The Code: Season Two
Created by Shelley Birse
Starring Dan Spielman, Ashley Zukerman, Adele Perovic, Anthony LaPaglia, Sigrid Thornton, Robyn Malcolm and Ella Scott Lynch.
Two brothers, a jaded journalist and an autistic computer hacker, faced with the prospect of extradition to the US, are forced into making complex decisions taking in political unrest, personal dealings and the mysterious ‘darknet’, all of which have the potential to bring down global powers.
Building on the tense neo-noir successes of season one and continuing the themes of political and personal intrigue, season two of The Code is a classy Australian tech-thriller.
Following the exploits of Jesse Banks (Ashley Zukerman) and Ned Banks (Dan Spielman) as they attempt to protect themselves from various authorities, the series is a thoughtfully constructed puzzle of conspiracy, claims and counter-claims.
Faced with the grim prospect of extradition to the US for actions carried out in the previous season, the brothers are forced into helping out the Australian National Service with the thorny problem of Jan Roth (Anthony LaPaglia), an online dealer on the ‘darknet’ in weapons, drugs and just about everything else. Trading Jesse’s extensive hacking skills for their freedom, the brothers are drawn into Roth’s shady world of crime, moral ambiguity and freedom of ideas.
Displaying taut, energetic action set-pieces alongside thoughtful political discourse, the show is adept at creating a fast paced exploration of the price of freedom of expression in a world that often sets personal liberty against national security. Originally shown on BBC4 in the UK, the programme features strong performances from its cast and an impressive level of emotional and moving subtext. The show also delivers a neat line of dark humour, largely provided by Ned and the brothers’ estranged father (Geoff Morell), which helps to offset some of the more shocking cliffhangers on offer.
As with its first series, The Code’s approach to showcasing high level cyber skills and hacking operation relies on a smart graphical layout that brings in coding and algorithms across the screen, which may not make much sense to non-techies but sure looks realistic enough. Taking in a number of difficult issues with style and sensitivity, The Code is (once again) recommended to fans of intelligent crime drama.
The Code – Season Two is available on DVD now.
Robert W Monk is a freelance journalist and film writer.