We count down our favourite Aussie TV cops.
From the early '90s onwards, Aussie crime dramas have become commonplace on national television. Accompanying these programs, some notable law enforcers also began to populate the small screen. From feminine firepowers to tough minority cops, these are some of the coolest cops we have seen on Australian television.
5. Zane Malik (Don Hany) on East West 101
With his full beard, stocky build and Middle Eastern profile, Zane Malik (Don Hany) doesn't look like your regular, run-of-the-mill Aussie TV cop. Torn between his work life and his cultural and religious heritage, the first season of East West 101 saw Malik face-off with fellow detective, Ray Crowley (William McInnes) in a struggle for respect; chase down the man who shot his father, Rahman Malik (Taffy Hany); and investigate crimes in the multicultural backdrop of Sydney's inner west. Getting embroiled in the city's cross-cultural tensions, the following season brought this minority cop back to the Major Crime Squad unit to investigate a tragic car bomb, perpetuated by an Islamic terrorist organisation.
4. Patrick Joseph "PJ" Hasham (Martin Sacks) on Blue Heelers
Part loose cannon and part ladies man, Detective Patrick Joseph "PJ" Hasham (Martin Sacks) applied his eagle eye not only to attractive women but to crime scenes, analysing situations from every angle. Debuting on-screen in Blue Heelers' first season, PJ has killed two people, made a gang of arrests and has a load of lovers. Getting mixed up in some of the show's most famous plot arcs, the 2000 season saw PJ fall in love with fellow police officer, Maggie Doyle (Lisa McCune), get framed for her murder and clear his name after discovering her dirty cop brother Mick Doyle (Terry Serio) was the real murderer.
Having lost the love of his life, later in the series PJ made unsuccessful attempts to connect with other women, including officer Jo Parrish (Jane Allsop) and was dealt a real blow when he lost his mother to cancer. Despite his troubled personal life, PJ went from strength to strength in his career, being promoted from senior constable to senior detective before landing a job in Melbourne homicide in the 2005 season.
3. Charlie Buckton (Esther Anderson) on Home and Away
Sexing up the police uniform, this lady cop may look like mere eye candy at first glance, but her tough demeanor and brilliant policing skills quickly saw her move up the ranks of Summer Bay's police force -- from leading senior constable to sergeant. Joining the show in the 2008 season of Home and Away, Charlie Buckton (Esther Anderson) has been involved in many high-profile storylines, including a steamy same-sex fling with seductress Joey Collins (Kate Bell) and a power struggle with her colleague and on-again-off-again lover, Angelo Rosetta (Luke Jacobz). Showing both good and nasty aspects of her personality throughout the series, Charlie sets off her cocky and confrontational attitude with the loving relationship she shares with her daughter, Ruby Buckton (Rebecca Breeds).
2. Steve Owen (Rodger Corser) on Underbelly
Based on an amalgam of several officers who worked on the Purana Task Force during the Melbourne gangland wars, Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Owen (Rodger Corser) led the investigation of several influential and powerful underworld families -- including the Morans and the Williams -- helping halt the violence between them. Displaying tough interrogating skills, Owen convinced a foreign national to testify against mob boss Jason Moran (Les Hill) which put him behind bars. Threatening the well-being of some prominent mob figures, the gangland investigations saw the vile Carl Williams (Gyton Grantley) accuse this decorated officer of corruption in a public war of words. However, Owen got the last laugh in the season finale, when he convinced Williams' jailed associates Mr L (Ian Bliss) and Mr T (Alex Dimitriades) to testify against him, bringing the crime lord to justice and putting an end to the gangland wars once and for all.
1. Bernice Waverly (Noni Hazlehurst) on City Homicide
Juggling dual roles as a 50-something-year-old single mother and police officer, Detective Bernice Waverly (Noni Hazlehurst) balances her law-enforcement career with raising a 14-year-old son, Josh (William Jarratt). Entering the force as a teenager, this tough girl-in-blue walked the straight and narrow from the get-go, fighting scum both inside and outside the police department. Despite always acting by the book, her involvement in dismissing a certain police officer perpetuated a vicious revenge plot against her in season two -- resulting in a tarnished career and the kidnapping of her son, which ended fatally for the teenager. Taking refuge in the arms of her colleague, the season finale ended with Detective Senior Sergeant Stanley Wolfe (Shane Bourne) consoling her over her child's murder.