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On the basis of the opening episodes, Shawn Seet's production looks to provide plenty of interest. A sophisticated political thriller set in Canberra and the outback, THE CODE focuses on the efforts of journalist Ned Banks (Dan Spielman) to find out the connection between governmental politics and a mysterious accident involving the death of a teenager. The quest leads him into several inexplicable and often traumatic incidents; his brother Jesse (Ashley Zukerman) is taken into custody for having hacked a government website, and roughed up in the process. When Jesse returns home, he is so traumatized that he can hardly communicate. No one can be trusted in this world of shadows: Jesse's girlfriend is not quite all that she might be, while Ned's ex-girlfriend Sophie (Chelsie Preston Crayford), a high-ranking member of the government's spin-doctoring team, has a relationship with her oleaginous boss, who knows what's happened to Jesse, but will never let on.
Stylistically speaking, THE CODE borrows some conventions from US series such as NUMB3RS - for example, the flashing of computer- screens and computer-generated information on screen to advance the plot. The basic situation owes a lot to NUMB3RS too: Jesse might be suffering from panic attacks, but he is also a computer genius, working in cahoots with his more staid yet respectable brother Ned. Nonetheless director Seet shows that there is a firm filial bond between the two of them: Ned reveals a touching concern for Jesse's welfare, especially when forced to leave home on a business assignment.
THE CODE makes much of the contrast between town and country; the endless plains of the outback, with lonely buildings placed here and there suggests a wild, untamed world, one where it is very easy to get lost. This is precisely what happens to teenager Clarence Boyd (Aaron L. McGrath) at one point. The city world of Canberra is one of gleaming glass buildings and perpetual shadows - a fitting context for a world of politicking in which people try to get the better of one another by fair means or foul. Most government officials' principal interest consists of saving their own skin - which is why they treat Jesse so brutally as someone who has inadvertently fouled up their organization.
The only criticism of the series so far is that director Seet tends to advance the plot through exposition - where characters explain things to us through dialog - rather than incident. This strategy tends to slow the pace of the drama up somewhat. Once the basic situation have been established, however, the drama unfolds smoothly, offering several surprises along the way. Definitely worth staying with.
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