Tiger Country is a raw realistic and darkly comic police drama set in the wild untamed suburbs of a New Zealand city.

The drama centres on two police buddies and the ways they deal with the life and death issues that have become commonplace in their working lives. It also focuses on their relationships with those that inhabit their world but have little idea of the grim and seamy side of human nature they regularly confront.

The title Tiger Country reflects the fact that police work is tough, it's dangerous, and delves into uncharted territory.

Tiger Country was written by writer and humorist Tom Scott, in association with former policeman, District Commander and Head of the Armed Offender Squad (now turned writer), Grant O'Fee.

A 90-minute telefeature following the fortunes of Detective Senior Sergeant Tony 'Horse' Radiscich, and his young team of Detective Constables, who patrol the suburbs of a large New Zealand city. Times are tough and there is increasing friction between the 'haves and have nots'. Keeping a lid on it all isn't easy since the police are also on the receiving end of funding cutbacks and decreased resources.

Available on DVD

Darren Young and Claire Waldron

The force is with Duffy

by Beverly Martens, previous published in TV Guide, November 27, 1998

ACCOMPLISHED actor Sean Duffy has spent more time behind the camera in recent years, directing documentaries and news shows, but now he’s back in our living rooms as the star of Tiger Country, a new New Zealand police drama.

Duffy, who has often played cops during his on-screen career - initially in Mortimer's Patch in the late seventies. and more recently in Plainclothes - stars as Detective Senior Sergeant Tony Horse” Radisich, a hefty and cheerful cop who is much admired by officers below him and barely tolerated by those come ranked above him.

Shot on location north of Wellington, Tiger Country takes its name from an old colonial expression describing dangerous, uncharted territory.

The writers considered it an apt title to sum up the stresses of modern police work. Tiger Country was co-written by well-known cartoonist and writer Tom Scott. Another of his more recent projects, Hillary - A View From The Top, won the best documentary award at this month’s TV Guide Television Awards of New Zealand.

His collaborator on Tiger Country, however, isn't so well known in the literary field. but got the job through family connections. Co-writer Super-intendent Grant O'Fee, who up until last year was district commander of the Porirua police, is Scott's brother-in-law.

Scott says O'Fee not only gave him the inspiration for Tiger, but adds there was no way he would have even presumed to write it without him. I think that’s often a (real) failure of any drama show. he explains. They're written by people who have clearly never been what they're writing about. A lot of cop shows on TV are xerox copies of xerox copies of other cop shows. 80 people are writing shows, based on cop shows they’ve already seen. not based on real stories like Grant’s.

Such was their dedication to get- ting it right that O'Fee took three weeks’ annual leave from his current job at police headquarters to be on the set every day during filming to advise the cast and crew about the correct details involved in all manner of police procedure.

The cast gleaned further first-hand knowledge by walking the beat with local cops.

I’m no stranger to the back of a police car, grins Duffy. Professionally speaking, of course!

He describes his character as a man who thinks bureaucracy is something that needs to be constantly fought against, rather than worked with.

Horse has chosen not to take the next step forward (in his police career) because that would mean a desk job and he still wants to be hands on. says Duffy. And he just can't be be blowed with all that bureaucratic BS.

He does care about the people he's dealing with. though probably too much sometimes. a That caring almost ends up being a bit of a problem. because it gets in the way of his home a life.

The lead female role went to Australian Laurie Foel, who plays Detective Sergeant Stephanie Wilson.

New Zealand audiences may recognise her from earlier acting jobs - either as another Stephanie in the TVNZ soap CityLife, or as Billy's mum. Jessica, in the Arnott's biscuit ads.

Foel says one of the things on in she really enjoyed about making Tiger Country was the on-screen interplay between the two lead characters.

They (Horse and Steph) have a lot in common. They’re both good at their jobs. both good with people, says Foel.

Neither of them pull rank. They just want to get the job done.

Tiger Country’s core cast also includes former Shortland Street and Shark In The Park star Darren Young and newcomer Claire Waldron. Tiger Country’s theme song was written by New Zealand musician Dave Dobbyn.

Duffy believes that one of the strengths of Tiger Country is that it is very much an ensemble piece, with great acting all round.

Okay. I might have more lines than anyone else. he says, but without them I'm lost. They add so much to the dynamic.

And police work is like that. It's gotta be a team or it doesn't work. And it's the same with this show.


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