Nine’s big drama commission for 2020 was Halifax: Retribution. It ticked all the boxes – big cast, big story, great locations – and drew big audiences for Nine. Read the details about this season, listen to the Mediaweek podcast with Rebecca Gibney and creator Roger Simpson then binge (or re-watch) it on 9Now over the summer.
Gibney reprised her role as forensic psychiatrist Jane Halifax, alongside Anthony LaPaglia as Inspector Tom Saracen, who heads up Task Force Stingray, and Claudia Karvan as Mandy, the troubled ex of Jane’s partner.
Jane Halifax is at the top of her game of forensic psychiatry. Now an internationally renowned professor with a blissful home life, Halifax has left the traumas and stresses of frontline policing behind.
But when a sniper begins to terrorise the city, the police are desperate. With the death toll rising, Inspector Tom Saracen needs the best people and persuades Halifax to join his Task Force. But is she prepared for the secrets the investigation will reveal? While she profiles a killer no one can see, Jane finds herself in the sniper’s sights – this one is personal.
The cast includes Mandy McElhinney (Love Child, The House of Hancock) as the Minister for Police, Craig Hall (A Place to Call Home, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Catching Milat) who plays Ben, Jane’s long-term partner, and Mavournee Hazel (Neighbours, My Life Is Murder) as Zoe, Ben’s wild child and Jane’s stepdaughter.
They join Rick Donald (800 Words, A Place to Call Home, Wentworth), Ming-Zhu Hii (Offspring, Party Tricks), Ben O’Toole (The Water Diviner, Love Child), Mark Coles Smith (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Last Cab to Darwin), Hannah Monson (Glitch) and Michala Banas (Upper Middle Bogan, Bad Mothers, McLeod’s Daughters).
HALIFAX: Retribution also features guest performances from Jacqueline McKenzie (Safe Harbour, Romper Stomper, Pine Gap), Louisa Mignone (Secret City: Under the Eagle, Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, Rake), Stephen Curry (The Castle, The King, Hounds of Love), John Waters (Mystery Road, Rake, Offspring) and Luke Ford (Animal Kingdom, Red Dog, McLeod’s Daughters).
Roger Simpson, the creator of the original Halifax f.p. telemovies whose other productions including Stingers, Satisfaction and Good Guys, Bad Guys, returns as writer and producer of HALIFAX: Retribution, with producer Louisa Kors (The Dressmaker, Mystery Road S1, cloudstreet) and executive producers Rebecca Gibney, Mikael Borglund, Andy Ryan and Jo Rooney.
HALIFAX: Retribution is a Beyond Lonehand Production for Nine, with major production investment from Screen Australia. The series was filmed in Melbourne with support from Film Victoria’s Production Incentive Attraction Fund.
As Jane Halifax returns to the screen in Halifax: Retribution, Mediaweek’s James Manning and Andrew Mercado hear all about the production from star Rebecca Gibney and creator of the original Halifax f.p. telemovies Roger Simpson. Listen here
Mercado on TV: Nine’s brilliant Aussie reboot
Nine ruined Seachange when they brought it back last year, but they have redeemed themselves with Halifax: Retribution. The original Halifax f.p. (1994 – 2002) was a series of 21 standalone telemovies, but Retribution is superb and eight hours long. Having watched the first four hours, the quality never dips and the story never lags.
The original Halifax (9Now) is a who’s who of acting icons and this new series maintains that standard with Anthony LaPaglia, John Waters and Claudia Karvan. Jacqueline McKenzie reprises her original guest role from 1995, but it’s one of the only nods to the old days. This is Nine’s best Aussie drama since Doctor Doctor (2016) and they would be mad not to do another series.
Beyond Rights sells Halifax: Retribution to US broadcaster
Beyond Rights has announced the psychological thriller Halifax: Retribution has been acquired in the US by PBS Distribution for transmission on the PBS Masterpiece Channel on Prime Video.
Produced by Beyond Lonehand, a Beyond group production company, for Nine Network (Australia), the 8 x 60 procedural drama stars Rebecca Gibney (Wanted, Lowdown Dirty Criminals, Flying Doctors) and Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana, Riviera, Without a Trace). The new series sees Gibney reprising her iconic role as forensic psychiatrist Jane Halifax from Halifax F.P., a series of 21 award-winning, feature-length dramas that ran on Australian television from 1994 to 2002.
HALIFAX: Retribution has proved both a ratings and critical success this year. It remains the highest-rated new Australian drama of 2020, winning its primetime slot across all the commercial FTA networks for every episode and securing more than a million viewers each time, according to official consolidated viewing figures. In addition, the series was recently nominated in the Best Drama Series category for the 2020 AACTA Awards (Australian Academy for Cinema, Television and Arts), while Rebecca Gibney was nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series.
Sherry Fynbo, EVP sales for North America at Beyond Rights, was responsible for negotiating the deal with PBS Distribution. She comments: “Through its Masterpiece brand, PBS has long provided a home for some of the world’s best and most enduring scripted series. We are thrilled that Halifax: Retribution will now sit alongside its impressive collection of leading English-language dramas on the PBS Masterpiece channel on Amazon’s Prime Video.”
Mikael Borglund, Beyond International’s CEO and MD, executive produced both the original HALIFAX F.P. titles and HALIFAX: Retribution. He adds: “It was real pleasure to bring so many of the original team back together, including creator and writer Roger Simpson, to see how Jane Halifax’s life had unfolded over the past two decades. Fans of the original series, which sold all over the world and featured everyone from Hugh Jackman and Hugo Weaving to Guy Pierce and Frances O’Connor, had been waiting patiently for this series, while its very contemporary themes around data mining and personal freedoms, in addition to its strong characters and smart standalone script, are successfully attracting new audiences. I’m sure it will prove very popular in the US.”