Dead Lucky astutely steers the audience in one direction then twists and changes course time and again remaining unpredictable to the end. A chaotic net binds the absorbing characters together, revealing their individual perspectives through their cultures, relationships, and... motives.
A fall from Grace
Detective Senior Sergeant Grace Gibbs has to contend with dark events from her past that have tainted her reputation with her police colleagues. Blamed for the death of uniformed police officer Lincoln Tassoni when events at a crime scene went bad, Grace has been directed to undergo anger management by “the boys upstairs” and is being undermined under the ever watchful eye of her not so trustworthy boss.
Teamed up with bright new rookie detective Charlie Fung, the pair are faced with the return of the same armed robber and murderer that killed Lincoln, Charlie’s best friend. With another murder and a young woman missing, they are reluctantly thrown together as Grace slams head-on into her obsession with catching the killer.
In the hunt, Dead Lucky pulls back the curtains on modern Australia and views it through multiple lenses. Lenses which are not always favourable and include gendered violence, racism, exploitation and the rarely portrayed struggles faced by international students living in Australia.
As the hunt for the callous killer progresses, Charlie begins to see a different side to Grace.
A dead set stellar cast
Written by Ellie Beaumont and Drew Proffitt, and directed by David Caesar, Dead Lucky delivers an impressive ensemble cast with a predictably outstanding performance by Rachel Griffiths at the helm.
As the disgruntled, irreverent and super smart Grace, Griffiths perfectly captures the quintessential acerbic police wit, at one point advising the police psychologist why she thinks she is in anger management — “Because some people think I’m angry and they happen to be in management”.
Of the gender role reversal, Griffiths commented, "The buddy-cop genre usually has the male white guy in midlife career crisis and I thought it would be interesting to tease that out through the female perspective because I didn't think we've seen that before”.
This role reversal aligns with Griffiths quest now she is back home in Australia, to see "more complex depictions of female experience” on screen, and to encourage more female directors via #shedirects .
Yoson An (Grace, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2) masterfully takes on the role of Charlie Fung, while Xana Tang (The Letdown) and 2017 Heath Ledger Scholarship recipient Mojean Aria (Danger Close, The Bronx Bull) light up the screen as Bo-Lin Tan and Mani Dalir.
“What attracted me to Dead Lucky is that it’s very, very multicultural. It’s this classic, female-driven cop thriller but it has this international student world that we’ve never really seen and I’ve never really read about”, said Dalir.
Rhys Muldoon (House Husbands) slithers onscreen as Grace’s misogynistic boss — a creepy representation of old gen institutional sexism who disregards women and repeatedly uses phrases like “all of our manpower” and “the boys upstairs”.
Whilst not taking up as much screen time as other characters, Brooke Satchwell is memorable and brilliantly convincing as a woman dealing with the relentless, chilling fear of gendered violence.
Dead Lucky is sharp, well-written TV showcasing contemporary multicultural society in the foreground of a police procedural delivered at lightning speed. So get ready for the ride.
The gripping four-part Dead Lucky premieres Wednesday 25 July, 9.30pm on SBS and will also available on SBS On Demand.