Blue Heelers: articles

John Wood and Jeff Morrell

The arrival of career-crim Danny O'Keefe (Gary Sweet, pictured, with John Wood) brings new problems in Blue Heelers.


"Looks like Fort Knox," senior detective P.J. Hasham (Martin Sacks) observes as he and detective Amy Fox (Rachel Gordon) pull up outside the high-security gates of a newly built mansion on the outskirts of Mt Thomas.

"More like Club Med," she responds. Turns out the place is neither as impregnable as Fort Knox nor as much fun as Club Med.

Once inside, the detectives discover the aftermath of a vicious home invasion: a distressed and fearful wife; her injured, though still cocky, young son; and an empty safe.

As Chasing Smoke, written by Ted Roberts and directed by Chris Langman, unfolds it emerges that this is the (ostensibly) well-protected home of a new member of the Mt Thomas community, Danny O'Keefe, played by Gary Sweet in a four-episode guest role.

Sweet appears to be having a fine time as a smooth operator with a barely concealed mean streak.

He's confident, yet menacing - it's not hard to see who his son is trying to emulate.

It's no surprise to learn that O'Keefe is a "person of interest" to the coppers in Melbourne and a crook suspected of big-time drug-dealing.

Pretty soon, "The Boss" is delivering the this-is-war cry of a staunch policeman intent on protecting his patch.

"If he thinks he can come into my town and bring his big-city crime with him, he's got another think coming," Tom Croydon (John Wood) harrumphs.

The secondary story involves stolen cars, another cocky kid, car chases, the by-the-book manner of Sergeant Mark Jacobs (Geoff Morrell) and the rebellious tendencies of Constable Jones (Ditch Davey).

The recent shake-up at the old station has swept aside an unhealthy staleness that had settled on the place and there's some much-needed fresh energy provided by the new recruits, including Samantha Tolj as true-blue Aussie gal Kelly O'Rourke and Danny Raco as Italian stallion Joss Peroni.

So it's not entirely surprising to see the Heelers now challenging the belles of McLeod's Daughters to regain the title of most popular local drama and it's gratifying to see some new life in the old dog.

By Debi Enker
February 24, 2005
The Age