Homicide was Australia's first major drama series, and the most influential by any measure. Based around murder cases investigated by the Homicide squad at Melbourne's Russell Street police headquarters, Homicide single-handedly established a viable TV drama industry in Australia. Over 11 years and 510 episodes, Homicide acheived massive ratings (peaking at an incredible 54 at one point), made household names of its stars, spawned two sister series- Division 4 and Matlock Police- on rival networks, and still outlived them both! In the twenty-two years since it was last broadcast (in afternoon re-runs), the series has become renowned for its frequent car chases, slightly shonky 1970's fashions, and occasionally stilted dialogue. Some of Australia's best-known actors, writers, and directors got their start on Homicide, and without it- and the successors it generated- Australian drama would be very, very different.
Inspector Lawson visits Sydney for a conference and becomes involved in a murder investigation when the local police find a body floating in the harbour. Lawson comes into conflict with Sgt. Jack Beck of the Sydney police on the use of fire arms in crime prevention. Notes: Segments filmed in Sydney.
A sudden spate of vicious attacks on lone women has the Homicide team racing time to catch a killer on a campaign of vengeance. Descriptions of the killer match that of a middle aged woman - and with each killing, a number is painted at the scene, counting back from 88. In the course of their investigations, detectives come across the Phelby-Thomas mansion, and an assortment of characters living there, including an 80 year old pensioner, a houseboy, and a German chauffer. Further inquiries reveal that Phelby-Thomas is a retired actor, whose programme ran for 88 episodes, and whose specialty was disguises - the various people at the house, plus the 'Jill The Ripper' character, all being Phelby-Thomas in make-up. Notes: John Krummel portrayed several separate roles, all as Phelby-Thomas in various disguises. Crawfords sought advice from an American make-up expert who read the script and told them no way - it could not be done. Undaunted, Crawfords own make-up lady Jan Gash performed the task herself, and did an excellent job.
A student is shot dead on Mt. Buller after discovering the identity of a Nazi war criminal. The occupant of the chalet closest to the scene of the murder is found to be missing. New light is thrown on the case when the Nazi's identity is uncovered. Otto, the Nazi fugitive, flees to Melbourne where he has a sympathetic woman friend, and makes plans to escape the country. Notes: Segments filmed on location at Mt. Buller.
Private investigator Michael Ryan becomes involved in blackmail, murder and intrigue as he clashes with the Homicide team. The case centres on The Tango Club, a discotheque which is a front for a high class house of prostitution catering to businessmen. The club is also a front for a blackmailing racket as the club's manager surreptitiously takes photos of guests as they cavort with the club's girls, Niki and Val. Ryan is hired by a worried and influential businessman to recover negatives of photographs being used to blackmail him. Ryan's methods are not the most orthodox and he quickly comes into conflict with the Homicide squad when Tango Club manager Billy Maxwell is found dead. As a prime suspect, Ryan has to move fast to find the murderer. Another murder is committed before the case is solved - with Ryan and the Homicide team working in confusion, misunderstanding and mistrust. Notes: Featuring the cast from Ryan. This episode was made after completion of the 39 episode Ryan series pending a decision on whether a second series would go into production. At this time Homicide production was doubled up to make use of both film crews, reverting to normal when the decision was made not to proceed with a second series of Ryan. Pamela Stephenson does not appear as Julie King in this episode as she had resigned following completion of the first series of Ryan, and would not have appeared in a second series if production continued. A reference is made to her character to explain her absence.
A psychopath who kills derelicts is at large and detectives are hard pressed in their endeavour to capture him.
Morgan is a hated slum landlord who is murdered in a dark alley in an area which houses a number of his tenants. The main problem is not finding a suspect, but sorting out the killer from too many suspects. As if these troubles are not enough, two people come forward and confess to the murder, which makes a very puzzling case.
Homicide detectives come up against some startling attitudes when a homosexual is bashed and killed in an area where 'poofter bashings' are frequently carried out for 'kicks'. The victim's lover becomes a suspect when they find incriminating letters written to the dead man. Notes: HSV-7 Melbourne played this episode at a later time (9:00 PM) because of its social significance, considering it unsuitable for children. Originally scheduled for 9/4/74, the timeslot was exchanged with ep. 402 to allow the screening date to be brought forward.
Homicide detectives face a wall of silence when they try to investigate the death of a man at a Melbourne marina. An old salt, Running Jack, is their only witness - but all he saw was the weapon and the body, not the murderer. To solve the baffling crime the police go under cover, with Sen. Det. Redford and Sen. Const. Jill Cregan of the drug squad posing as the owners of a new boat. The detectives eventually find a motive for the murder but are unable to uncover the culprit in the face of stony silence from the tight-knit local boating fraternity, who seem to know more than they are willing to talk about.
Angel Brewer, believed to be a simple country girl who moved to the city to be a model, is found dead in the bay. The case involves an investigation into prostitution, and shatters a father's illusions about his daughter.
