DVD Review: The Code – The Complete Season Two

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Explosive techno-thriller sees two brothers drawn into a web of political subterfuge and conspiracies.

Riffing on topical headlines, the second season of The Code is an urgent suspense-filled glimpse into the shadowy world of digital activists and corrupt private security firms. From Canberra’s corridors of power to West Papua’s lush jungles, the series delivers a hot and sweaty thrill-soaked ride which asks questions about how far government should be allowed to go in order to protect personal freedoms and national security in the Wikileaks age.

Trouncing its first season, The Code‘s politically-charged second series is top-loaded with a succession of intrigues; bullet-ridden bodies of Australian citizens are found in West Papua, the abduction of a child sparks fears he is being auctioned on a darknet chat room, and a notorious hacker is in the possession of an encrypted file that could plunge entire countries into a technological dark age. This cyber crime show doesn’t attempt to ignore that we now live in a post-Edward Snowden world and tackles head-on the thorny issue of hacktivists and the agenda of those trying to apprehend them.

Conceived as a one season show, the producers played all their creative cards in a single session not expecting Australian broadcaster ABC would commission a follow-up. As production progressed on the first batch of episodes the core creative team watched as the actors brought their characters to life the possibility was floated of continuing the story.

During early stages of pre-production revelations about Edward Snowden and the NSA began to appear in the press. Showrunner Shelley Birse sensed that state surveillance would be effective story material for the second outing.

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Set shortly after events of the first season, Jesse (Ashley Zukerman) and Ned Banks (Dan Spielman) are confronted with the consequences of chaos they unleashed. As they prepare to bury their mother police officers arrive to notify them that an extradition order has been served. Facing the possibility of trial in an American court where sentencing will be far more severe Jesse and Ned agree to assist the Australian government in exchange for assurance that they will not be sent overseas.

Capricious hacktivist Jan Roth (Anthony LaPaglia ) is hosting an online bazaar on the darknet. Among the listings for illegal weapons, drugs, and political extremist ideologies is an auction for a missing teenager. The government is eager to track down the child before he is sold to a pedophile sex ring. Jesse’s services are secured to shut down the auction and trace the adolescent.

The Code truly takes flight after the teenager has been found. Other series might have made the abuduction and auction the central plot but here it’s a McGuffin to kickstart the story and draw our heroes back into action. The story shifts its focus in the final three episodes and launches towards its dramatic conclusion at breakneck speed. Have the authorities lied to Jesse? How far will they go to ensnare Jan Roth? In the battle to maintain digital security who polices the police?

Corporate, political, and national security power plays on a grand scale set against the backdrop of Canberra’s corridors and West Papua’s exotic landscape. This second outing for vulnerable but gifted hacker Jesse, journalist brother Ned,and girlfriend Hani (Adele Perovic) is filled with uncertainty and paranoia.

The Code – The Complete Season Two is available to order from Amazon.

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