Janet King focuses, quite obviously, on the Senior Crown Prosecutor of the same name, played by the stupendous Marta Dusseldorp of A Place to Call Home and Jack Irish fame, a role she executes flawlessly. Janet is a tough-as-nails solicitor, but she is coming back from a year of maternity leave following the birth of her twins and her partner, Ashleigh (Aimee Pedersen), has agreed to take this next year off from teaching to be at home with the babies. Upon returning, King is immediately dumped into a seemingly open and shut case of child porn set to go to trial on her first day back. This case sets in motion a tumbleset of events that rock both the police community and that of the DPP (Department of Public Prosecutions, where King works) and even higher political offices still. The entire 8-hour series is a group of tightly-interwoven episodes that each reveal a bit more corruption and evil at every turn.
Everything starts when Steven Blakely (John Howard), a high ranking police officer, is arrested for the suspicious assisted suicide of his wife, who had terminal cancer. King throws herself into prosecuting the case, following the big loss in the Moreno child porn case. Things don't quite add up and as she digs into the life of this beloved cop, she stirs the anger of the police department, especially hard-boiled Chief Superintendent Jack Rizzoli (Vince Colosimo) and even mild-mannered Detective Andy Campbell (Christopher Morris). When Blakely turns up dead of apparent suicide, a whole new can of worms is opened and this just goes on and on, with each new discovery revealing a new and horrifying chapter.
New to the DPP is career-climber Owen Mitchell (Damian Walshe-Howling), a highly intelligent former cop who has his eyes set on the prize position of Senior Crown. He has a slightly dirty way of getting things done, yet he's effective, but can he be trusted? Familiar faces returning from Crownies include Andy's wife, Lina Badir (Andrea Demetriades), who is now working in the Sex Crimes Unit; Erin O'Shaughnassey (Ella Scott Lynch), whom Janet recently recommended for promotion; brilliant and nerdy solicitor Richard Stirling (Hamish Michael); and Tony Gillies as Janet's boss (Peter Kowitz), among several others. Eagle-eyed fans of A Place to Call Home will recognize Deborah Kennedy and Heather Mitchell, both great in their respective roles.
Janet King: Series 1: The Enemy Within is a simply excellent legal drama, drawing you in and never letting go from start to finish. I burned through the 8-hour story arc in 3 sittings because I just didn't want to stop watching. The cast is universally excellent and makes me want to go back and find Crownies so I can watch as they develop these characters, but regardless, Janet King has been renewed and so there are at least two more series to look forward to there. If you enjoy legal drama, Janet King: Series 1: The Enemy Within is can't miss stuff. Seriously, go watch it right now.