This mini-series is an adaptation of Helen Simpson's novel, previously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in 1949. The narrative traces the domestic life of former convict Samson Flusky and his alcoholic wife Lady Henrietta, and the tensions that creep into their life and marriage when they meet Charles Adare, newly arrived in New South Wales with his uncle, the new governor.
Moran notes, in his Guide to Australian TV Series, that the mini-series was more overtly Australian in focus and feel than the original film, which 'was a noir mystery/romance that happened to have a period setting':
The mini-series is certainly a mystery/romance but it is also part of the Australian historical or period cycle of feature films and mini-series which have recreated the nation's history. Thus this mini-series immediately belongs to a cycle that includes not only such nostalgic quality films as Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Irishman, Gallipoli and others, but most especially such mini-series of the early convict settlement as Against the Wind, Sara Dane and For the Term of His Natural Life.
Moran concludes that the mini-series was not an overall success: 'the mini-series, while containing the film noir nuances, moves the narrative firmly in the direction of being both Australian and historical in its concern with the early convict/emancipation phase of Australian settlement, much like Against the Wind and The Timeless Land. There is much detail of settlement life and this fits rather oddly with the psychological drama. One understands the hesitation of the Nine Network in marketing the series.'