicide — A Year On The Street, and A Woman Named Jackie.

Wendy is well-known in Australia for her many roles including Jilly in Return to Eden, Vanessa in Careful He Might Hear You, Patricia in Lonely Hearts, and of course, Aunt Helen in My Brilliant Career. She has been seen most recently on our television screens as Kathleen in The Man From Snowy River. An acclaimed actress, Wendy has won many prestigious awards including the Australian Film Institute's Best Actress for Careful He Might Hear You and a Logie Award for Best Actress in a Supporting role for Power Without Glory.

Former law-lecturer, ex-magistrate and the newly-appointed State Coroner. Intelligent, attractive, unafraid of authority. Willing to exercise her own powers, but conscious of the welfare of those appearing in her court. Kate has a good grasp of the law, a weak stomach for autopsies, and a firm sense of humour. Mother of Claire, 19, and about to be separated from lawyer-husband Hugh.

Kate's appointment comes as rather a surprise to both her and the more conservative elements within the government and police, who expected former Deputy Coroner Clive Trimble to get the job. As a result, Kate faces certain hostility from day one. It is to her credit that over time, Kate is able to turn that hostility into grudging respect for her capability and independence, though she will always be the target of the negligent and incompetent. Not necessarily a born leader, Kate is able to form close and at times personal relationships to varying degrees with each of her staff and colleagues and build a dedicated team. In particular she adapts Kelso's initial vision of a coroner to become her own — that of a coroner being a positive force within society, seeking to reduce unnecessary and unnatural death wherever possible.

Bob Baines as Clive Trimble — Deputy Coroner

Bob Baines

For a person who says he "fell" into acting while intending to become a Naval Officer, Bob's acting career is now in its twenty-sixth year, since his graduation from Flinders Drama Centre in Adelaide.

Bob travelled with a touring company in Queensland in 1987 for six months on the road working sixteen hour days and believes this was his real graduation — a post gradution in acting.

He has played many roles in theatre and television productions, but he says he is most proud of his role as Lucky Eric in Bouncers, as the Narrator in Blood Brothers, and as Doug in the television production Malpractice. His film career is also one to be proud of with successes such as The Sum Of Us and Evil Angels to name a few.

Bob, who has played many lawyers, judges and Queen's Counsels, is very comfortable in his role as Deputy Coroner Trimble in STATE CORONER.

Trimble is an experienced ex-magistrate, having worked his way up from Clerk of Courts. Bitterly hurt by Kate's appointment over him, he grudgingly comes to respect her ability as a Coroner.

Trimble comes from the old school of coronial practice, where the Coroner's task is essentially to determine the who, what and when of death, a view shared by many police and indeed lawyers. Trimble regards Kate's notions of grouping various types of death such as police shootings or hospital fatalities as trendy, though he would privately admit the worth of say, a tractor-death study.

Trimble's strength lies in his experience, his commonsense, his perception of human nature and fallibility, and his curiosity. Trimble can be like a dog looking for a bone; he keeps digging if he gets the slightest scent of something. Although mates with a number of police, a result of his days as a magistrate's clerk, Trimble is quite able to condemn the rotten apple where required.

Elaine Smith as Dr. Julie Travers — Forensic Pathologist

Elaine Smith

Born in Scotland and raised in the U.K., South Africa and Australia, Elaine began her professional acting career with the Western Australian Theatre-in-Education team after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Curtin University in Perth.

After moving to Melbourne in 1984, Elaine joined the original cast of the successful television series Neighbours playing the role of Daphne Lawrence/Clarke for three years. While in Neighbours, Elaine received a Penguin Award and several Logie nominations. Since leaving the series, Elaine has become a familiar face on television and in theatre, working in both Australia and England.

Most recently she played the role of Debbie in the 1995 national tour of Elizabeth Coleman's It's My Party (And I'll Die If I Want To), Mrs. Lyons in the 1994 Australia/New Zealand tour of Blood Brothers. On television other credits include the role of Dr. Sissy Wetherall in the final series of The Flying Doctors and lead roles in the mini-series The Paper Man and Ratbag Hero. Guest appearances include G.P., A Country Practice, Bay City, Time Trax, The Flying Doctors and Carson's Law.