Bo Monroe is an ex-jazz trumpeter, now a derelict. When Bo reads in the paper that his ex-wife Bunny Scott is to make a singing comeback, his own dreams of a return are given their last chance of realisation. Bo has to get his trumpet out of hock, and when he overhears a plot to blow up a boat and it's owner with it, he tries to sell the information to the police. Bo, now a witness, is a marked man. He eventually cons the money for his trumpet from someone else, and the criminals and Bo move to a climax at Bunny's comeback concert. Notes: Bunny Scott is played by Jean Lewis, a Sydney jazz singer and recording artist. An actual concert was staged for the final sequence with Jean Lewis backed by a jazz group. The part of Bo Monroe was specially written for Max Cullen by his brother, Fred 'Cul' Cullen, who won a 1974 Logie award for Best Script for this episode.
Homicide detectives find there is more than meets the eye when a young girl is raped by three youths and claims one of them tried to kill her. Investigations become more complex when one of the youths is missing, and police suspect his father of murdering him.
When Billy Day and his pregnant wife Daphne visit Melbourne to exhibit their prize bull at the Royal Agricultural Show, they accidentally become involved with some bank robbers. Notes: The part of Daphne Day was especially written for Colleen Hewett.
Young teenager Penelope Price believes she has killed her father after intervening when she found him drunkenly assaulting her mother. With her younger sister Debbie, Penny runs away and Homicide detectives find their investigation turning into a desperate search when the sisters try to board a boat in Port Phillip Bay. Notes: John Stanton does not appear in this episode.
Det. Sgt. Harry White thinks he can handle children, as he has five of his own - until he meets Mark Abbott. Mark is the son of a small time crim, Tommy, who taught him to never trust a cop. One morning Mark finds his father gone and the lounge room spattered with blood. The Homicide team gets little help from him, or from his alcoholic mother. The discovery of his dead father triggers off in Mark an outburst against his mother, whom he accuses of the murder. Notes: Fred 'Cul' Cullen appears as Det. Sgt. Jim Knight, standing in for John Stanton who was on sick leave and appeared in only one scene.
A sad little man trying to better his lifestyle and provide for his terminally ill wife Edie, factory worker Billy Williams is desperately struggling for survival in a world he can't compete in. He is forced to resort to crime, and Det. Sgt. Harry White finds himself moved to sympathy. Events come to a sad conclusion when Billy unwittingly becomes a murderer.
Three young criminals hold up a supermarket, and the youngest of the trio, Jimmy King, panics and shoots the manager. However, there is a witness, 'The Dodger', the object of a nagging wife who sees his opportunity to get some money and escape when King's accomplices get rid of him by throwing him from their getaway car outside the Railway Museum in Williamstown. The final showdown between the three criminals and the Homicide team takes place amongst the trains in the museum.
Mayfield is outwardly a bustling market town with busy pubs and saleyards, but what actually lies behind the little town of Mayfield? What are the locals really hiding? Homicide detectives are not helped by the residents, who put up a wall of silence while the police investigate a brutal murder in one of the sale yards.
A drug pusher is murdered at a beach house party. The Homicide squad find their investigations are hampered by three bikies, a father whose loyalty is tested, and a step-son who has something to hide.
Homicide detectives investigate a case of mistaken identity when a man is murdered whose name is similar to that of the intended victim.
Two country policemen investigate a disturbance; one is shot and blinded for life. An ex-policeman turned farmer decides to help the Homicide team with their investigations, which is not exactly gratifying to the detectives. He provides information which puts them on the track of the gunman: Edward Connolly, an eccentric who uses a push bike for transport, and puts everyone in the district on edge.
Clarrie Lucas is a hard-bitten reporter who has seen it all. When his newspaper journalist mate Len Condon is shot dead, he attempts to solve the crime on his own.
A wealthy Italian businessman is killed in a bomb blast in a car at a quarry, and the Homicide squad discover a bitter and resentful Venuzzi family - two sons, Guido and Tony, vying with each other for their father's favours and advancement. They also discover unhappy employees resentful of their employer's wealth and meanness - in particular a young Aboriginal radical, Gary Willis. The squad's investigation into the Italian community and the small black minority in the area presents a complex montage of internal conflicts and racial hatreds - there are too many motives for too many people. Complicating the issue is vengeance for Venuzzi's death, which doesn't wait for confirmation of the culprit - another must die before the Homicide squad home in on the real murderer.
Gordon Bishop is a drifter, moving from place to place and job to job. He dreams of a big win at the races, or, even better, at a gambling casino. Bishop also owns a .38 revolver - and when his former employers, milk bar proprietors Tom and Alice Mitchell, are found shot by a .38 with their life savings gone from their cash box, Bishop becomes the prime suspect. Damning evidence mounts up against Bishop - and then his girlfriend, Brigitte Solerno, informs police that he has taken off for Wrest Point Casino in Tasmania with a large 'killing' he claims he won at the races. The last formality of an identification parade is arranged, and the case is all ready to be sewn up, but the witness fails to pick out Bishop from the parade... Notes: Segments filmed in Tasmania.
Grant, the owner of a large stud farm, receives death threats before an important race. He takes no notice until a stable hand is murdered and an attempt is made to steal a horse. When the Homicide squad move in, they discover some strange turf identities, and learn that death threats have been received by other horse owners.
