City Homicide lightens up

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It's always been dark and brutal but Seven's cop drama is about to show another side.

Seven's police drama, City Homicide, is about to show another side to its central characters as part of a subtle shift in its fourth season.

Until now the crime series has been driven by the weekly cases tackled by the State Police, but it will juggle more personal stories as well as procedural. That could even see the cops having a joke or two, something that would have been wildly unexpected in its first season.

As Noni Hazlehurst explains, it is a more realistic depiction of police life.

"We have often wanted to have more lightness in it. In reality one of your coping mechanisms would be to joke and invariably when we've tried to add something it often ends up on the cutting room floor, often for time, but I think it's also been a style decision in the past to keep it fairly sombre," she says.

"I do think if you are solid with the regular characters and know them as people then having a joke doesn't detract from what they're doing. Hopefully you can empathise with their need to do that.

"It's not to trivialise it in any way, but I think it's an accurate reflection of how people would cope. It's an extraordinary thing that they do on a daily basis. We couldn't imagine what they go through. We try, but really..."

Overseeing the shift is new executive producer Richard Jasek, with former exec producer Maryanne Carroll now running new Seven drama Winners and Losers.

A six-part storyline will end the current season, which has also seen New Zealand actor Ryan O'Kane join the series as Rhys Levitt, nephew of Hazlehurst's character, Detective Superintendent Bernice Waverley.

"Her nephew is also a Homicide detective and stays with her for a while, which is nice for her to have some company. He's a really different injection into the team because he's Oxford educated and a criminologist. He's very ambitious but coming at it from a much less-practical point of view," she says.

"That creates some tension which she has to navigate and step back from at the same time. He puts her in a few sticky situations."

City Homicide airs 8:30pm Wednesdays on Seven.

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