PART ONE-My review of Underbelly: The Golden Mile-Series Two of Underbelly up to and including Episode Eleven- with dialogue notes and sound descriptions of a few episodes at the end of review. Minor spoilers. On Netflix. Series One of Underbelly write-up on this blog *update* Series One posted 31st August 2014 Series One write-up at present.

Underbelly: The Golden Mile
Underbelly Series Two

Nb. there are three series in all.
Series One is: Underbelly.  Series Two is Underbelly: The Golden Mile.  Series Three is called the same as series two.

Description from Netflix:
“This reality based drama chronicles the 1990’s gangland war in Melbourne, following through to the modern day workings of organized crime down under.”

Nb. This Series Two so far is stated as covering the period:
“1976-1987-Based on Events”

On first watching:

In spite of gangster flicks not really being my complete cup of tea i have seen my share.  I would say Underbelly is like a TV series made in semi-documentary style with overtones of Jack Irish, Goodfellas, Casino and the Banged Up Abroad TV series.

With a touch of the Lovers Guide to Good Sex video series of days gone by.  All fuzzy peach and beige and hot pink in the gambling club.  There is bonking and boobs in abundance.

There is sunlight and barbecues and family meals.  Small children.  There are wives and girlfriends and there are pubs and bars full of men.  Smoking.  Oh and drinking.  Beer evolves from a large glass brown bottle swigged from in the beginning of the series: to small slim tins towards the end.

So I enjoyed Underbelly, Series One-see write-ups here on this blog: posted 30th August 2014.   Although I remember that i took a while to get into the series.

The action is pretty harsh, as in violent: especially as it seems in the first four episodes of each series where we are introduced to the separate characters of:  The New south Wales Police (NSW) the various gangsters, assorted other Detectives from other forces and areas of Australia..

The story told in Series Two is from the point of view of Detective: Liz Crackshanks’s daughter, who narrates as a voice-over at intervals in the episode at the beginning.

We see a fleeting glimpse of Liz’s daughter who runs out of the house to give her mum a packed lunch that Detective Liz Cruikshank forgot.

A detailed description of the case is given by Detective Liz Cruikshank Liz herself.
(as a second narrator)

Detective Liz Cruikshank’s daughter runs out just as the Detective is meeting with an informant.  Who has driven to her house.

“Get back in the house!” shouts the Detective to her daughter.
“Don’t ever come to my house again!” She warns her confidential informant.
We see Detective Liz’s daughter, running, long legged down the pathway.

The attention in the drama also focuses on the families, wives, children and mistresses & girlfriends, of the gangsters.

There are lots of montages.  There is a club bathed in sickly pink light where all the gangsters and Detectives and half the Police force, it appears, all hang out.

It is odd to see scenes of actual fisticuffs when I am used to shootings now.  Getting down and dirty and physical on the floor appears strangely and horrifically violent.  I say strangely as in compared to shooting scenes with assailants you would think fist fights would come out better.  Not in this instance.  Odd that.

As the story begins to take shape between the human players in this real life gangster tale: the drama reminds me of Jack Irish with the down town grimy aspects of the settings. (the racecourse)

Jack Irish meets Casino meets The Goodfellas.  Meets Banged Up Abroad.
 ( i know i keep saying this)

Underbelly, being set in the 1970’s to 80’s is full of flappy haired feathered heads of men , chain-smoking in slightly flared trousers with tucked in shirts.

Everything is giant bulbous phone receivers and huge, clanking phone cradles to receive them.  Amazingly, in a world without mobiles, characters still seamlessly get urgent messages and we don’t even notice.  No mobile.  How can this happen.


I note that Inspector Messina is very well dressed in fabulous suits of dark blue and stylish handkerchief pockets and everything. Messina also wears what appear to be original silk ties.

Inspector Messina is only matched in his high end work couture by Inspector Priest.  There is a lovely short scene of them both, similarly suited, with Messina adjusting his tie, standing down by the water’s edge.
(it’s a suit-off)

Come to think of it: Terry Clark has really got some good three piece suits with cravat tied silk scarves at his throat going on.  Terry likes to sport a snug, fitted waistcoat.  He could be a timeless Victorian gentleman.

Plus in spite of what Doug said about Terry Clark’s painting being “High School Art” I thought Terry’s paintings were really rather good.  Perhaps he improved as a painter over time.


Some dialogues snippets and scene descriptions.

