Stingers: about

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Based on the career experiences of real life ex-stinger Guy Wilding, STINGERS is a drama series about the police officers who swap identities as casually as most of us change T-shirts. But, as actors and (sometimes) the psychotic know all too well, segueing from alter ego to alter ego can have unpredictable consequences.

For the highly-skilled elite police agents portrayed in STINGERS, exchanging their own true identity for one criminal identity after another also carries a multitude of risks to themselves and their colleagues: of being unmasked, endangered or compromised; of being corrupted and turned into a renegade.

Today, as information technology — computers, mobile telephony, the Internet, miniaturization — spreads across every facet of contemporary life, any chance of success in the ongoing war against crime calls for covert police operatives equipped with the latest technological weapons available.

The one area where the Stingers have the upper hand is their unrivalled talent for going behind enemy lines sometimes armed with little more than high-tech covert surveillance gadgetry. Hoodwinking hoods and other rascals into believing they’re also members of the lawless fraternity comes as second nature to the Stingers, a select squad of con artists, liars and impostors — but only during working hours, of course.

The men and women of the Undercover Unit work in the most murky and dangerous of all occupations. No one uses the name they were born with. It’s safer that way. And their rules are so removed from the rest of the police service that few can relate to what they do. Their world is one of constant tension and betrayal. Yet it clearly has strong attractions to a select few — and undercover operatives say it can become addictive.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bernardo Rocca (Joe Petruzzi), Detective Sergeant Ellen ‘Mac’ Mackenzie (Anita Hegh), Detective Constable Angie Piper (Kate Kendall), Detective Constable Oscar Stone (Ian Stenlake), are the STINGERS.

Hardboiled with a soft center sums up craggy Detective Senior Constable Peter Church. His can-do attitude impresses his superiors while partners rely on his broad shoulders — for muscle or sympathy — when the going gets tough. Has little trouble convincing crooks he’s as dangerous as they are.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bernardo Rocca, or Bernie as the team calls him, leads the Undercover Unit. A veteran police officer and family man, Rocca coordinates the various ongoing ‘Stings’ and directs his staff with a sound mix of head and heart.

With a B.A. Honors in Criminology to her credit Detective Sergeant Ellen ‘Mac’ Mackenzie brings a keen analytic mind to her job. Unafraid to mix it with the best (and worst) when the chips are down, Mac’s wily powers of persuasion could sell sand on Bondai Beach.

Detective Constable Angie Piper’s apparently extrovert nature belies her sensitive soul. A classic, athletic Ozzie blonde, Piper has romantic rogues eating out of her hand before she lands one with her fist.

What the team ‘techie’, Detective Constable Oscar Stone, doesn’t know about various specialized gizmos and other assorted toys of the trade, probably isn’t worth knowing. His clean-cut looks also make him a natural for undercover missions that involve presenting himself as a reputable member of the professional middle classes. 

“STINGERS turns the concept of the police show inside out,” says Roger Simpson who developed the project for television. With partner Roger Le Mesurier, Simpson created the internationally successful HALIFAX f.p., and the acclaimed series GOOD GUYS BAD GUYS and SOMETHING IN THE AIR. The tension and suspense in STINGERS depend not on the investigation, but on the “sting” — where the criminals are caught through the deception of a cop they thought was one of them.

STINGERS is shot on film in “The Crimplex” — Beyond Simpson Le Mesurier’s Abbotsford studio, and on location throughout Melbourne’s inner suburbs. Since its debut in 1998, the series has been sold to a host of territories around the world including France, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Netherlands, Turkey and Egypt.