"They’re country cops, fighting country crime. And there’s quite a bit of it, Mt Thomas must be the crime capital of Australia. They’re Blue Heelers, Blokes and sheilas, Potato peelers, Lisa and Bill have left. And also Tamsin and Damian but I couldn’t fit them in obviously. They’re Blue Heelers, Forty eps a year!"
Thanks to Underbelly, you might think that the most dangerous place in Victoria, Australia between 1994 and 2006 is Melbourne. Right?Try about 300km Northwest, in Mt Thomas.The long running and much beloved Australian drama, Blue Heelers centers on the police and residents of a small country town. Set in the fictional Victorian town of Mount Thomas; located near Swan Hill and Benalla, it portrays the job and lives of the officers stationed there as they come to terms with everything from murders and drug runners to community events to how their careers affects their lives. Much like Heartbeat, stories would center around the mundane, such as a vandal who turns out to be a chook (though this would end in the show's final seasons) and is willing to ignore the premise of the show: crime, in favor of Character Development. This show provides examples of:
Action Girl: A given since they are police, they each get a chance to play this.
Actor Allusion: Quite a few of the regular and recurring cast got their start as a one off character. Marcus Eyre, who was Luke Darcy's father, would come back as homicide detective Paul Donald. Jane Alsop, known for her portrayal as Jo Parish, first started as a woman who was used in a dating agency scam. Samantha Toji was a guest star at least twice before securing the role of Kelly O'Rourke.
Attempted Rape: Par for the course in a police drama, with most of the female officers falling victim to this.
Back Story: Wayne and Maggie were lovers, Nick works in traffic because he lost his wife and daughter in a car crash, Dash was nearly raped in school and decided to join the police force...there's a lot of it.
Big Bad: Inspector Russell Falcon-Price would fulfill this role, to the point where he closes the station.
Big Damn Heroes: Several instances come to mind, but worthy of mention is in the episode when Joss is about to be executed. When Kelly aims her service revolver at the gunman's head the scene shifts back to show every Blue Heeler there backing her up.
Big Eater: William McInnes is often found eating in the scenes where he plays Nick. This and his weight is very much a Running Gag for Tom.
Boot Camp Episode: Three members of the Mount Thomas and St. Davids police take part in a team building adventure course, where the constables and Inspector are equal, much to Falcon-Price's dismay.
Brick Joke: Actor William Mc Innes revealed how he would always order catering and one time he had fourteen pork roles, much to the displeasure of his co stars. Five years after he left the role there was an episode where Ben and his basketball team all fell sick after eating pork roles, a nod to the amusing incident.
Catch Phrase: Ton had one on country policing. 'Country policing is all about the people.'
Character Development: A rather large premise of the series, from city cops learning the country way to how the station bombing affects the town.
Chekhov's Gun: A lot, from a machete being sharpened that will later be used to try and kill PJ to firearms training being shown in two later scenes and become the crux of PJ's inquest into the shooting of Raylene Darcy.
Completely Missing the Point: In Jonesy's first episode there is drag racing and one of the drivers turns out to have a suspected stolen engine in his car. He claims to have been fitted up and Tess, knowing Jones has just about everything in his personal vehicle, asks is he happens to have a file that she thinks might have been used to remove the serial number. Not knowing what Tess is getting at he tells her no, but he does have an angle grinder.
Cop Boyfriend: And cop girlfriend as well, with the officers usually getting with one of their colleagues, something that is commonly made an issue (Maggie and PJ try to hide their relationship, Tess doesn't think it's appropriate to fraternize with Jack or Evan).
Costumer: The end credits to one episode revolving around old films had the actors dress as 1930s style cops and robbers.
Darker and Edgier: The direction the show went in the eleventh season, with a number of shake ups to shock audiances into watching.
For those wondering, the gambit (which was, unsurprisingly, a reaction to declining ratings) briefly payed off, giving the series enough of a boost to keep it going for a twelfth and a thirteenth season (though the thirteenth season was only 11 episodes long, whereas the first twelve seasons were all 40 or so episodes long) before it was finally cancaled.