Dr. Julie Travers is the Chief Pathologist attached to the State Coroner's Office. Experienced, intelligent and forthright, she is challenged by her job, attentive to detail and driven by the belief that she can "speak for the dead to save the living". Well-educated, Julie has travelled extensively to study and has dedicated her life to the science of forensic pathology.

She enjoys and is a great advocate of working as part of a team, giving 100% to the Coroner's Office, and expecting the same of others with whom she works. Julie doesn't suffer fools, but is sociable and easy going. She quickly befriends Kate, and admires Kate's achievement in being appointed State Coroner.

Julie's devotion to her profession has been at the expense of her person life. She is perhaps slightly insecure about being in her mid-thirties and without a steady relationship in her life.

Christopher Stollery as Dermot McLeod — Detective Sergeant

Christopher Stollery

A graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Christopher has spent the last nine years doing what he loves best and as he said "as long as I can remember, I have wanted to become an actor".

Christopher has had many roles in theatre, one of his most memorable times was when he was travelling around the country with Bell Shakespeare Companyplaying anything from Hamlet to Macduff. Apart from theatre, Christopher has a long list of credits from Australian television, the role of Johnno from The Flying Doctors took him to Europe for promotion, where he has fond memories of being mobbed in the streets of Holland.

Christopher has also spent a valuable amount of time in the heart of Australia's Kimberley region with the Aboriginal Medical Service teaching the locals theatre production, where he says he learnt more from the Aboriginals than they from him — "their family values are so strong, we can all learn a lot from these people".

Ex-arson, temporarily assigned to homicide for the State Justice Commission bombing. Tall, good-looking, quietly capable. After an unfortunate start with Kate, he will eventually take over the Coronial Police Unit. McLeod is the sort of man who would rather do something than talk about it. He retains a quiet sense of humour and a natural police suspicion of barristers.

Fit and intelligent, McLeod followed a family tradition of police service and soon established a record of experience in drugs, arson, homicide and crown prosecution. While settling into his role as Coroner's Assistant — someone who presents and also examines inquest witnesses — McLeod is still a policeman and enjoys the initial leg-work where necessary and occasionally catching crooks, even if his new job sometimes does bring him into conflict with his former police colleagues.

Nick Carrafa as George Cardillo — Senior Coroner's Clerk

Nick Carrafa

Nick graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts at the age of twenty-one. His first major role was in Beyond Therapy at Melbourne's Playbox Theatre. Nick is a well-known face both in the theatrical and television world and has had many roles in Australian film. Nick says the highlights of his career include the lead role of Claude in Hair, two series of Acropolis Now as Alfredo, and his on-going role as Tony Romeo in Australia's longest running soaps Neighbours.

Senior Coroner's Clerk. Australian born, of Italian parents. Warm and shrewd, George is responsible for the day to day running of the Coroner's Courts and the office and for the preparation of inquest briefs. Married, with a first child due during the first series, George is a passionate family man.

After ten years as a Clerk of Court in various magistrates' bailiwicks in both the city and country, George was posted to the Coroner's Court and immediately found his niche. A popular manager, his understanding of human nature enables him to deal equally well with grieving relatives and stressed colleagues.

Often serving as Kate's "arms and legs" within the office, and possessing a wide network of contacts, there is little within the courts or police jurisdiction that George is not aware of.

Elise McCredie as Sharon Riley — Coroner's clerk

Elise McCredie

Sharon, 24, deals with investigations and court hearings. Rides a 1000 cc motorbike, drinks, single, likes to party. As the series progresses, she and Trimble strike up an unlikely friendship and become close, like father and daughter.

Kristian Pithie as Paul Weiss — Coroner's clerk

Kristian Pithie

Dark, shy but surprisingly capable when handling grieving relatives. Currently studying law. Single, will be a late bloomer.

Chris Gabardi as Daniel Ferris — Senior Constable

Chris Gabardi

A graduate of NIDA in 1991, Christopher has played numerous theatrical roles and has appeared in series such as Blue Healers, Banjo Patterson's The Man From Snowy River and GP. As well as drama, Christopher has made his mark as a comedy actor in Hey Dad and as a co-star with Annie Jones in over 50 episodes the Crawfords sit-com Newlyweds.

