The Twelve

A sprawling ensemble unleashes some serious acting chops in Foxtel's complex new whodunnit.

In the space of six months the Foxtel Group has unveiled its second local drama series from Warner Bros. based on a European drama.

Like hit series Love Me, The Twelve has been entirely adapted for Australian audiences -and the results are quite fabulous.

Based on Belgium’s De Twaalf, this 10 part courtroom drama comes with a sprawling ensemble, many derived from theatre.

At the centre of the story is artist Kate (Kate Mulvaney) who stands accused of killing her teenage niece Claire (Coco Jack Gillies), the daughter of her sister Diane (Jenni Baird).

But there is no body -leaving open plenty of room for Defence lawyer Brett Colby (Sam Neill) to argue a convincing case.

“The most important thing is how you appear to the jury, your behaviour… show emotion, but above all no histrionics,” he advises her.

Opposing him is the equally sharp Prosecution Lucy Bloom (Marta Dusseldorp).

Tussling over Kate’s innocence or guilt might be enough for most dramas to explore, but The Twelve gives equal focus to the jury. There are 14 of them, amplifying the drama for both storytellers and audience.

They include Georgina (Brooke Satchwell), a young mother of 3, living in a relationship with abusive husband Jamie (Hamish Michael).

“We don’t want jury duty interfering with mummy duty now do we?” he reminds her.

Alexi (Damien Strouthos) has to juggle his construction management duties to undertake jury duty which places stress on his brother (Ben Mingay). Indigenous student Jarrad (Ngali Shaw) is also struggling to meet his university deadlines, lesbian Vanessa (Catherine Văn-Davies) would rather skip the whole case, but former refugee Farrad (Hazem Shammas) takes his responsibilities seriously and even cooks treats for his fellow jurors, to help break down the barriers.

Jury foreperson Corrie (Pallavi Sharda) is also dealing with a family business subplot, one of many backstories which unravel as episodes roll-out, while Brendan Cowell plays a misfit who looks set to be compromised by proceedings.

Then there is the father of the victim, Nathan (Matt Nable) estranged from her mother and certain that Kate is not telling the full story on Claire’s disappearance.

A voluminous ensemble also spans supporting roles in police, jury, family, and legal characters, including Louisa Mignone, Nicholas Cassim, Silvia Colloca, Shane Connor and more.

This leaves episode one as top-heavy in establishing its universe, but by episode two when the story starts to focus on individual back stories -as well as dramatising the night in question- there is much more for the audience to connect with. Brooke Satchwell’s scenes of domestic violence are cold and searing, Ngali Shaw’s scenes involving police brutality are an uncomfortable reality check.

In the two episodes previewed it’s obvious that Sam Neill and Marta Dusseldorp are only just sharpening their knives for some scenery-chewing arguments to come, while Kate Mulvaney is brilliantly ambiguous as the accused.

Like 12 Angry Men, the series allows for not just on-point performances but for a clash of ideas, class and culture. To be judged by your peers, no single juror is supposed to carry more weight than another -but is that how justice is played out behind closed doors?

Director Daniel Nettheim peels back the layers of his jurors in their daily lives, not unlike an episode of Lost forcing us to rethink our perceptions of its crash survivors. Together with producers Ian Collie, Rob Gibson, Ally Henville, Hamish Lewis and writers he has woven a complex whodunnit starring a knockout cast with serious acting chops.

The Twelve premieres 8:30pm Tuesday on FOX Showcase.

9 Responses

  1. I just finished Netflix’s Lincoln Lawyer which dragged on a bit story wise but was entertaining non the less, I’m not really a fan of court room dramas but did become a big fan of Rumpole of the Bailey which I don’t think can be beaten for me. I will give this a show a watch especially with Sam Neil in it.

  2. I decided to watch this because of the great cast. Marta is just wonderful and so is Brooke and Matt and Sam.

    Also as someone who just recently sat on a trial for jury duty but due to reasons it didn’t continue I’m intrigued by the way the whole jury thing works.

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