Underbelly: articles

Jodie Gordon

Actress Jodie Gordon portrays Kylie Keogh in Underbelly - Badness. Keogh was the Senior Media Officer at NSW Police Force between 2003 and 2010 and worked with Tuno among other strikeforces.

Underbelly - Behind the Badness

DURING my seven years as the Senior Media Officer at the NSW Police Force I became part of Strike Force Tuno, on which the latest installment of Underbelly is based. While the crooks became nothing more to me than a faceless mob that were the tireless focus of more than a decade of unrelenting, passionate police work, I came to know the detectives well.

And this series captures them beautifully.

Like my portrayal by actress Jodie Gordon in this mesmerising crime drama series, my role in Tuno was small. The true heroes were the detectives who at times worked through the night, who gave up time with their families, who put their lives on the line to ensure that brothers Anthony and Andrew Perish were brought to justice for their involvement in the gruesome murder of Terry Falconer. And the rest.

Even as I sat nervously watching the first episode for what was to come, I found myself drawn into the complex web of evil investigated by Tuno. One of the early scenes when "Decker" (names in the series changed due to legal reasons) and his offsider posed as detectives at the mechanic's workshop in Ingleburn to "talk" to Falconer who was on day release from prison, I thought "who are those detectives?"

I had forgotten that Falconer's demise was initiated by criminals posing as police. It was stark reminder of the audaciousness of this criminal network that remained underground if not for the persistence of Tuno detectives Inspector Gary Jubelin, Sergeant Glen Browne, former Senior Constable Jason Evers, (then) Senior Constable Luke Rankin and Sergeant Nigel Warren. Tuno had a couple of incarnations over ten years but this was the strike force that started one of the biggest murder investigation in Australia's history.

I never met the crooks, I just organised the media strategy around their investigation and capture so can't comment on the likeness of character in their portrayal. But actor Matt Nable absolutely nails Jubelin. He is the world's most serious man when the job's on. His dogged focus borders on obsession - he didn't get the name "crazy f*ck" for nothing. One mutual detective friend quipped that in Jubelin's downtime on an away job he "reads the investigation brief backwards while doing push ups on his knuckles".

Yes Jubelin does head stands in the office to relax, yes he shadow boxes and does Qu Gong for his anger management issues and yes he owns white fluffy dog. And it's true Tuno hit more brick walls than most detectives would have endured - the electronic surveillance stuff-up in episode three was fair dinkum as was Jubes driving at 10km hour with a pipe bomb in the boot. And their commander's explosive reaction wasn't far off the mark either.

It's also true that Detective Evers (since left the force) had the best one-liners, as in asking the bikies if their illegal porn shoot was for Tropfest in episode 1. While Rankin (known as Spankin) was the intermediary when arguments heated up between Jubelin and, well, everyone (see episodes 1-8).

And the relationship created between Jubelin and the informant (known as Frank O'Rourke in the series and played magnificently by Aaron Jeffrey) is honest. At their essence both men want to do good but just took different paths earlier on in their lives.

The reaction I have heard personally about this Underbelly series is that it's about time the police were shown to be doing the job that makes a difference to us all. That they're not bent, stupid, second rate, careless and pissweak as portrayed in other series. That each day they stump up to do the things that none of us would. And there's no better example of that than Strikeforce Tuno.

One of the country's most senior homicide detectives from NSW Police Force declared to me recently that "Tuno is the best job I have ever seen". And so far at episode three, this Underbelly is the best one Nine has screened as it finally shows who the good guys are.

Kylie Keogh was the Senior Media Officer at NSW Police Force between 2003 and 2010 and worked with Tuno among other strikeforces.

By Kylie Keogh
August 30, 2012
News Limited Network