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Series / Blue Murder

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Blue Murder is an Australian True Crime miniseries that aired over two nights on the ABC in September 1995, directed by Michael Jenkins and written by Ian David. The series, set between 1978 and 1986, tracks the career of notorious Dirty Cop Detective Sergeant Roger "the Dodger" Rogerson (Richard Roxburgh), his association with criminal Arthur "Neddy" Smith (Tony Martin), and the attempted murder of Detective Michael Drury (Steve Bastoni). The supporting cast includes Gary Sweet as hitman Christopher Dale Flannery, Peter Phelps as Graham Henry, Marcus Graham as Alan Williams, Alex Dimitriades as Warren Lanfranchi, Loene Carmen as Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, and Bill Hunter as Superintendent Angus McDonald.

In August 2017, a sequel miniseries, Blue Murder: Killer Cop, aired on the Seven Network, with Michael Jenkins, Richard Roxburgh, Peter Phelps and Tony Martin returning. Killer Cop depicts Rogerson's later life, including his association with Michael Hurley (Dan Wyllie), marriage to Anne Melocco (Toni Collette) and the murder of Jamie Gao (Michael Tran) which ultimately led to his conviction and a life sentence in 2016.

Blue Murder provides examples of:

  • As Himself: TV journalist Ray Martin is credited as such, appearing in archive footage of his interviews with Sallie-Anne Huckstepp and Rogerson himself.
  • Bribe Backfire: Rogerson attempted to bribe Drury to change his testimony against Alan Williams. Drury refused, putting a target on him.
  • Cement Shoes: The murder of Brian Alexander, in which he was tied to a stove and thrown off a boat because He Knows Too Much. As in reality, they Never Found the Body.
  • Cliffhanger: Part 1 ends on Michael Drury being shot through a window by Chris Flannery.
  • Dirty Cop: Rogerson, of course, who's also protected by over a dozen officers willing to lie in his favour.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Possibly, in that the series depicts Neddy Smith committing multiple murders that he consistently denied any involvement in. The show did acknowledge in a title card that he was acquitted of Sallie-Anne Huckstepp's murder.
  • Karma Houdini: Rogerson avoided conviction for several murders and other violent crimes during his career, though he was convicted of perverting the course of justice over a bank account under a false name and was forced out of the police over it.
  • Moral Myopia: One of Rogerson's conditions of his "Green Light" agreement with Neddy is to never kill another cop. This doesn't mean he has any qualms about potentially doing so himself or hiring Flannery to do so, which Neddy calls him out on.
  • Police Brutality: The first thing we see Rogerson do is violently interrogating Smith in hopes of getting Smith to either confess or bribe him.
  • Psycho for Hire: Christopher Dale Flannery, AKA "Mr. Rent-a-Kill".
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: While Rogerson escaped punishment over Warren Lanfranchi's murder, he was transferred to a menial desk job in Darlinghurst for a while.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The series is split into six chapters, with Smith, Drury and Rogerson each narrating two of them.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Rogerson was highly decorated during his career, and even after his corruption was exposed he enjoyed some measure of celebrity until his eventual murder conviction.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: A series of title cards reveal what happened next for Williams, Rogerson and Smith. This was extended when the series finally aired in New South Wales in 2001, revealing that Drury retired from the police in 2000.

Blue Murder: Killer Cop provides examples of

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Anne Melocco begins a relationship with Rogerson despite recognising him and already knowing his reputation, though she does make a point of asking him for the truth about the Michael Drury shooting (which he lies to her about).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In addition to narrating the full series (as opposed to about a third of the first series), Rogerson's last scene, just after his 2016 conviction, is a monologue to the camera trying to justify his corruption and the murders he committed, and present his involvement with organised crime as A Lighter Shade of Black to the disorganized crime of today.
  • Cowboy Cop: Federal Police Detective Mark Standen establishes himself as this in his attempt to recruit Rogerson as an informant against Hurley, to the point of pulling a gun as a bluff.
  • Dirty Cop: Rogerson still has allies in the NSW police such as Larry Curchill and Glen Macnamara willing to sabotage investigations for him. Elsewhere, Mark Standen eventually proves not much better than Rogerson when he gets involved in drug importing to deal with gambling debts.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • When Rogerson is escorted into a supermax in December 1992, the guard who searches him and the other new inmates sums up the trope:
    "What you are is dirty cops and dogs and paedophiles, and you're here because no decent criminal would tolerate you."
    • Elsewhere, Rogerson remarks to biker Chris Bronowski that Hurley's "not gonna deal with fuckwits and boofheads. Or rapists." Bronowski promptly has the rapist(s) in question killed once Rogerson leaves, though this doesn't do much for any association he could have had with Hurley.
  • Flashback: The series frequently flashes back to the first miniseries.
  • How We Got Here: The first part opens on a string of news clips from the aftermath of Rogerson's 2016 conviction, before cutting back to 1989.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: Rogerson's narration notes that his conviction and three-year sentence for perverting the course of justice was likely because the authorities were "still sulking because I was acquitted of the Drury shooting."
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After being fired from the NSW police, Rogerson is convicted on minor charges a few times over the years, eventually culminating in a life sentence for Jamie Gao's murder.
  • Rousing Speech: Mark Standen gives a speech when he joins the New South Wales Crime Commission, laying out for his subordinates his plan to target the Michael Hurley orgainsation.