Made by Crawford Productions for the Seven Network, Homicide was screened in prime-time from 1964 to 1975. There were 510 episodes— mostly an hour long, but including several that were feature length. Homicide’s immediate predecessors were Crawford’s radio crime drama D24 and the courtroom-based series Consider Your Verdict. Homicide’s locally sourced stories, low budgets and suburban locations were deployed to enhance a certain gritty realism that enabled Australian viewers to see their own streets and backyards, and hear their own vernacular, on the small screen for the first time. Chases were usually on foot, guns were rarely needed and many stunts were performed by the actors themselves.
The original cast of John Fegan, Terry McDermott and Lex Mitchell was soon joined by Leonard Teale, who became the squad’s longest serving member. Other notable actors in a rotating ensemble of (always male) detectives included Alwyn Kurts, John Stanton, George Mallaby, Norman Yemm and Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell.
Later episodes were shot entirely on colour film, allowing for greater flexibility with locations. Adopting the show’s unwavering narrative structure (discovery of body, investigation, arrest), these final episodes proved an apt training ground for some of the key players in the resurgence of Australian feature film production that followed Homicide’s demise. These included directors Ian Jones, George Miller, Simon Wincer, David Stevens, Kevin Dobson, Paul 209 horne, donald richmond (1921–2005) Eddey and Igor Auzins, as well as screenwriters Keith Thompson, Peter Schreck, Phil Friedman, Cliff Green and Everette de Roche.
REFs: Paul Davies Script Collection (Fryer Library, UQ); http://www.classicaustraliantv.com/homicide.htm.