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.
Set in the fictional semi-rural country town of Mount Thomas, and starring John Wood and Martin Sacks, its alumni include Lisa McCune, William McInnes, Grant Bowler, Damian Walshe-Howling and Tasma Walton.
Police work in 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 with it strangers and organised crime.
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 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.
Exterior shots for the series were filmed at 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