The first chapter of the six-part miniseries ‘Secret City: Under the Eagle’ is based on the novels The Marmalade Files and The Mandarin Code by Chris Uhlmann and Steve Lewis. The series is written by Belinda Chayko, Matt Cameron, Marieke Hardy, Alice Addison, Tommy Murphy, Kris Mrksa, and Greg Waters. It is produced by Joanna Werner.
This may not have been considered a much-awaited Netflix show, but this little Australian TV spy thriller has a special place in my heart. I mean, with it premiering after Donald Trump was elected, who wouldn’t want a show about secrets and lies?
The series revolves around political cover-ups, global tensions and interlocked conspiracies. It presents so many possibilities of critical circumstances, hooking viewers episode after episode. Plus, a kickass female journalist is the heroine in the story and viewers can’t help hoping there would be more espionage she would crack open.
The first season of ‘Secret City’ took its time getting its narrative going, but the show’s second season — subtitled ‘Under the Eagle’ – is much of a fast-paced season with a pretty shocking ending.
‘Secret City: Under the Eagle’ continues to uncover political conspiracies in Season Two, making senior media advisor Harriet Dunkley (Anna Torv) a very dangerous opponent for anyone who may decide to take her on.
‘Under the Eagle’ begins with an explosion in the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide. Politicians try to blame one another for infrastructure failures and gas leaks.
The official narrative changes and the sole survivor, Robbie Lambert (Frederick Banks du Rietz), is accused of having links to a left extremist group and having stored bombs in his garage. Now all the politicians seek to capitalise on possible terrorist links.
Harriet goes rogue in her usual style and ignores staying under the radar. In case you either have yet to see the first season or don’t remember Harriet Dunkley, she was just released after two years from an unjust criminal sentence for reporting on things the government did not want out in the public from season one. She was an investigative journalist.
She had her foot out the door on the verge of leaving Canberra behind, her career in tatters after her political arrest. But MP Karen Koutoufides (Danielle Cormack), a populist cross-bencher with huge momentum and increasing clout, has other plans for Harriet. Karen hires her as a media consultant.
Karen calls Harriet in order to visit the bombsite in Adelaide and help find out what really happened. The bomb happened to go off in Karen’s district so she has a huge stake in holding people in power accountable.
Having spoken to the neighbours, with her absolute predisposition for trouble, Harriet gets her hands on a film which clearly shows the bomb was not a bomb. It was actually a precision strike missile. With her discovery, Harriet knows someone much higher is behind the explosion.
Soon the blame shifts towards Pakistan, giving the Australian government a strong reason to strike the country back. However, as events unfold, the viewers will be left trying to figure out if it was really a foreign attack or an inside job.
Instead of being solely focused on the explosion, Harriet gets distracted with helping former cellmate Louisa Mignone (Mina Almasi). Louisa is a Middle Eastern refugee who helps her husband run arms.
In the first episode, Louisa receives a cryptic email with a rabbit telling her the truth about her son’s death, which apparently was covered up by Catriona Bailey (Jacki Weaver). This may or may not be a set up as she is soon forced to go on the run after being spotted near the body of murdered government minister Bailey.
Personally, I think the timely “death” of Catriona Bailey has the assistance of China. Before she is “assassinated”, we see her on the phone saying that “it’s time”.
I am still in the midst of finishing the series, so like you, I still have to see if my theories stay true.
While in last season we saw a big focus on America and China starting the next “Cold War”, this new season focuses on the “military industrial complex” with a surprise video inserted of the Eisenhower speech that took place many years ago, warning the world what the military would become.
When the media wants to believe a foreign power like Pakistan is behind the attack, they have no trouble finding words and cliché rhetoric to insight fear in its citizens who at some point become so fear-driven. This leads people to demand their government take immediate actions or face the awful consequences.
One thing is clear, though. No matter what, those who want to profit from war, this season ensures things will go their way. Karen is set to show the voting committee an earth-shattering evidence that would sway the vote to an unwanted direction.
She is thawed in the final moment as she receives a text with video footage showing that her son is being watched and if she does not stand down, there would be repercussions. With no choice, she abstains her vote.
Viewers will be left wondering if Australia will go through with its planned retaliation, or if our heroine, Harriet, will give light to the evidence she has on a USB drive.
What’s inside the USB? Who’s attacking the people of Australia? Is Catriona Bailey really dead?
Let’s find out the answers together when we binge watch ‘Secret City: Under the Eagle’ this weekend. It will leave
you playing detective all weekend. Just like what it did to me.