Young Lions: articles

Eddie, you shot the wrong guy

DETECTIVE Eddie Mercia kneels before the priest and confesses to shooting a criminal. We don't hear what penance he is given but it should be significant. Fifty Hail Marys as an absolute minimum, I would think, because Eddie you got the wrong guy.

Malouf the bank robber and cop killer deserved to die, no question, but if only you'd shot the writers of Young Lions instead, your place as a hero in television's Hall of Fame would have been assured.

Young Lions is the next Big Thing from the Nine network, an expensive police drama set in Sydney's mythical Southwest Police Station where Detective Eddie, aka Alex Dimitriades, looks sharp in $1000 suits and frowns a lot.

He's got plenty to frown about because next Wednesday's two-hour premiere episode doesn't cut it.

Not that all is lost. I would think that the execution of a few writers in front of the cast and crew in the network's Sydney car park would probably put the series on course.

As Young Lions opens, Donna Parry, country copper, is heading for Sodom by the Sea for her first experience of big city police work.

Before she leaves, however, she manages to nab a brace of robbers in a slapstick scene reminiscent of The Keystone Kops, giving rise to the false hope that Young Lions was not to be a serious police drama at all but rather a send-up of the genre.

Five seconds after she gets off the bus in Sydney, her suitcase is stolen and it is here that the first strident notes of alarm ring forth.

She's moved to Sydney to start a new job to, in the words of the synopsis, "to break free from her country cop past" and the sum total of her luggage is one small suitcase?

Regardless, all her world's possessions (which must amount to two changes of clothes and three tissues) are gone, so you would then use your credit cards to buy a new wardrobe, would you not?

Not if you're Detective Donna who goes straight to work from the bus station and wears the same clothes for several days.

"I'm Donna Parry and I'm kinda sexy," she says to the camera.

Perhaps, but not as sexy as you would be if you bought a change of underwear, Donna.

Still, there's no time to waste, because she's teamed up with Detective Eddie who's off to break up a race riot between Lebanese and Vietnamese gangs.

Eddie is Lebanese himself but, it transpires, he's not needed for Donna charges in, has a woman-to-woman chat with the girl over whom the guys are fighting and everything is fine. End of crisis.

Amazing. The country copper's been in town for an hour and already she has the solution to the conflict among Sydney's gangs.

All it takes is some no nonsense girl-to-girl talk from a down-to-earth country copper and peace will reign.

You're wasting your time in Sydney, Donna. They need you out at Woomera.

Meanwhile, back at the station we have the usual suspects.

There's the stern, sensible female commander with hair and make-up to match, the swaggering, leering detective who obviously is corrupt, the internal investigations detective who sweats at the wrong moments and whose suits cost as much as one of Eddie's socks, the bad boy criminal with the heart-of-gold girlfriend, a tough female lawyer who fancies Eddie and the smiling, blonde loveliness of sexy Donna who specialises in kicking men in the groin. Aaaaggh!

And Alex Dimitriades, who may have watched one too many Al Pacino movies.

Young Lions has potential, but is badly in need of a reality transfusion.

Young Lions, Channel 9, Wednesday 8.30pm

Mike O'Connor on TV
July 11, 2002
The Courier Mail