The opening credits are artistic.
Episode Five:

H.M. Prison Pentridge.
(gate creaking)

Chopper Read and Ray Chuck.
Chopper Read:
“Swear to God Ray,I just didn’t like the look of his head,OK?!”

Graffiti on the wall of Ray Chuck’s cell:
“Ray Chuck you will get fucken yours”!

Hitman to hire and Kane brother.
Kane to the hitman:
“What are you doing up a tree?”!

“It’s no good, its my trigger finger..”

Then there is:
Bob Trimbole, Terry Clark.  Clark’s girlfrind, Clark’s wife.

Bob Trimbole:
(does a posh accent)
“This is Derek Cunnigham from the Foreign Office..”

Episode Six:

There are a few quick exits out the door for me when watching Underbelly.  See: there I go now…

Then the action goes to Brisbane.  “Qtld”  (Queensland)

Terry Clark to his Solicitor:
“Any chance I could get some paper, for drawing?..”

Alison is Terry’s girlfriend.

There is a lot of:
(ominous music)

Izzy & Doug.
“He paints, like a fucking high school kid, but thinks he’s Picasso..”

and lots of (music)

So I have seen six episodes now.


Episode Seven

Based on Events 1976-1987


Doug and Izzy are the druggy couple.

Trimbole and sidekick.


Oh no.  This isn’t looking good.

Detective Liz Cruikshank is asked to be on the new task force by Inspector Priest, from the Commonwealth Police, who is damn hot.

Hit man to Bob Trimbole:
“You ever point your gun at my dog again I will kill you, OK?”

The hit man moans:
“I got shoulder spasms”..

“Mum always had misgivings about leaving (Inspector) Messina but the Commonwealth Police had guns, American technology and the first Police computer..”

“It happens with every Empire of course, they rise and fall..”
“there is that defining moment..”

So there is a Federal Police and a Victorian Police.
Inspector Messina:
“We’re the Victorians”.

Underbelly: The Golden Mile gets all kind of interesting by episode eight.

Episode Eight

Nb.  It was a while until I realise that George Freeman is the guy from Neighbours.
(the actor was also in The Last Resort with Andre’ Breugh)

& We learn who the curly-haired lawyer is:
Brian Alexander-The Lawyer.
(Brian chuckling)

“The golden rule in the underworld is to be strong.”
“Never show fear.”
“Never back down”
“Even if you have been shot in the head..”

Uh oh. (ominous music)

(Peter O’ Brien plays George Freeman)

Brilliant stuff.  Really like the intro and ending/ outro music.  Cool blue photographic style background.

Episode Nine

Brilliant intro and outro music.  As well as the opening credits:
“It’s a jungle out there.”

(Electronic music)
It is London.

It’s Alison.  She is in the loo, on the floor, having a panic attack.  For a very good reason.

“There are moment when the world is a very small place,”
“moments of tension, doubt, uncertainty..”
“But our angels are always closer than we think..”

Bob Trimbole:
That junk he’s sending its no more potent than cat’s wee!”

Bob Trimbole & Karl Lewis.
Bob defends Allison.
(ominous music)
I can say no more.

There are moments when our survival instincts take over our senses..”

“There are moments when the world is a wonderful place to be,”
“But all our sins will surface eventually..”
(but wait, what about the angels?)

Episode Ten

“For most people the overwhelming pressure of guilt is enormous”
(dramatic music)

There is a lot of (rock music)
with actual notes!

The drama goes to London- I thought that Policeman had an English accent.

Terry Clark to the Police:
Clark:“What if I were an international drug dealer!”

Detective Liz Cruikshank and Inspector Messina.
(ominous music)
Detective Liz:
“What a thing a watercolour is to express atmosphere and distance”
Terry Clark:
“So the figure is surrounded by air and distance..”
Detective Liz:
“A smart man is going to know when to speak up..”

“They got her in a room and asked her one single question..”

They form the joint Police Group.  Which is the Victorian Police, Federal Police and the Commonwealth Police.
Inspector Messina:
“We’re from Victoria, it’s the New South Wales Police who do that..”

(Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz Op 314)

Bob Trimbole:
“Nice day to be flying on an airplane!”

“And that was all it took”!

There are lots of (hangs phone).

(Pachabel Canon in D Major for strings)

the episode ends with
(Rock guitar plays Pachabel Continuo)


The above review and dialogue notes go up to and including episode eleven.
PART TWO will be the final review.

Liked it? Take a second to support Clarissima on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.