1 9 6 7 – 1 9 6 9 (Australia)
65 x 60 minute episodes
“This man wears no uniform. He has no rank. His name is often not his own. The law offers him no special protection, no exemption. If necessary, his own country will deny his existence. He is part commando, part detective, part spy. He is Hunter”.
This home-grown spy drama series from Crawford Productions for Australia’s Channel Nine presented the cases of special agent John Hunter (ex-news anchor and reporter Tony Ward), especially his dealings with the evil CUCW (Council for the Unification of the Communist World) who had its Australian headquarters at Delta Exports.
Mr Smith (Ronald Morse) headed the Australian operation of the Council, and his chief agent was Kragg (Gerard Kennedy).
Hunter worked for COSMIC (Commonwealth Office for Security and Military Intelligence Coordination), in a special unit under the cover of research specialists, Independent Surveys Ltd.
Hunter had a side-kick, Eve Halliday (Fernande Glyn), and worked for Charles Blake (Nigel Lovell), who headed up the organisation.
Following months of tension between Tony Ward and Channel Nine – intensified when Ward made newspaper headlines by “going missing” for a week instead of filming the show – the titular Aussie spy was loaned to British intelligence for an operation behind the Iron Curtain in episode 57, titled “Misadventure”.
Betrayed by his partner on the mission and left high and dry by the British, Hunter was tried and executed by firing squad.
Englishman Rod Mullinar took over the lead role for the final episodes and as the character of Kragg became more popular the producers decided to have him defect to the West.
With a production cost of $20,000 per episode – roughly $13,000 more than a typical episode of Homicide – and promoted heavily, Hunter achieved ratings in the 40s and remained popular throughout its run.
The series made a bonafide star of Gerard Kennedy, who would go on to even greater success in Division 4 and Tandarra.