1 9 9 8 – 2 0 0 4 (Australia)
192 x 60 minute episodes
Former Sons and Daughters star Peter Phelps landed the lead role of Senior Constable Peter Church – a crack covert detective with a dark past and a bad attitude – in this drama series about undercover cops from Australia’s Channel Nine.
Debuting in September 1998, the series largely featured unknown actors so viewers would not immediately associate the characters with other roles. Detective Senior Sergeant Bernie Rocca (Joe Petruzzi) was the original Officer In Charge of the undercover unit, replaced later by Detective Sergeant Ellen ‘Mac’ Mackenzie
Amazingly, the same three undercover operatives seemed able to infiltrate every echelon of the Melbourne criminal underworld without the villains twigging their identity.
A retired police officer called Guy WIlding came up with the idea for the series and pitched it to the producer. He worked closely with the scriptwriters and actors, recounting his experiences of 20 years working undercover, providing a glimpse into the secretive world of covert law enforcement.
The series was filmed in a vast warehouse – “the Crimplex” – in a dead-end street in Abbotsford (Melbourne).
The building housed the production offices and edit suites as well as sets for the undercover unit’s headquarters, a 10-room police HQ, a remand centre, a hospital and an interview room.
Stingers initially received a battering in the ratings, undergoing two timeslot changes in six months but the storylines and writing improved considerably and the series – solidly produced with an impressive cast – went on to run for 192 episodes for over five years.
Following the loss of several cast members and a soaring budget, the series was cancelled in 2004.
Detective Senior Constable Peter Church
Detective Senior Constable Angie Piper
Detective Sergeant Ellen ‘Mac’ Mackenzie
Detective Constable Oscar Stone
Detective Inspector Luke Harris
Detective Constable Christina Dicheria
Detective Constable Daniella Mayo
Detective Constable Kaye Kelso
Detective Senior Constable Leo Flynn
Detective Senior Sergeant Bernie Rocca
Detective Constable Katherine Marks
Detective Inspector Bill Hollister
Detective Senior Sergeant Eric Chatterly