A visiting American policeman, Capt. Robert Kroeger, is in Australia to find a link in a drug smuggling racket. Kroeger accompanies Det. Sgt. Harry White to Canberra to investigate the murder of a Melbourne drug addict whose body was found in Lake Burley Griffin. Notes: Segments filmed in Canberra.
When a cripple at a sheltered workshop is murdered, detectives discover a connection between the dead man and a recent art robbery.
Vince Forbes escapes from a prison farm and heads for Melbourne to seek his former girlfriend. He evades police cordons, he eludes detectives and he takes hostages. He is finally trapped in the partially completed underground rail loop tunnel with a girl hostage, and his instability of mind, a condition known as hyperaccusive, means any noise can become unbearable.
Sen. Det. Kelly's girlfriend, Ieva Zervos, is shot in the street. Unwillingly and resentfully, Kelly finds his life under scrutiny as Ieva's contacts in the Greek community are found to be involved in drug trafficking, blackmail and illegal immigration. After hiding to ambush a drug pick-up, Sen. Det. Kelly is crippled when the squad car crashes after a chase. Notes: Final episode with John Stanton as Sen. Det. Pat Kelly.
Kenny Sutton murders his wife, steals some explosives and takes a hostage as he heads towards the city to stage his own fireworks display at the Moomba festival. Notes: First episode with Dennis Grosvenor as Sen. Det. Michael Deegan. Igor Auzins won a Logie award for directing this episode, and Crawfords entered it in the TV section of the Cannes Film Festival. A cameo appearance is made by Leonard Teale and Carla Hoogeveen on the Class Of 74 float in scenes filmed during the Moomba procession.
Tony Walker is bored, frustrated, and, like many other youths, destined for trouble. He belongs to a gang of yobbos who roam the streets bashing innocent victims. While he is out on the streets, his parents are sitting at home watching a TV talk programme featuring Insp. Lawson and an eminent criminologist, Eric Logan. The story is told on three levels: flashbacks to Tony's childhood, his activities at present, and the discussion underway on television. Notes: Peter Schreck won an Awgie award (1974) for this script, which examines some of the family, educational and social factors that contribute to unmotivated bashings.
When two young people are murdered, an old eccentric gives the Homicide squad a hard time and confuses their case.
An elderly couple, retired Brigadier Garnet Edgerton and his wife Sylvia, who are much-loved by the community, take a riverside walk which ends in Sylvia's death. The case looks like being Inspector Lawson's first unsolved murder. Notes: This script is based on an unsolved murder case in England which was used as an investigatory exercise by the British Metropolitan Police.
A British couple who were successful diamond robbers are discovered living in Australia after the murder of their friend. There is a race to find them between the underworld and the police.
Is Mr. Spence a harmless public servant, an abandoned husband with a desperate problem? Or is he an evil, scheming wife killer? The romantic aspirations of Helen Taylor, the no-longer-young typist, are an important part of the jigsaw leading Insp. Lawson into a cat and mouse pursuit ending in a lonely country graveyard.
An innocent birdwatcher leads the Homicide squad to the discovery of an illegal gaming house. A corrupt, influential businessman, heavily involved in gambling, seems to have all the cards in his favour - but murder was a hand he should not have played, and Insp. Lawson is determined to turn the tables.
While chasing a truant schoolboy, a young policewoman comes across a torture chamber, and a case for the Homicide squad. Notes: The Broadcasting Control Board ruled that this episode should not be screened before 8:30 PM.
Buddy Thomas, a top boxer, is making a comeback, but as the victorious Thomas returns home to celebrate with his girlfriend, Ruby Smith, he finds she has been murdered. Ruby had been a prostitute, but to Thomas' certain knowledge, she had given it up. Some not too difficult research by the Homicide squad shows that she had not in fact 'retired' - and the long job of tracking down and questioning her customers begins. It is Thomas who uncovers the vital clue to the murderer, just as the police are making the same deductions - but the killer is not to be easily caught.
Is Patrick O'Brien as respectable as he seems or are the threats to his life coming from someone who knows better?
Because of the murder of a friend following a brutal attack, a young constable, a friend of Det. Deegan, is forced to choose between his marriage and his career.
For the very first time, a war veteran misses the Anzac Day march and the Homicide team take this into account when investigating the murder of a young man who is a confirmed pacifist.
While investigating a shooting at a large sheep station, Sen. Det. Deegan befriends young Kenny, son of Ross Bullen, owner of the station. The peace is shattered when Barry Lynes arrives to make life unpleasant for Prue Fletcher, Kenny's live-in schoolmarm.
Is a small time crim as innocent as his wife maintains, or is he responsible for a brutal murder? Frances Brown's tiny house rocks with rejoicing - a wake for her late and unlamented husband, Alf. She has had a hard life - a tough but sympathetic lady, liked by everyone except her husband. Alf Brown was a mean old man - he never spent a cent on anything but booze - and he wouldn't even share that with his wife. It's no wonder Frances rejoices - until the police arrive, as the Homicide squad have found marks on Alf's body that indicate he was murdered.