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The Principal is a 2015 SBS miniseries focused on the struggles of Matt Bashir, the new principal of an all boys' Inner City School in west Sydney, Australia. A graduate of the school himself who once lived in the troubled multi-ethnic immigrant neighborhood surrounding it, Mr. Bashir quickly sets up to fix the school, much to the chagrin of burnt out colleagues who believe that both the school and Mr. Bashir himself are a lost cause. The real challenge comes, however, when just as if it seems Mr. Bashir is finally making progress, one of his students is murdered, leading into a downward spiral of tense, dramatic events.


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The Principal contains examples of:

  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Averted. While the storyline builds up concern that some characters might believe this, most characters are surprisingly accepting when they become aware of another major character's sexuality.
  • Ambiguous Situation: When the truth behind what happened is revealed, it's shown that the murderer committed manslaughter against someone close to him impulsively, causing him no end of guilt and causing him to turn further to drugs and violence.
  • Ambiguously Christian: Matt is very familiar with Christian scripture, but it's not quite clear whether or not he's a devout Christian (or was in the past). Regardless, his interactions with religion are fairly culturally savvy, such as participating in and acknowledging Muslim ceremonies to better ingratiate himself as a community leader amongst some of the students' Muslim immigrant parents.
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  • Badass Gay: Mr. Bashir, who confronts dangerous Gang Bangers directly by walking into their hideout.
  • Barbaric Bully: The Ahmed brothers' main rival is a large, dangerous Pacific Islander student with connections to local gangs.
  • The Beard: A date with a woman that ends on quiet terms is used by Matt Bashir as a front to discreetly meet with another man.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Tarek is a great cook, but not very book smart or motivated.
  • Coming-Out Story: Could be considered the main subplot in the larger story.
  • Delinquents: All of the student body, though they are portrayed much more sympathetically than is typical.
  • Domestic Abuse: Kenny is a traumatized victim of this, and this is part of why he lets himself be pushed around by bullies at school.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Tarek comes to school flipping his lid on an illegal substance. The reason for this is as a coping mechanism for getting through what happened to his brother.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: The school is mostly students from immigrant families, although there is one foreign student whose background is troubled, to say the least.
  • Gang Bangers: The neighborhood has some rather dangerous ones.
  • Hidden Depths: In addition to being surprisingly street smart, Matt Bashir is incredibly good at memorizing religious scripture and won an award for it in high school.
  • High School Sweet Hearts: The fate of Mr. Bashir's is a source of anxiety for him that constantly weighs on his mind.
  • Immigrant Parents: Most parents featured, who are worried about the future of their children in their lower-income neighborhood.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Averted. Most of the students' families are happy to have left precarious situations in their home countries, even if their new life isn't exactly paradise.
  • Inner City School: The principal setting.
  • Inspector Javert: The law enforcement officer in charge of investigating the murder obsessively scrutinizes Matt to the almost complete exclusion of other possible suspects.
  • The New '10s: The social attitudes, issues addressed, and technology are all extremely contemporary and current.
  • One-Gender School: The school is all boys, although occasionally a girlfriend features as part of the plot.
  • Red Herring: Several per episode, related variously to the identity of the killer, the main characters' personal lives, and possible subplots that may or may not be connected to the main story.
  • Save Our Students: A more nuanced than usual take on this type of storyline.
  • Straight Gay: Matt Bashir. His lack of stereotypical behaviors or affectations is a huge part of what makes this a major plot-relevant revelation.
  • Survivor Guilt: Mr. Bashir's best friend, and possibly first love was physically bullied to death while he either participated or watched, causing him no end of angst. Tarek experiences this as well over the death of his brother, for which he is fully responsible due to A Tragedy of Impulsiveness.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Tarek.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: The story's main conflict is revealed to be this.
  • Tragic Dropout: The ending.
  • Urban Segregation: The inner city setting, with mostly immigrant and minority students attending the school.
  • The War on Terror: A huge fear of some of the Muslim parents Mr. Bashir meets with is that their children will end up joining it on the wrong side. In a minor subplot one even actually tries to, but doesn't get very far.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: The school and the neighborhood it's located in.
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