If you want to see two detectives quarrel, Deadloch is the show for you. Created by Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan, the new Australian Prime Video original series is full of laughs and shenanigans. The show focuses on a murder that rocks the titular small town in Tasmania. We’re introduced to Senior Sergeant Dulcie Collins (Kate Box), who is thrown into the investigation alongside a detective from Darwin, Eddie Redcliffe (Madeleine Sami). It may seem like a typical “buddy cop” crime mystery, but Deadloch quickly becomes a refreshing take on the genre. Discussing themes of misogyny, homophobia and race, it’s a dark comedy guaranteed to keep you on your toes.
The town of Deadloch becomes hysterical after the discovery of a local man, Trent Latham (Barry Wheeler), dead by the beach. The small-town murder trope isn’t something particularly new, with shows such as Twin Peaks being notable for perfecting it. However, the town of Deadloch is unique, effectively serving as a character within the series: the chilly beach, long coastal roads, and deep wilderness give an element of mystery – there are so many corners that one can miss, so many spots that can allow somebody to get away with murder. But within a small town, where everyone knows everyone, this can pose a challenge. In a small town where people dig their noses in other people’s business, anyone is a suspect.
The show presents a compelling mystery throughout its 8-episode run, never slowing down or losing its momentum despite each episode’s 1-hour duration. New clues are constantly found to keep not only the detectives off the mark, but also the audience. Whenever the detectives feel they are one step closer to solving the investigation, they discover something that causes them to reevaluate. The show juggles different people as prime suspects, allowing the stakes to become higher.
Alongside the murder mystery lies the humour within this morbid investigation. Characters often throwing swift jabs at each other with a fast pace. The humour is crude, witty, and, at times, even slapstick, but there is a balance between everything. The transitions between funny and serious scenes are seamless as well. However, Dulcie and Eddie’s tumultuous relationship is the backbone of the laughs. Dulcie is hesitant to have another detective assigned to work with her on a case within her own town. How much worse can it be when it so happens to be a crude, cargo short and sandal-wearing detective from Darwin?
The two detectives constantly squabble as they can never agree on their differing methods of investigating. Kate Box and Madeleine Sami’s chemistry flourish as the two women eventually grow mutual respect. As individual characters, they are just as intriguing as the criminal investigation affects them personally and the relationships they have. Dulcie and her relationship with her girlfriend Cath (Alicia Gardiner) is tested, as she must juggle work and home life. Eddie’s backstory makes her a sympathetic character and more than just the loud-mouthed detective she appears to be. Starting as someone very closed off and not willing to listen, she opens up and shows compassion to Dulcie.
The remaining characters are all well-fleshed out and the show takes the time to peel back their respective layers. After all, they all deal with problems, whether affected by the murders or not. This eccentric cast is a delightful bunch to watch: Miranda (Kartanya Maynard) and Tammy (Leonie Whyman) are two teenage girls who have ambitions to succeed in two different fields, junior Constable Abby (Nina Oyama) becomes enthralled with the case but must also deal with her upcoming wedding, and town Mayor Aleyna (Susie Youssef) still wants to go forward with the annual Winter Feastival, even when the town is a hot spot for murder.
What makes Deadloch so refreshing, particularly within the Australian TV landscape, is its commentary. Prime Video recently released another Australian show, Class of 07’, which explored the bonds within a diverse group of women. Deadloch doesn’t hold back on delving into misogyny and toxic masculinity two female detectives face when on the investigation. There’s commentary on race, with Tammy being a young Aboriginal girl who wants to pursue a career in the AFL, as well as discussions of sexuality, as Deadloch is a town that is home to a lot of lesbians, including Dulcie.
Deadloch is a hilarious, well-paced murder mystery. What could’ve been another traditional “buddy cop” crime mystery is instead a breath of fresh air. Its eagerness to delve into many different issues makes it compelling, and the relationship between the two detectives is just the icing on the cake. Deadloch is worth checking out if you want a quick-witted “whodunnit” that isn’t afraid to bring forward issues relevant today.
Deadloch premieres exclusively on Prime Video Friday, June 2, with new episodes airing every Friday.