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Series: The Straits

The Straits is a ground breaking Australian crime drama in terms of its rare setting and (specific) concept - the deadly smuggling trade between northern Australia and Papua New Guinea. It explores how the business of the modern, Western crime syndicates effects those around them - from the city-slickers in Cairns, to the traditional Torres Strait Islands, to the tribes people in the developing nation of PNG.

The series covers the Montebello crime family's struggle for power - both against other crime entrepreneurs, and amongst themselves. It begins with the head of the family, Harry Montebello, allowing his three sons to compete to succeed him as head of his business. It is character driven and extremely well written, and features an exceedingly rare setting worth a look for its beauty as well as its novelty.


Tropes include:

  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels - The main Australian criminal franchise that supplies drugs to the Montebellos.
  • Anyone Can Die - even Harry.
  • Axe Crazy - The Papuan avenging his brother just stabs and shoots and does not stop in his quest to kill Gary.
  • Black and Grey Morality - Criminals vs worse criminals.
  • Black Humour - Pretty much the only kind this series had, although while understated, it is certainly effective.
  • Comedic Sociopathy - The other kind.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story - Real life experiences of the author, as well as news stories, were the basis of the drama.
  • The Don - Harry Montebello
  • Even Evil Has Standards - Harry is AOK at drug-dealing and creative murder, but draws the line at arranged marriage for his daughter, and dealing in sex-slaves.
  • Evil Matriarch - Kitty Montebello.
  • Family Values Villain - Again, Harry has these tendencies.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang - Torres Strait Islander family crime syndicate (although Harry is Maltese-British-Australian, his wife and children (all adopted) are of the same ethnicity).
  • Hair-Trigger Temper - Noel Montebello's biggest flaw.
  • Pet the Dog - Harry really genuinely cares about his daughter, which makes him seem less of a bastard. He also really cares about his actual little dog.
  • Precision F-Strike - Mostly delivered by Harry.
  • Scenery Porn - The Torres Strait, as depicted on the show, is beautiful (if dangerous), which can be seen clearly in the opener.
  • Surrounded by Idiots - Harry appears to see his sons this way.
  • The Triads and the Tongs - the main business partner of the protagonists in only known as 'The Chinaman', and has links with a shady syndicate of drug dealing and prostitution including other Chinese-ethnicity partners (such as his Taiwanese cousin), although his underlings in Papua New Guinea are all natives.
  • Villain Protagonist - Harry is a cold-blooded killer with vague similarities to a Bond Villain. He's basically the main character. Until he dies.

Intelligence (2006)Criminal ProceduralBreaking Bad
StingersAustralian Television ShowsStudio 3

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