Most of the foreign, crime TV series that appear on Netflix or Hulu are from the dark, snow-clad shores of our Nordic brethren. At the top of the list are Wallander and Lisbeth Salander.
At the heart of a lot of these dramas is the hero/detective as a misfit. This idea of a hero/misfit dates back at least as far as Sherlock Holmes, a pipe-smoking, cocaine-addicted, sartorially-challenged private detective who never seems to have any emotions other than those he saves for the hunt - Watson! The game is afoot!
Now, a world away from the aurora borealis, comes a crime drama from Australia, The Code.
Ned Banks (Dave Spielman) is a web journalist working for an online newspaper that can barely keep afloat. He has a complicated personal life, with an ongoing affair with a political operative, Sophie Walsh (Chelsie Preston Crayford), and a brother, Jesse ( Ashley Zukerman) who is the hero/outsider of the series. Jesse suffers from - it's not clear - he's just cuckoo, a screw is missing, mad as a hatter, unhinged, out to lunch, lights on but no one's home and whatever else you would call a guy in his late 20's early 30's who has never been with a woman, has no idea how to talk to someone, but - BUT, is one of the great hackers in the world. He's so good, he was arrested for hacking and promised not to do it any longer; however, without hs hacking ability, there is no The Code. So much for promises from crazy hackers.
The online things are shown on the screen a la the recent british production of Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. It makes for a fast pace and with the Aussie dialect, I advise keeping the closed captions on for this one.
The plot is, at first, a mystery. A young girl and her boyfriend (he is driving) get hit by a big truck. She ends up dead while he escapes, but suffers severe lung injuries. What happened? The boyfriend's cell phone recorded it all, but the video is not clear. Ned gets ahold of it and asks his brother to help him clean up the video, but, suddenly, the nerdy Jesse is busy for a reason that seems unlikely - he has a girlfriend, Hani (Adele Perovic). She can hack, too. It's a romance built on the thrill of uncovering a coded message and getting into virtual places you are not welcome.
Meanwhile, the powers that be in the Australian capital (go ahead, take a guess before you look it up) have a problem with a cabinet minister who is shown in photos have a fight with the husband of a woman with whom he has been having an affair. Is this just a diversion to keep the journalists looking at sex when it should be probing the details of a strange car accident in the middle of nowhere?
When the Australian equivalent of the darkest CIA/FBI operatives kidnap Jesse and torture him, the cat is out of the bag - something bad happened in the Outback when those two lovers' car was hit by a truck. But what? Ned starts poking around and he finds Alex Wisham (Lucy Lawless), the local teacher in the Outback who is putting out signals to Ned, but what does it mean?
Six episodes of about an hour each is not too big a commitment in today's binge-watching world to find the answer, but BEWARE, there is a second season that should become available soon in the American market.
Network: Netflix/HULU (season 1)
Creator: Shelley Birse
Exec. Producers: Carole Sklan, Greer Simpkin