Underbelly: The Golden Mile

Underbelly: The Golden Mile, the third series of Nine Network‘s popular crime drama series Underbelly, originally aired from 11 April to 27 June 2010. It is a thirteen-part series loosely based on real events that stemmed from the mile-long nightclub/red light district in the Sydney suburb of Kings Cross, also known as the “Golden Mile”, between 1988 and 1999. It primarily depicts the organized crimes in Kings Cross and the police corruption leading up to the 1995 Wood Royal Commission. It’s a prequel to Underbelly, which was about the Melbourne gangland killings, and a sequel to Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities. Among the characters presented are John Ibrahim, Kim Hollingsworth, George Freeman, Lenny McPherson and MP John Hatton. Some of the characters, particularly those of the NSW Police, reprise their roles from A Tale of Two Cities.

The series premiered on the Nine Network on 11 April 2010 at 8.30 pm, with the double episode premiere attracting an average of 2.23 million viewers nationally, in the mainland capitals. The series also premiered on TV3 in New Zealand on Wednesday 5 May 2010 at 8:30 pm.

History

The series begins in 1988, a year after the events of the previous series. An intelligent but rebellious Lebanese high school boy named John Ibrahim joins his friends in Kings Cross with plans and dreams of making a fortune. Throughout the series the plot shows how John began his entrepreneurship by working for underworld figures like George Freeman and Lenny McPherson, who at the time were the ultimate kings of the Cross. The series also shows the continuing corrupt activities within NSW Police ranks stationed in Kings Cross, particularly Trevor Haken, Jim Egan and Dennis Kelly, who reprise their roles from Season 2 and Graham “Chook” Fowler, Eddie “Parrot” Gould and Neville “Scully” Scullion.

As the series progresses, George Freeman dies from an asthma attack, leaving the Cross up for grab by anyone with power on the street. A young woman named Kim Hollingsworth appears, and the series explains Kim’s story from being an ordinary working girl to a high-end stripper/prostitute. In the center of the series, social justice crusader and NSW MP John Hatton initiates the Wood Royal Commission to investigate corrupt police officers. Police detective Trevor Haken becomes an informant during the Commission, helping the government blow the lid on corrupt officers in Kings Cross, while his family life is torn apart. The other detectives are all exposed and Jim Egan commits suicide. Meanwhile, in Kings Cross, John Ibrahim has become a notable businessman after acquisition of most entertainment complexes in the area and being acquitted of a manslaughter charge. The dominance of traditional players in the Cross like Bill and Louis is now under threat from the arrival of a stable of new characters, including drug dealer Benny Kassab and his violent and impulsive enforcer Danny “DK” Karam.

Kim Hollingsworth decides to apply for the police academy after growing sick of her life as a sex worker. She is approached by the Royal Commission task force and becomes an undercover agent, but her application for the police workforce is rejected after her previous employment history is revealed, and the Royal Commission abandons her after her uses are over. She decides to sue the NSW Police and wins the lawsuit, though she never receives any compensation. Near the end of the series, Dennis Kelly applies to become Police Commissioner but is forced to withdraw after his corrupted past is exposed. Since the Royal Commission, the Golden Mile has plunged into chaos and violence with turf wars breaking out. As a result, a special task force called Strike Force Lancer is set up to investigate organized crimes in Kings Cross. After Kassab’s arrest, Danny Karam has formed a gang called “DK’s Boys” in attempt to take over the Cross, but his gang members, led by the loose cannon Michael Kanaan, plot his murder and attempt to take control for themselves, their violence escalates with kneecappings of rivals to an eventual shooting of civilians. Task Force Lance eventually pin down Kanaan and arrest his gang.

The series ends showing that Kim is currently living a normal secluded life in rural New South Wales, while peace has finally been restored to Kings Cross. The police and bikies said to John that they will always watch his back, making him remain as the undisputed king of the Cross.