A hard-working, ambitious, young cop whose insight into human nature grows over the series. He is sunny-natured, ready to put himself out for his colleagues and even the clients of the SCO — the ones who strike his fancy anyway.

Asher Keddie as Claire Ferrari

Asher Keddie

As a young actor, Asher Keddie has appeared in a surprising number of productions. Her series roles include Good Guys Bad Guys, Simone De Beauvoirs Babies, Blue Heelers, Law of the Land, Five Mile Creek, Janus, Dusty and now State Coroner. Asher has also appeared in an episode of the Crawfords telemovie The Feds, the mini-series The Last Frontier and Glass Babies and the features The Bear, Two Brothers Running and Fortress.

Kate's daughter. Pretty, vital girl, studying 2nd year arts-law. Initially blames Kate for the bust-up but will become reconciled to her parents' separation. Still embarking upon life. Sometimes takes Kate for granted, but no more so than any other teenager. Has just moved out of home into a shared student house.

James Reyne as Liam Pearse

James Reyne

Things have always come easily to Liam. He is not only smart but also very insightful. That is why he is so good in court. He can read a witness or an opposing barrister and work out both their human weakness and weaknesses in their story. Liam is very good at picking up lies, omissions and deceits. The best barristers fabricate their cases from a mixture of their clients' testimony and their own conjecture. How else can they square the "truth" their client is uttering with the "truth" the prosecution is uttering? iam works so hard at persuading the court that his vision is the true one, because he loves changing people's minds.

When he sees Kate in the foyer of their apartment block, he wants to change her mind as well but she is taking no notice of him and he wants to change that. However, Kate is a harder nut to crack than anybody before her.

Andrew Clarke as Colin Decker — Detective Sergeant

Andrew Clarke

Two time Logie Award winner for Best Actor, Andrew Clarke plays Detective Sergeant Colin Decker.

Andrew is a NIDA graduate and has also completed a Bachelor of Education in Drama at Flinders University. Not only is Andrew a widely celebrated actor but he has also performed in the Operetta Land of Smiles for the State Opera Company of South Australia and appeared in the musicals Norman Lindsay, Paint Your Wagon, Oliver and Errol Flynn.

His theatre credits include the classics Macbeth and A Winter's Tale as well as the popular Arsenic and Old Lace, The Cherry Orchard, Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Glass Menagerie, The Devil's Advocate, Waiting for the Godot and Under Milkwood to name only a few.

Andrew played Simon Templar 'The Saint' in the NBC film The Saint In Manhattan, and the lead character Bill in the CBS film Outback Bound. He is also well known for his Australian television roles as the lead Martin Harrington in The Anzacs and Tony Lawrence in Sword of Honor, both lead roles winning him Australian television's Logie awards as Best Actor.

Appearing in over twenty Australian television series, Andrew has been seen in the role of Matt McGregor where he co-starred with Wendy Hughes in the televison series Banjo Patterson's The Man From Snowy River. They have again been reunited on the screen in this the second series of State Coroner.

Colin has a monkey on his back. His partner was shot while they were attempting to arrest a petty drug punk known to them both. Colin had his gun drawn but didn't fire since the punk was known not to be violent. The shooting wasn't fatal and Colin's partner didn't blame him — but his colleagues did.

Colin was the senior cop — he shouldn't have put his subordinate in danger. Either he should have taken the bullet or better still, the punk should have been the one shot. Colin took leave and when he returned he had lost both his nerve and his status. He wanted to be as far away from the front line as possible so he applied for a job with the Accident Investigation Section, a far cry from the expected career path of this extremely bright detective who looked headed for the top.

Colin was seconded to the SCO to investigate a road death and almost inadvertently he became attached to the Coronial Police Unit. But he makes things difficult for people at the SCO, because not only is he trying to prove something to them, but deep-down he is trying to prove something to himself. That's why he works the long hours, keeps on people's tails, shakes all the trees twice.