• Actor Rarriwuy Hick learned Arrernte language for her new role, starring as a detective in the central desert (SBS/NITV)Source: SBS/NITV
Critics love the complex storytelling and top-notch performances in this new murder mystery from SBS and NITV.
Staff writers

1 Jul 2022 - 2:41 PM  UPDATED 14 Jul 2022 - 1:03 PM

A brand new series that's being described as "authentic and powerful" and "Australian noir at its best", True Colours is an Australian-made murder mystery like no other. 

Filmed entirely on location in the Northern Territory - in and around Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Amoonguna Aboriginal Community and the beautiful Yeperenye, otherwise know as the East Macdonnell Ranges - this four-part series stars Rarriwuy Hick (Redfern Now, Wentworth) as detective Toni Alma, in what one reviewer has described as "a career-best performance". Hick is impressive as Alma, the daughter of an Indigenous mother and white father, who faces multiple challenges as she is sent back to the community where she spent her childhood to investigate a muder. She needs to navigate two sets of laws in the hunt for a killer, plus personal complications: her uncle, Samuel Alma (Warren H. Williams) is the local community police officer and her ex, Nick Gawler (Luke Arnold), has been assigned as her partner in the investigation. 

Indigenous art is another star of the series. More than 200 works by artists from around the Central Australian region are seen in the series, which has attracted praise for its acting, authenticity and intriguing mystery.


Here's what the critics are saying

"True Colours excels at portraying delicate community dynamics, enhanced by cinematic shots of the NT’s staggering terrain. The trademarks of a murder mystery – dead girl, wrongfully accused boyfriend, stolen artefact – feel fresh, enlivened by Hick's conflicted performance and the unique exploration of Indigenous art history,”  - The Big Issue.

“True Colours is revelatory, groundbreaking. It feels like a privilege to observe this world…it’s a gift to us all.” - The Weekend Australian.

“Goes to the heart of Australian storytelling,” ABC RN – Breakfast (Wenlei Ma, TV and film critic at news.com.au)

“Its exploration of community tensions and aspects of broader Indigenous culture are compelling,” – The Guardian

“Australian noir at its best.” – The West Australian

“…the storytelling is measured and reflective.”The Sunday Age 

“Rarriwuy Hick gives a career-best performance.” – Binge Guide

“A thoughtful mystery thriller.” – The Australian

“If NITV has the luxury of commissioning more drama at this level with SBS, we’re all the richer for it.” - TV Tonight.

“Authentic and powerful.” – TV Week

“Expect plenty of twists, turns, and the Arrernte people’s connection to art to be at the centre of this miniseries.” – Mamamia, Top 12 recommendations for what to watch in July

“You’ll be absolutely hooked right from the word go as you try to figure out what happened." - The West Australian. 


Authentic storytelling

Taking on the role of Toni Alma meant a new challenge for Yolngu woman Rarriwuy Hick, since dialogue in the series moves between Arrernte and English. Hick, who speaks Yolngu Matha, flew to Alice Springs a month before filming started to learn Arrernte, and has talked to NITV about the "beautiful exchange" with her teacher, Arrernte and Warlpiri woman Marie Ellis.

The law in language: Rarriwuy Hick's groundbreaking TV role
Despite over a decade in the entertainment industry, 'True Colours' is a career first for Yolngu woman Rarriwuy Hick who plays bilingual Arrernte detective Toni Alma.

Hick has also spoken about the importance of language, the respect for Country that was central to making the show, and the power of storytelling, in interviews with Peppermint magazine and The Age, while Luke Arnold has described his role as a rare privilege in an interview with The Daily Telegraph [subscription required].


A powerful collaboration with SBS and NITV,  ground-breaking 4-part crime drama series True Colours is a murder mystery like no other. For more about True Colours, head to the program page. The series is streaming now at SBS On Demand.


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A powerful collaboration between NITV and SBS, 'True Colours' is a mystery that twists and turns between two laws to find a killer very close to home.