It’s official. I’m hooked. The third episode of The Straits pulls you in without reproach and addictively drags you along for the enthralling ride. The latest episode is all about secrets. Lurking underneath the fingernails of every character is a dirty secret of some sort. Of course, some hold more powerful secrets than others.
Great discoverer of big secrets is only daughter Sissi (Suzannah Bayes-Morton). In her investigations into the books of the family business, Sissi learns family accountant Paddy (Kym Gyngell) has been keeping a side stash of his own and profiteering income for years. Ever the detective, Sissi also uncovers her father’s infidelity via her Big Brother-esque security cameras hidden around the family home. Bayes-Morton is really terrific and displays earnestness and integrity in her role. While the other characters are simply adapting to change after Harry’s announcement, Sissi is coming-of-age as she slowly learns the depths that her family will reach to protect their name.
Master of many secrets, Harry (Brian Cox) makes the difficult decision to fix the Paddy problem. Harry’s own personal problem, aside from philandering and nefarious criminal activities, is his pride and he struggles to overcome this. Cox plays Harry with steadfast surety and conflicting anxiety.
Meanwhile, matriarch Kitty (Rena Owen) continues with her manipulations by acting as a chameleon, adopting a soft and passive voice around extended family relations, and yet still sticking to her conniving guns. Owen is truly magnificent and gets a scene stealing opportunity to truly let go at the end of the episode.
Afflicted with both a snake bite and tremendous guilt, Gary (Firass Dirani) looses the plot and cannot live down the indiscretions that occurred in the shower with Marou’s (Jim Bani) wife Lola (Emma Lung). Dirani adds innocence and humour through his incompetency and especially through his relationship with Indian refugee Joseph (Chum Ehelepola).
Director Peter Andrikidis impresses again, especially after Harry has just blown up a boat and speeds away to shore. Writer Blake Ayshford similarly impresses, confirming a strong group of writers aboard the new ABC series. David Bridie’s score greatly highlights the impact that time has within the final minutes of the episode as a predatory hunter Vlad (Richard Cawthorne) approaches closer to Harry. As the ticking sounds increase in volume and frequency, we are reminded of the urgency that the Montebello’s live their lives with.
The Straits is compelling viewing, with cliff hangers that leave you dying for more.
The Straits airs Thursdays at 8.30pm on ABC1, as well as on ABC2 and iView.