Review: Wanted, an Exciting Australian Series

Rebecca Gibney and Geraldine Hakewill in Wanted

Wanted is an action-packed series from Australia about two women who run for their lives while being chased by the police, drug dealers, and assorted bad guys. It stars two wonderful actors whose fandom I pledge fidelity to from here on.

Rebecca Gibney and Geraldine Hakewill in Wanted

When we first meet Lola Buckley (Rebecca Gibney) and Chelsea Babbage (Geraldine Hakewill) they are strangers, waiting for a bus on a deserted street in Sydney. Suddenly all hell breaks loose. They are thrown into the trunk of a car and taken to a junkyard full of cars. Chelsea manages to phone the police, but when they arrive the cops shoot the kidnapper and try to shoot the two women.

Lola and Chelsea take the car and flee. They are pursued by a string of crooked cops led by Ray Stanton (Nicholas Bell). They are pursued by one honest cop Josh Levine (Stephen Peacocke) and a hired assassin named Boke (Mirko Grillini).

Every time someone dies while anywhere near Lola and Chelsea, they get blamed for it. There are so many characters with murder in their hearts running about. There’s a nationwide manhunt for them. It’s all over the TV. They are recognized everywhere.

Lola and Chelsea head north into Queensland. The two women couldn’t be more different. As their backstories are revealed we learn that Lola is good at being on the run because she’s been doing it for years. Chelsea is an uptight accountant, but being in Lola’s company changes her in drastic ways that she can never go back from. For one thing, she loves the excitement and danger. She loves being with Lola. Neither of them have really had a good friend before, although their friendship develops in prickly and unpredictable ways.

Rebecca Gibney and Geraldine Hakewill in Wanted

The car they took was filled with millions of dollars and piles of drugs. The bad guys really want it back. They will kill anyone to get it. Lola and Chelsea run to Lola’s rich father’s mountain retreat. They get found. They run to Lola’s sister’s place when going back home is not safe for Lola or her family. They get found.

They lose the car and they get the car back. They lose each other and get each other back. They get arrested and escape. The killers catch up to them and they escape.

These two are determined to survive and prove their innocence. They do it with with such verve and grit. I really enjoyed them both but the older and wiser Lola was the character with depth. Her secrets were slow to come out but always interesting.

Chelsea didn’t have many secrets in her past, but she was building up a nice collection of them while running with Lola.

Rebecca Gibney and Geraldine Hakewill in Wanted

I loved the settings all over Australia, Thailand and New Zealand. So many different places and scenery – some lush, some dusty emptiness. Mountains, ocean, cane fields, desert, forest, tiny towns, Sydney. The scenery and locations were spectacular. It was photographed beautifully.

At the end of season 1, when they think they are relatively safe, the bad guy who has been directing everyone from behind the scenes, Morrison (Anthony Phelan) snatches Lola’s son David (Charles Cottier). In addition to the money and drugs, there’s a key fob from the duffle bag the money was in. Morrison wants the key in exchange for David.

To get David back to safety, Lola and Chelsea hit the road again. They go to Thailand after David. They go to New Zealand after whatever the key unlocks. When they finally connect with David they discover he owes $300,000 in gambling debts and a guy named Vincent (Felino Dolloso) is determined to collect it. Their troubles never end.

There were some funny scenes between Lola and Chelsea, but Vincent the baddie really made me smile when he paused to photograph the stunning mountain scenery as he chased David and Lola around New Zealand.

Lola and Chelsea retrieve what was in the lock box with the key. That’s how they meet up with Will (Dean O’Gorman), who is maybe a bad guy or maybe a good guy. He’s after Morrison, too.

Everywhere they go and everything they do is dangerous and full of tension. You don’t often see thrillers featuring women. We could do with hundreds more. Lola and Chelsea are smart, cunning, gutsy women who win every encounter.

Wanted was created by Richard Bell and Rebecca Gibney from a character idea Gibney had thought about for a long time. Rebecca Gibney is superb in this part. Kudos to Rebecca Gibney for taking the creative reins in her own hands to build a brilliant character for herself.

Whoever made the music choices deserves kudos also. Loved the music.

Among the male directors, there is one female director, Jennifer Leacey. She directed several episodes.

Wanted has two seasons with 6 episodes in each. There’s no word on a 3rd season yet, according to this article from August 2017, but see below for an update.

Wanted is currently streaming on Netflix as a Netflix Original. Big thank you to my Twitter pal AngelaThompson for telling me about this great series.

Update

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