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The Code is a compelling political thriller that moves from a complex relationship between two brothers to the political machinations of Canberra and a fictional outback community. The first episode launches into these seemingly disparate worlds when fringe journalist Ned Banks is handed a dirt file on a minister the government wants to be rid of — covertly. Ned finds a handwritten note in the file, apparently unrelated, with the word ‘Lindara’ written on it. Shouldering the responsibility of his mildly autistic brother, Jesse — a gifted computer hacker who’s already on a government watch list — Ned is drawn into uncovering the connection between government power and surveillance and the outback murder of an Indigenous teenager.
This is a beautifully structured, intelligent, powerfully relevant piece of writing. Shelley Birse’s opening episode is a masterpiece of intrigue and story momentum. She skillfully interweaves plot strands, keeping the dramatic stakes high. Birse balances dodgy politics, delicate personal relationships and suspenseful action, building to an exciting end-of-episode hook. The characters are complex and well-drawn, with voices that are exacting and distinct. Her writing is cinematic in its scope — a perfect blueprint for this political and uniquely Australian ‘David and Goliath’ story.