Australian Crime Stories – John Friedrich
The Great Imposter, as this instalment of You Beauty Bonzer Swindles is known, reprises the fabulous yet ill-fated tale of John Friedrich, one of the few recipients of the Medal of the Order of Australia who turned out to be a foreign fugitive living in the country under a false identity for a decade while committing $293 million fraud. Friedrich, as anyone who was around in the 1980s would be aware, turned the National Safety Council of Australia from a non-profit organisation dedicated to the noble task of promoting safety awareness into a hi-tech search and rescue operation with disturbing paramilitary overtones. Why? Reporter Adam Shand, along with everyone he interviews, doesn’t really come up with a satisfactory response, but it’s a great trip back into the «greed is good» era when profligate corporate spending helped create maverick monsters dressed in pinstripes.
ABC, Thursday, 9pm
A gripping opening scene gives this counter-intelligence thriller from the Beeb an adrenaline-fuelled start, but it’s the charismatic turn from Nabhaan Rizwan as Raza Shar, a cocky young second-generation British-Pakistani man coerced into becoming a police informer, that promises to do the heavy lifting through its six-hour running time. Gleefully subverting the entertainment world’s lazy stereotypes of Muslims, Informer establishes Shar as an assertive modern guy who’s radical only in his dress sense. Alas for our anti-hero, he finds himself in a classic case of wrong place, wrong time, as he’s picked up for possession and falls under the gaze of the gormless DC Holly Morten, a new recruit determined to prove herself to her boss DS Gabe Waters (Paddy Considine, hurray) at the London’s Counter-Terrorism Special Unit. One to watch.