Deadpan Snarker: Senior Sergeant Nick Schultz fulfilled this role during his time in Mount Thomas, challenged by Dash McKinnily, and later her replacement Jo Parish would take over. PJ Hasham and others would have their moments.
Disability Superpower: Clancy was instrumental to solving several cases despite his handicaps, as well as quite likely saving Tom's grandson from brain damage.
Downer Ending: Pigs Will Fly. A suspect in the station bombing commits suicide with his daughter after losing everything, PJ and Nick are called out on hounding him into his grave, Susie tries to comfort Ben but they fall for each other, despite her being with Evan, and the police are no closer to the bombers.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: Neither a drill sergeant nor that nasty, but Tess was initially rather officious and very much rubbed people the wrong way. When Nick tried out as sergeant and running the station he was considerably worse than his normal prickly behaviour.
Fair Cop: Half the cast might qualify, though this was hardly played up.
Fake Defector: Maggie and Tess pretend to be corrupt, the former doing so as a extended story arc.
Femme Fatale: Susie goes from Evan to Ben; who had shot her husband, to Evan again to Alex to a victim of a stolen car, in less than a year.
Internal Affairs: And boy, are the toecutters loathed. Mick Doyle even threw out his son when he joined the Ethical Standards Department.
Glory Hound: Inspector Falcon-Price pulls this, and the high brass do get concerned about the police image.
Good Is Not Nice: Nick in spades. In order to help Dash get over her fear of driving he makes her relive the car crash she was in. To help Tom's daughter in the sway of a cult he roars, yells and screams at her about how his wife was brainwashed into turning on her family.
Incredibly Obvious Bomb: In End of Innocence, Tom is threatened by an explosives expert from Vietnam. When Clancy brings a bag in he offhandedly tells him to give it to Jo, realizing too late that it was a bomb.
Inspector Javert: Falcon-Price was hell-bent with ending the careers of Ben, Tom, anyone who did not fit his mold and closing the station, to the point where he puts Tom up to active duty, knowing he just had cancer surgery and was not up to it. Monica Draper initially came across this way with PJ.
Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Yes, believe it or not one case had the Mount Thomas police wonder if a suspect might have been a ninja, given the Japanese links and eyewitness reports.
Pac-Man Fever: Tess adopts Hailey from a broken home and is so determined to give her a good Christmas she thinks to get her a Nintendo. They are playing Super Mario 64 later and already up to one of the last levels, so either Tess got it second hand, they are the best video game players ever or someone goofed.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: Nick and Dr Zoe Hamilton, eventually leading to their marriage and moving to Richmond. Tess and Jonesey do this a bit as well.
Shoot the Dog: One sergeant is basically crucified by Tom to show that he is no longer a good guy.
The Stoic: Matthew Graham, having joined the police force after the tragedies he witnessed as a soldier in East Timor.
Title Drop: Blue Heelers in early episodes, as well as episode titles throughout the series.
True Companions: Played straight most of the time, unless some element threatens to split the team apart.
The Vietnam War: Tom served in it and his experiences are part of what makes him the character he is, fiercely loyal to fellow soldiers and traditions such as ANZAC and Remembrance Day. Specific storylines focus on veterans unable to cope with the war, ex soldiers who became bikers rather than cops, Tom's friend shaking his head at the age of a prospective sergeant (father and grandfather fought in Vietnam), a veteran's son who hates him, and another ex soldier who's feral enough to be a suspect in the station bombing.
The Voice: One of the writers is the Victorian police radio operator.
War On Terror: Several episodes after 9/11 centered on Muslims and Middle Eastern terrorism.
Wham Episode: Especially in the last three seasons as part of the Darker and Edgier direction of the show, the biggest wham being the graphic, sadistic "Child's Play".
What the Hell, Hero?: Tom's a big culprit of this where he makes some of the criminals look in the 11th\12th season, and in one episode revolving around the rape and butchering of a young girl his officers risk joining him.