Underbelly Series One
Originally out on FX in 2011 in the UK
Underbelly is quite good.
It is set in Melbourne Australia in the 90’s and is about the underworld Mafia there. Or rather the Mafia men. They are pretty scary guys. They are mean, bad tempered and very violent. The younger ones that is. There are older guys who are head of their groups and they all seem to be part of a larger ‘family’.
Underbelly is pretty dark, The fact that it all happens in jolly sunlight in lovely bars, sunlit streets and roomy houses with beautiful barbecue areas makes it all the more unusual. We are used, I suppose, to other settings for the underworld or the Mafioso.
Quite funny that the jolly latte sprinkled Paramedic from an Australian series called Special Ops is in Underbelly. His character was like superman on stilts in that programme, a paramedic with a heart of gold and gentleman extraordinaire.
In Underbelly he is like his Special Ops character turned into his evil twin! Seriously, he does evil unpredictable barsteward who loves his cute dog extremely well.
Apart from a few slightly dodgy suits that skate to coolsville by looking slightly seventieish, Underbelly could almost betaking place today. Oh and some sexism. Although the old school flavour Mafioso style we tend to accept, or expect, a type of sexism. Which supposedly holds sacred wives and children..
There is a television trope name for this type of baddy that we still kinda love or like. Tony Soprano for example. They may fool around but truly respect their wife-well kinda..
Alphonse is another baddie. He is extremely violent and we think he must be the worst of the Melbourne underworld at first-wrong. The baby-faced younger members, all with beautiful blonde wives and children are just as bad.
Alphonse goes amok. Often for no real good reason except for someone owing him money. Then he repents and goes to confession. Not long after Alphonse starts talking about making things right and how he’s seen a Priest. Even though, as everybody knows, a Priest cannot divulge a confession. The other guy, smiling baby faced leprechaun man man starts to get edgy.
Tsk, tsk there was a Court case and Alphonse, who wanted to make amends, pleaded guilty. The Court case a small matter to them: Alphonse and leprechaun man beating the holy hell out of a club full of innocent strangers. Alphonse warmings things up with a pool cue. Displaying a contemporaneous feel for immediate found objects (as weapons).
The so called chivalrous code seemed to go out of the window on that jaunt, since Alphonse whacked a girl in the eye with said pool cue. I did admire the bravery of one black guy who leaped onto one of the marauding pair’s backs. That guy ended up in the back of an ambulance.
Well the girl, hit to the floor and in the eye in two fell swoops turns up bravely to court as a witness. With a very fetching black eye patch on. However she is frightened away by the scarily handsome smiling sun-tanned man. Brother to Leprechaun man. Although he doesn’t look like him.
There are mobile phones. Small ones. Which must have been very modern and expensive in the 90’s.
However the Police have no magical jiggery pokery in the way of electronic gizmo’s at all. Nothing. They don’t even appear to have mobiles.
The Police just follow the underworld guys around. And rely on witnesses and visual video I.D’s. None of which really works since the nasty but well booted and suited guys keep getting to the witnesses.
Two blond and beautiful sisters have already been magicked away to Europe. It was either that or a journey of a very different kind. Like one way.
The Police’s bright idea was to stash both girls in a caravan in a field in the middle of nowhere. But with a phone box nearby.
Since the underworld guys fail to bribe/get this information from their pet Policemen it is the girls themselves that freak out one night and phone the bad guys. Cleverly gambling this as their best option. Luckily they get to walk away down an airport corridor.
Underbelly is like roses it grows on you.