Infiltrating an organisation for the purposes of law enforcement is a stressful thing to do, so if you’re ditching the uniform and going undercover, it helps to have some models to follow (or avoid). Remember when Bubbles gave the police advice on how to look like a real junkie in The Wire? Let these shows be your Bubbles.
Gangland Undercover will help you infiltrate a bikie gang
Between 2003 and 2006, a meth dealer named Charles Falco went undercover in the Vagos Motorcycle Club for the ATF, to avoid prosecution. This show is based on his actual experiences in gaining their trust, so as you can imagine, it’s gripping, terrifying, and full of memorable characters who might kill you - or at least beat the living shit out of you.
With two seasons to marathon, there’s plenty here to gorge on before hitting the Harley yourself.
Sons of Anarchy will fill out the rest of the info you need
Be aware: this may cause you to rethink your career decisions. Mostly this iconic series isn’t about infiltration, but it’s similar to Gangland Undercover in presenting bikie culture in all its messy glory. SAMCRO is exactly the kind of organisation that looks effortlessly cool, and would be an actual nightmare for most people to break into.
21 Jump Street will get you into any crime-ridden high school
Whether you’re taking cues from Johnny Depp or Channing Tatum, the rules are the same: always blend in. That means knowing how teenagers act, think and, most importantly, speak. There’s no bigger giveaway than someone who doesn’t know whether to say “groovy” or “rad” (unless it’s someone constantly humming the 21 Jump Street theme song). Be prepared to deal with drug trafficking, hate crimes and acne.
Stingers puts an Aussie twist on the undercover life
With eight seasons of high-pressure action to take in, Stingers is the ultimate resource for blending in with Australia’s criminal underworld (particularly if they haven’t updated their habits since 1998-2004). Inspired by true events, Stingers sees Peter Phelps and his evolving team of operators busting up Victorian crime gangs from the inside. The budget cuts from season to season will realistically reflect your department copping swinging cuts from the government.
Undercover Boss is the most dangerous mission of all
Wear a terrible disguise and perform a low-level job poorly – that’s what it takes to head out among the herd of employees at your disposal and find out what they really think. Be prepared for some rude shocks, and for best results make a personal connection with a gold-hearted battler that you’ll reward with a promotion or raise at the end of your mission.
Now that you think you know what you're facing going undercover, have those expectations blown away by the harshness of the reality. Stream the first two seasons of the eye-opening Gangland Undercover on SBS On Demand: