Tonight was the series final of Underbelly Badness. This year’s series focused on the investigation into the murder of Terry Falconer. Over the last week I have rapidly read the book accompanying the TV series, Bad by Michael Duffy, which provides a more factually accurate description of the events.
The book like the TV series is compelling. In my opinion the book is even more dramatic than the TV series. In particular, the final third of the book focuses on the drama of the police court case which is fascinating in its design, its presentation of witness and evidence, the collapse of the first trial, and the success of the second. Unfortunately, none of this sort of drama makes for good TV and as a result the final of the TV series merely presented the court case in a much more straightforward manner.
Furthermore, the book provides good detail where the TV series shows artistic license. Some of the artistic license in the series makes sense, such as certain characters having different jobs from real life. Meanwhile other deviations from fact don’t seem to add much at all for example a family member being ill in the TV series whereas in reality it was a key character that was ill during one subplot.
All in all, this year’s season of Underbelly has been the best so far. The series focus on the crime and the cops has been much better than the sleazy drama of past seasons. However, as with all the past seasons, the tie-in books offer a much fuller story that a TV show simply cannot fully explore. With five seasons of Underbelly down, three telemovies, and the spin off Bikie Wars, it will be interesting to see what story is told next.