Stingers: articles

Show of the Week

Stingers (Series Return) (M)

9.30pm Tuesday Feb 5 NINE

Fans have been on tenterhooks since their favourite undercover cop drama left our screens late last year—but this week's series return makes up for lost time. Now in its fifth season, Stingers enjoys a dedicated, if low key following that has kept it afloat, while other more high profile cop shows (Nine stablemate Water Rats, for example) have floundered. For some reason, Stingers retains its moniker as the 'best kept secret' on Australian TV. However, with this explosive series return, and some tight and original writing, it doesn't look like that tag will apply for too much longer.

One of the most endearing qualities of Stingers is that there is a small, tight knit cluster of characters that have remained a solid entity throughout the show's history—Peter Phelps, Anita Hegh, Kate Kendall, Roxane Wilson and Ian Stenlake—who all return for this series. However, there are downsides to having only five characters week-to-week. For starters, Peter Church (Phelps) has done the horizontal tango with all the females on the show bar one (not for lack of trying). But that's all part of his charm—which Danni (Wilson) has obviously fallen for.

Last season's cliffhanger revealed that Danni and Church's extra-curricular activities resulted in an unexplained bun-in-the-oven, and now the unlikely couple must decide what to do. Matters are not helped by the fact Church is now responsible for the homicide unit. Disgruntled ex Ellen McKenzie (Hegh) is less-than-impressed, but that is the least of her problems—as she is forced to tackle an elaborate smear campaign against her. When is this chick going to get a break? If her boyfriend's not getting blown up, she's having AIDS scares, or struggling to break the police boy's club. Oscar Stone (Stenlake) once again puts his pelvis before his job, and fraternises with an informer, while one-time love interest Angie (Kendall) is led into the world of hard drugs by her addict sister. It's certainly all happening.

Series 2002 looks set to explore the human side to our favourite undercover piglets, with storylines offering further insights into their tormented lives. Rather than guessing what they are like from the cars they drive (which, as fans will know has been the deepest indication of a personality thus far—Danni has a bomb, Pete drives a hotted-up WRX), we will step inside their homes, their relationships and their brawls. We can hardly wait.

January 30, 2002