Underbelly is an Australian crime drama television series produced for the Nine Network. Each season contains 13 parts and is based on real life events including the Melbourne gangland killings between 1995 to 2004, the Griffith drug trade which happened between 1976 to 1987 and the Kings Cross scene between 1988 to 1999.
The first season is based on the book Leadbelly: Inside Australia's Underworld, by The Age journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule.
The series premiered in Australia on 13 February 2008 on the Nine Network in all states and territories except Victoria, due to a court injunction.
Underbelly premiered in South Africa on DStv's M-Net Action channel on Friday 12 February 2010, at 19h00. It later aired on TopTV's Fox FX and Fox Entertainment channels. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 2 - entitled Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities - premiered on Fox FX on Tuesday 29 March 2011. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 13 episodes in the second season.
Fox FX Repeats
Wednesdays: 03h30, 22h15
Underbelly, based on the factual book Leadbelly by Melbourne Age journalists John Silvester and Andrew Rule, is the compelling dramatisation of Melbourne’s infamous gangland killings that started in 1998 with the murder of Alphonse Gangitano.
Underbelly boasts a large ensemble cast. Rodger Corser and Caroline Craig star as Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Owen and Detective Constable Jacqui James, who embody the police officers who strove to stem the bloodshed of Melbourne’s internal crime wars.
Portraying real-life characters who have become part of Melbourne folklore are Vince Colosimo (Alphonse Gangitano), Gyton Grantley (Carl Williams), Kat Stewart (Roberta Williams), Simon Westaway (Mick Gatto), Martin Sacks (Mario Condello), Gerard Kennedy (Graham Kinninburgh), Kevin Harrington (Lewis Moran), Callan Mulvey (Mark Moran), Les Hill (Jason Moran), Robert Mammone (Tony Mokbel), George Kapiniaris(George Defteros) and Caroline Gillmer as matriarch Judy Moran.
Underbelly follows the rise and fall of notorious career criminal Carl Williams - widely recognised as Australia’s worst ever serial killer - who sought to be king of Melbourne’s underworld and now languishes in prison.
As the events depicted in Underbelly had taken place in Melbourne, the series was shot entirely on location in and around the city. Over 82 days of filming, 150 inner urban locations were utilised and 450 locations surveyed making the series as close to life as possible.
Underbelly is produced by the Australian Film Finance Corporation, in association with Film Victoria. The executive producers are Des Monaghan and Jo Horsburgh.
Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities follows the Australian criminal landscape that changed forever in the mid 1970s when the illegal drug industry took hold. It acts as a prequel, and the second season to the Underbelly series which aired in 2008.
In the decade between 1976 and 1986 the marijuana and heroin business expanded exponentially. Crooks with enough nerve, brains and imagination stood to make millions.
Two of the biggest crooks of all were "Aussie Bob" Trimbole and Terry "Mr Asia" Clark. This is their story.
This is also the story of the nascent Federal Police, their efforts to understand the nature and extent of organised crime in Australia, and their fight against the pernicious heroin trade.
A Tale of Two Cities was based on the real events that stemmed from the marijuana trade centred around the New South Wales town of Griffith.
The season also depicts the Mr. Asia drug syndicate and its influence on crime in Australia.
Underbelly: The Golden Mile is set in King Cross in 1988-1999, where bent cops, straight cops, cool criminals and colourful characters all converged to make their mark.
But by 1995 the Wood Royal Commission had put the “black empire” under threat of collapse as strong and honest police fought to take back control of the most infamous strip in Australia.
Underbelly: The Golden Mile covers a turbulent, yet engrossing period in Australia’s recent history, going behind the scenes to look at the police corruption that was rife in NSW in the late 80's, set amidst the framework of the Golden Mile – Kings Cross – home to some of the city's most colourful characters.
The cops were bent and the crims were cool and together they ran the most exciting street in Australia... strippers, gamblers, gunmen, dealers, bouncers, bagmen... they all came to The Golden Mile!
A smart and sexy young Kim Hollingsworth, smiling teenage Kings Cross identity Johnny Ibrahim, the Bayeh Brothers, Trevor Haken, Chook Fowler... The Golden Mile was their playground and they played like there was no tomorrow.
Then, in 1995, "tomorrow" came and the Wood Royal Commission cleaned out the Black Empire within the NSW Police. What it left behind was a mess that took years of mayhem to bring under control.
Underbelly: The Golden Mile is the story of the excesses of the empire, the collapse of the empire, the chaos that followed, and the ultimate victory of strong and honest police... seen through the eyes of some of the most sexy, charming, corrupt and deadly people of the time.
The season is a prequel to the 2008 production Underbelly, which was about the Melbourne gangland killings and a sequel to the 2009 production Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities which forms part of the Underbelly series.
In the first episode: teenager John Ibrahim, whose brother is a bouncer in the cross, saves another bouncer in Kings Cross from being beat up by drunks, earning him a meeting with boss George Freeman, whose advice prompts John to take start saving to buy into his first night club.
Trevor Haken transfers to Kings Cross Detectives and is introduced to the collecting of protection money from local businesses, with senior police fearing a royal commission.
Each season consists of 13 hour-long episodes
Channel: M-Net Action | Premiere: 12 Feb 2010 | Finale: 7 May 2010 | Fridays, 19h00
Channel: Fox FX | Premiere: 3 May 2010 | Finale: 26 Jul 2010 | Mondays, 20h30
Channel: Fox Entertainment | Premiere: 21 Apr 2010 | Finale: 14 Jul 2010 | Wed, 21h45
Channel: Fox FX | Premiere: 29 Mar 2011 | Finale: 21 Jun 2011 | Tuesdays, 20h30
Channel: Fox Entertainment | Premiere: 21 Jul 2010 | Finale: 13 Oct 2010 | Wed, 21h45