Water Rats: profiles

Catherine McClements as Rachel Goldstein

Catherine McClements

Rachel Goldstein's lost only one battle in her life—and that was for her son. When her marriage to a lawyer 18 years her senior disintegrated after she refused to give up life as a cop to be a full time wife the courts decide young David would do better living with a wealthy barrister In an affluent part of town than in seedy Kings Cross with a tough cop who works all hours.

So now Goldie's life is torn between seeing her son at weekends, when he's not to busy or her ex and his new girlfriend don't find it inconvenient, and the police service. But while she looks as if she is as hard as nails, she's bruised. And its not just because of David.

A year ago while shopping in a supermarket in the Cross, two bandits looked as if they were going to shoot a customer during a hold-up. She shot the gunman. He turned out to be just a skinny kid looking for some cash for a fix. Internal Affairs cleared her of any wrong-doing—"She's a cold one", was their private verdict—but she's still haunted by the memory. The dead man's girlfriend, still in prison, is vowing to get her. In her early 30s, Goldie jogs, works out and looks as if she has everything, even her men, under control. Inside, she's hurting.

WATER RATS is Catherine McClements' biggest television role to date—and she's thrilled to be a part of it. There's the obvious quality of the production, the chance to work alongside an accomplished actor such as Colin Friels, and then there's character of Goldie to bring her to life.

To prepare Catherine spent time with a couple of female detectives. "They had an incredible sense of humour and you could see that really helped to get the thought the stress of the job," says Catherine. "They had story after story… But I also had a sense that they were observers. Although it was their life, they seemed somehow detached from it.

Goldie's Jewishness was another challenge. Fortunately, Catherine had just finished playing Louise in the Belvoir Street Theatre production of THE BLIND GIANT IS DANCING before coming on board with WATER RATS. With Louise also Jewish, it was great primer. "The Jewish people I have met are incredibly intelligent and articulate," she says. "Goldie can express her feelings and opinions very well and that is a big part of her character. She doesn't let anything go by and she can look after herself. She doesn't need help from anyone.

Although Catherine's not a well-known television name, the producers were overwhelmed by her enthusiasm and passion and her presence on camera. "We could just see her rushing in where angels fear to tread," they say, "and the camera loves her. It's the eyes that have it—unsettling if you're on the wrong side of her, clear and focused if you're on side.

Catherine acted with the St. Martin's Youth Company in Melbourne for two years before going to NIDA. She graduated in 1985, taking a major role in the movie THE RIGHT HAND MAN while still studying. Since then she's had lead roles in WEEKEND WITH KATE—opposite Colin Friels again with an AFI Award in 1990 to show for it—STRUCK BY LIGHTNING and REDHEADS, which won her the best supporting actress award at the 1993 Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Japan.

Her theatre work has included ANGELS IN AMERICA, for which she was nominated for a major award, THE CRUCIBLE, CRYSTAL CLEAR and THE IMAGINARY INVALID. In television, she has had leads in GP and TOMMORROW'S END.