If you didn’t watch ABC’s new political thriller The Code on Sunday night, you definitely missed out. This is probably a huge call to make, based entirely on a single episode, but it is shaping up to be one of the best Australian-made TV shows to hit the screen recently.
Not only is it a gripping drama, which won a couple of awards from the Australian Writer’s Guild before it even went to air, but it’s going to change the way people view our city. In The Code, we finally have a show that portrays Canberra as a spectacularly beautiful and sophisticated city, albeit one with a dark side lurking just beneath the surface.
Right from the opening credits we are treated to a striking look at the capital. From dark and menacing skies over Lake Burley Griffin to a mist-wrapped Nishi building and a shadowy Parliament House, the time-lapsed images are instantly reminiscent of Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards.
After the credits, our first look at Canberra is an impressive aerial establishing shot of the lake as journalist Ned Banks (played actor Dan Spielman) drives his beat-up old car over the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge towards Parliament House. It looks amazing, and it’s nice that the 6-part series was actually shot on location in Canberra. Our city’s streets, landmarks and skyline make the perfect setting for a tightly wound tale of intrigue and political power. It’s great to see David Wenham’s machiavellian Deputy Prime Minister skulking around the actual halls of parliament. Exactly how his machinations relate to what Lucy Lawless’s schoolteacher character is up to in the outback is yet to be revealed. The only real complaint is the way the show misrepresents the parking situation in the capital – Ned pulls his car up right out the front of Parliament House and then runs inside to attend a press conference, but that’s probably something only a Canberran is likely to pick up on.
We’re not sure exactly what the next episode of The Code has in store for us, but you can’t have a good political thriller without a dark and long-reaching conspiracy.
Maybe they’ll delve into the theory that Walter Burley Griffin was a secret member of the Illuminati and hid occult symbolism into his designs for Canberra. Have you heard about this before? You’re probably aware that Griffin incorporated a lot of geometric shapes into his design – just look at the Parliamentary Triangle and all our famous roundabouts. This has invited speculation from conspiracy theory enthusiasts that these shapes have hidden meanings. A guy named Peter Proudfoot actually wrote a book called “The Secret Plan of Canberra” that talks about how the esoteric principles of sacred geometry and geomancy were secretly hidden in Griffin’s designs. It’s a little far-fetched if you ask us. After all, architects use shapes all the time; it’s kind of what they do.
Other people claim that the number 13 can be frequently found in the design of Parliament House and see this as a Masonic reference to Friday the 13th 1307 when hundreds of Knights Templar, including Grandmaster Jacques de Molay, were arrested on the orders of King Philip IV of France. It’s a pretty tenuous link, especially when you consider they can’t actually provide any concrete examples of the number 13 repeating over and over again in Parliament House.
There are even people who claim the old Navy Base in Lawson is actually a secret facility used by the Illuminati to communicate with UFOs. Though, these people probably see conspiracies and hidden meanings everywhere. For instance, if you draw a series of lines on a map of Canberra connecting all our Independent Property Group offices in a very specific way (and then add a couple of extra lines, just because) it kind of looks like a man with a for sale sign, but only if you squint really, really hard and have a very good imagination.
Seriously though, The Code is definitely worth a look and it has too much respect for itself to deal with this sort of nonsense. When you get a chance you should head over to the ABC website and check it out on iView.