Roger Reloaded (TV Week)

Richard Roxburgh returns as disgraced detective Roger Rogerson in Blue Murder: Killer Cop.

On May 27, 2014 disgraced former detective Roger Rogerson was arrested at his home in Padstow in Sydney. Roger, along with another former Kings Cross detective, Glen McNamara, was accused of murdering 20 year old student Jamie Gao in a drug deal gone wrong.

It was very much the beginning of the end for Roger as he was handcuffed and unceremoniously marched out of his front door, looking every day of his 73 years.

While Roger's real life story was coming to an end – he would be convicted of the Gao murder and sentenced to a life behind bars – it sparked renewed interest in the larger-than-life tale of the dodgy cop.

Fast-forward to today and we're about to see the next chapter of Blue Murder. Leading man Richard Roxburgh returns to the role he played so convincingly.

"Roger is a very complex individual," Richard, 55, says. "It was strange returning to him. It wasn't pretty and it didn't feel great."

The original 1995 series, which detailed how Roger went from police force pin up to crooked cop, was a revelation.

"He was indeed an exceptional and brave cop, but at some point he shifted to the dark side," the actor explains. "It just seems to have been a gradual slip and then a plummet."

The second installment comes a full 22 years later and follows Roger's life outside of the law, mixing with the men he once arrested.

"He obviously changed enormously in the span of years that we encompass in this particular span of his life," Richard points out. "He's incredibly different [to what he was like] in Blue Murder."

When we first wade back into Roger's world in Blue Murder: Killer Cop, the disgraced former detective is still relying heavily on corrupt police pals to make ends meet.

But when he connects with infamous drug dealer Michael Hurley, portrayed by Dan Wyllie, Roger soon finds himself under the radar.

"It was a life he clearly couldn't stay away from," Matt Nable, who plays Mark Standen, the assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission, says. "He was so connected and it was too easy."

But while Roger relapses back into a life of crime, we also see him fall in love. Enter Roger's wife, Anne Melocco, played by Toni Collette.

"The moment I heard Toni was in the cast, I was keen to join," Emma Booth, who played Julie Weinthall, a police officer involved with the Rogerson task force, reveals.

"They [Roger and Anne] had a special relationship. She was his soft spot."

Across two action packed episodes, we see Roger struggling to find his feet. He has a new wife, but old habits.

"I think he was excited by the dark side," Richard says. "He was never going to get away from it.

Meanwhile, we're also treated to a bit of backstory about Mark Standen, who's fall from grace almost rivals that of Roger.

Despite his high ranking position in the NSW Crime Commission, a department created to bring down the likes of Rogerson, Hurley, and other organized crime figures, Mark was found guilty of drug importation in 2011.

"He's a complicated man, no doubt," Matt, 45, says. "But once again, his ego just got in the way. He thought he was above the law and paid the price."

Matt elected not to visit Mark, who is serving 22 years in Sydney's Long Bay jail. Instead he relied on research material to bring the character to life.

"He was arrogant, confident, and truly thought he was untouchable," Matt says.

"In a lot of ways, he was like Roger. It's why I think he was so determined to put him away – they're very similar."

In Blue Murder: Killer Cop, as Roger races towards the final crime of his career, Mark hurtles headfirst to his own undoing.

"Neither knew when to stop," Matt declares. "That ultimately brought them both down."

Who's Who?
An all star Aussie cast brings this true crime story vividly to life.

  • Richard Roxburgh as Roger Rogerson – Richard returns to the role that won him a TV Week Silver Logie Award back in 1996 and doesn't miss a beat. The walk, the bark, the glint in his eye – the Rake star nails every part of Roger, making it hard to tell to two apart.
  • Matt Nable as Mark Standen – From a bad boy bikie in Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms to a tough as nails coach in Barracuda, Matt is no stranger to taking on some challenging roles. He steps it up here as conflicted – and corrupt – top cop Mark Standen.
  • Dan Wyllie as Michael Hurley – No Australian tv series is complete without Dan in the cast. After starring in Love My Way, Puberty Blues, The Code, No Activity, and Underbelly, this time around Dan portrays former drug boss Michael Hurley.
  • Toni Collette as Anne Melocco – the Muriel's Wedding star plays Roger's wife, Anne Melocco. The pair wed in 2004, but both were convicted in 2005 of lying to the 1999 Police Integrity Commission. Anne was sentenced to two years periodic detention.
  • Justin Smith as Glen McNamara – Justin has appeared in Underbelly, Howzot! Kerry Packer's War, Devil's Playground, and Secret City. He plays Glen McNamara, the man convicted alongside Roger of the 2014 killing of Sydney student Jamie Gao.

[Credit to TV Week magazine
(August 5th-11th, 2017)]

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