1 9 9 4 – 2 0 0 6 (Australia)
510 x 50 minute episodes
Created by Tony Morphett and Hal McElroy, Blue Heelers was the most successful Aussie cop show of the modern television era.
Police work in the fictional semi-rural country town of Mount Thomas wasn’t about solving murders. Mostly, it was about routine enquiries, checking the stories of witnesses and suspected offenders, and keeping the peace.
In the rural setting, the pace of life was slower than in the city, and policing was all about the community.
Every now and then, though, the city’s influence came to town, bringing strangers and organised crime with it.
Major changes in the series during its run included the shift from a 7.30 to 8.30 evening timeslot, allowing more adult storylines.
Then a 2004 ‘revamp’ in response to falling ratings included a shift to darker storylines – including a bomb explosion in the police station – cast changes and a landmark live-to-air episode.
Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon (John Wood) – who ran the station with just the right blend of toughness and sensitivity and featured in all 510 episodes of the show – was transformed by the trauma of the bombing and murder of his wife from a kind mentor into a vindictive villain.
Working under Tom was a grab-bag of police officers with a range of temperaments: pint-sized Constable Maggie Doyle (Lisa McCune) was a young and dedicated city cop from a family of police officers, while rookie Constable Wayne Patterson (Grant Bowler) was also from the city and working hard on making a good impression at Mount Thomas. Wayne was married to Roz (Ann Burbrook).
Constable Adam Cooper (Damian Walshe-Howling) was a hot-shot young cop fresh out of the Police Academy who managed to annoy and offend people at every turn.
Detective Senior Constable PJ Hasham (Martin Sacks) was the smooth guy who knew every trick in the book and was running from his past. His smoothness was matched by the cold-as-ice approach of motorcycle cop Senior Constable Nick Schultz (William McInnes).
Helping them all cool down at the local hotel after a long, hard day was publican Chris (Julie Nihill).
Exterior shots for the series were filmed in the Victorian towns and suburbs of Wyndham, Williamstown and Castlemaine.
The ‘blue heelers’ of the title are a breed of farm dog as well as Aussie slang for country cops.
Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon
Detective Patrick Joseph ‘PJ’ Hasham
Constable Margaret ‘Maggie’ Doyle
Senior Constable Ben Stewart
Len (The Barman)
Senior Constable Nick Schultz
Constable Jo Parrish
Constable Adam Cooper
Constable Evan ‘Jonesy’ Jones
Sergeant Tess Gallagher
Constable Deirdre ‘Dash’ McKinley
Constable Jack Lawson
Constable Wayne Patterson