Blue Heelers

Season 3 Episode 11

Unfinished Business

0
Aired Wednesday 8:30 PM Apr 09, 1996 on Seven Network
9.0
out of 10
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1 votes
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Episode Summary

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Unfinished Business
AIRED:
The aftermath of Wayne's death sees each of the officers coming to terms with their grief. When a stolen watch implicates Wayne in a crime, the cops struggle to clear his name, and in doing so, find ways to pour out their feelings.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • As the Heelers try to come to terms with Wayne's death, they learn that his family won't have them at the funeral; while P.J. insists the death was no accident. Things worsen when a valuable missing watch is found in Wayne's desk. Another powerful ep...moreless

    9.0
    This review contains spoilers.



    Well, the end of the previous episode, 'An Act of Random Violence', was certainly powerful stuff, and that strong emotion continues on into this instalment.



    There are three plots in this story, all revolving around Wayne and his death. A missing antique fob watch is found in Wayne's desk, and Wayne's family announce that they do not wish the Police burial with full honours arranged, and do not wish any of the Heelers to be present. The final thread sees P.J. determined that Wayne being hit by the van was no accident, and even theorising that the driver was somehow in cohorts with Joe Kenny. (This final thread is put to rest by about halfway through the episode, as it emerges that the driver suffers epilepsy and it was nothing but a terrible accident, with P.J. admitting that he just wants to blame someone)



    With regards to the watch story, at first I was a little annoyed at what seemed to be a slightly trivial (in the circumstances) tale, almost tacked on to a far more important episode. When the twist that the watch (at that stage only reported missing, with a hot-headed father blaming his youthful son) is in Wayne's drawer, putting all kinds of possible accusations in the air, it puts almost a welcome twist on things (in terms of the story).

    However, this whole "missing watch" thread never fully felt to work, in my eyes. Sure, it had the seeds of a good tale there, but it never felt to be developed enough (or to even make us, the viewer, care enough) to really draw me in, and the final explanation, that the wife/mother knew that the son had helped himself to the valuable watch, irked at his father's lifelong heavy handed attitude towards him, had asked Wayne to retrieve it), felt somewhat half-hearted and rushed. Coupled with the rather ambiguous and awkward confrontation, orchestrated by Adam, between father and son, about what they feel with each other, it felt to leave many unanswered questions.

    (By the way, I'm usually pretty hot on naming various actors and actresses, but I frustratingly couldn't place who was playing the wife/mother, who I *knew* I should recognise from somewhere ... It wasn't until afterwards that I realised it was Louise Siversen, best known for playing the ever-sneering Lou Kelly in my other Australian favourite, 'Prisoner: Cell Block H').



    The other thread sees the return of Roz, Wayne's estranged wife who departed during the first season. It turns out that they are still legally wed, with their divorce ironically due to come through the following week. With this already causing some friction between her and Nick, with Nick accusing her of gold digging, there is another troubling development for the Heelers as it is announced that they are unwelcome at Wayne's funeral. Roz claims that it is Wayne's parents that wish this; Nick and some of the other officers feel that it is Roz's doing. By the end, it is never really clear which are the true circumstances (though, going by Roz's forgiving conduct at the funeral itself, I personally felt it wasn't really her call).



    Anyway, the funeral itself... I was really getting into the series at around this point, when shown on my local ITV region, Carlton, on Monday afternoons, in the mid/late 1990s. The scene where the funeral party leaves the church, only to find the Heelers (minus Tom, who had begrudgingly been allowed to attend, in civvies) lined up outside, to salute Wayne's coffin, is very powerful, and is one of the points that most stuck in my memory from seeing the series all those years ago.



    Elsewhere in the story, there are a lot of "emotional" moments. I kind of like the one between P.J. and Maggie, overlooking the cricket grounds in the drizzling rain, as P.J. admits he doesn't know how to show his emotion and grieve. In other points of the episode we get further "emotion", as Maggie tells P.J. how she first met Wayne at the Academy, which is as well played as ever by Lisa McCune, but is not really my sort of thing personally (hey, I'm male, I don't do too much emotion!!). Likewise, towards the end of the episode, Tom "shuts up shop" for the Heelers to head to the quiet backroom at the Imperial to hold a wake for Wayne, complete with more "emotional" recollections. Again, not really my personal taste, but very well played by all concerned.



    As Adam says to P.J. in the final scene, with the whole mystery about the missing watch going on, it almost felt as if Wayne was still there. Now that they – and us, the viewer – realise that he really *is* gone, he does leave a hole in the Heelers line-up. (Thankfully, another strong character arrives a bit further in the season to fill his place ... !).



    And yes, that final scene. As much as – maybe even *more than* – the aforementioned funeral sequence, where the Heelers disobey orders and await outside to salute, the final shot of the chalk outline of Wayne's body being washed away in the downpour (almost as if the character is finally allowed to fade away and left to rest) has stuck with me very vividly for all of those years. In many ways, it is quite haunting.



    All-in-all, this is a very good episode for dealing with the aftermath of Wayne's tragic demise. As I've covered above, the whole "missing watch" mystery never feels to full work, mainly for not quite feeling fleshed out enough (and in a way feeling a bit "tacked on"), but thankfully, this is more than made up for but the powerful developments in the rest of the story. It certainly is a memorable episode, particularly for the end of the funeral, and the unforgettable final moments. The rather limp watch plotline sadly drags my overall rating down a bit, but I still give 'Unfinished Business' a respectable 9/10.



    (As a side-note, this is actually the first of two separate 'Blue Heelers' episodes to be titled 'Unfinished Business'. The seventh season episode of the same title deals with the fallout from Maggie's death. As both stories concern the aftermath of the death of one of the officers, whether this was a deliberate connection, a mere coincidence, or if the duplicated episode title was even realised at the time of production, is unknown.)moreless
Martin Sacks

Martin Sacks

Senior Detective Patrick Joseph "PJ" Hasham (1994 - 2005)

John Wood

John Wood

Senior Sergeant Tom Croydon

Julie Nihill

Julie Nihill

Christine "Chris" Reilly

Lisa McCune

Lisa McCune

Senior Constable Margaret "Maggie" Doyle (1994 - 2000)

Damian Walshe-Howling

Damian Walshe-Howling

Constable Adam Cooper (1994 - 1998)

William McInnes

William McInnes

Sergeant Nick Schultz (1994 - 1998, recurring 2004 and 2005)

Troy Beckwith

Troy Beckwith

Robert

Guest Star

David Walters

David Walters

Wozza Tully

Guest Star

Louise Siversen

Louise Siversen

Nola Tully

Guest Star

Peter Hosking

Peter Hosking

Jim Truly

Recurring Role

Rachel Blakely

Rachel Blakely

Gina Belfanti

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Tom: Well, whatever else Wayne had going for him, he certainly had a fine bunch of workmates.

    • Maggie: Wayne, he put his arms around me and he took me to bed. But no, it wasn't like that. He was very warm and loving and so incredibly gentle. I fell for him in such a big way.

  • NOTES (3)

    • This is the first of two different stories within the series to be titled 'Unfinished Business'. A seventh season episode, dealing with the aftermath of the death of Maggie, has the same title.

      Considering that both episodes deal with the fallout from the death of a main character, whether this was an intended link, coincidence, or if the duplicated title was even realised at the time of production, is unknown.

    • Wayne Patterson (Grant Bowler) has been removed from the opening credits.
      To fill the time previously taken by Bowler's credit, the title 'Blue Heelers' and the 'Created by' credits play slightly slower.

    • Former cast member Ann Burbrook returns for a guest role in this episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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