Anthony LaPaglia in a scene from the TV series The Code.
Anthony LaPaglia in a scene from the TV series The Code.

TELEVISION: Lush backdrop for latest season of The Code

FAR North Queensland provides a lush new landscape in the return of The Code. It has been nearly two years since the award-winning political thriller debuted on the ABC.

While the red of the outback contrasted with the coldness of Canberra in season one, season two is full of vibrant greens, running water and dense growth.

"There are boards in the production office where there are photos of the incredibly angular Canberra environment and that very architectural world and then there's this incredible board of photographs from Far North Queensland," creator Shelley Birse told Weekend.

"The response to the show and the Australian location and content was such a strong selling point for DCD Media, who had the international distribution rights, we knew it was an important part of the equation. When you dream of where you could possibly set something, it didn't take too much thinking to go 'could we go to Far North Queensland?'"

Birse received a Scribe grant from production house Playmaker for season one. Thanks to its success - the show was sold internationally in the UK, US, Canada and parts of Europe and South America - it's no surprise Screen Queensland got on board.

Thursday's premiere of season two introduced the tropical setting thanks to new protagonist Jan Roth, played by Anthony LaPaglia.

The Cairns native is running an illegal online marketplace on the dark web from Papua New Guinea, and presents an interesting new challenge for brothers Ned and Jesse Banks - who are being threatened with extradition to the US for their actions in season one. Living out in the jungle, seemingly off the grid, Roth isn't your typical hacker.

So is Roth the cyber criminal the government makes him out to be, or are the authorities manipulating Jesse to take advantage of his hacking skills?

That issue will play out throughout the course of the new season, which was inspired partly by the story of US whistle blower Edward Snowden.

"As we were developing this story, the revelations about the NSA and Edward Snowden's activities came out," Birse said. "All of a sudden it felt like we had a new push to go 'what does it mean to have privacy on the internet?'"

It's not too late to start watching this series, which is one of the best Aussie dramas of the year.

The Code airs Thursdays at 8.30pm on ABC1.

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