Oh, the evil Internet, full of evil hackers looking at the best way to steal your money or sell you to the highest bidder. It seems to be the popular tool for modern television series to create something that stands out. Does The Code: Series 2 stand out as something special though, or just another crime thriller with a technological edge?
When two Australians are killed by militia in West Papua, Internet journalist Ned (Dan Spielman) and his cyber hacking brother Jesse (Ashley Zuckerman) are called into action. Threatened with deportation by the Australian government they are forced to help in the hunt for Jan Roth (Anthony LaPaglia) whose underground website is being used to traffic a young boy.
For the first half of series two the focus is on finding the young boy that has been kidnapped, but there are other motives underneath this. Jan Roth is current fighting against an Australian mining company that are forcing through an agreement with West Papua and mistreating their people.
While it may seem complicated, and a bit convoluted as to how hacking comes into this, the character of Jesse is an interesting one, and well-played by Ashley Zuckerman. Jesse goes through a lot in this series, and it is his self-preservation that goes a long way in keeping the audience invested in the show.
The use of computer technology and cybercrime can be used in a way that quickly confuses the audience if not done well. If words like black hat, denial of service attacks, and all the other buzzwords are thrown around it all makes little sense. It is often found that confusing the audience with tech-speak can be a good way to push the impossible onto the screen and completely hide that fact. Thankfully this is not the case with The Code.
What I liked about The Code is that it uses technology that may look modern but is well-known. Through a few artistic ways to show the method of “hacking” on screen, the audience becomes invested in what they are seeing, and almost feel like they understand what the process is. While this is of course not the case, at least there is a level of realism in there that doesn’t treat the audience like an idiot.
Away from all of the “tech” side of The Code, there is still a story focused on the people of the show. Jesse may be a cybercriminal but he is not a bad guy. The character of Jan Roth may be a criminal and show an evil edge to his actions, but it is interesting that we see a reason for him crossing the line. It is said that many governments create their own monsters who come back to haunt them, and this is the case with Jan Roth.
The Code is a show that focuses on the corruption that can occur in the governments of the world and their police services, and it handles that well. There is some flag waving in this Australian show, that pushing of the idea that not only does Australia need to change the way it handles other countries, but in turn other countries have to do so too, but it is done well. The Code feels less about cybercrime and more about cyber-protest which makes for a more interesting subject.
One thing that I did notice, is that there is a bit of a lull in the show in the second half of the series. This is a shame, but thankfully it does pick up leading up to the finale. It does seem though that after the first part of the story completes, The Code does struggle slightly to keep events flowing for the full six episodes.
If you’ve not seen the first series of The Code, series two can be confusing at first for the new viewer. You soon get the idea of what is happening and where the story is going though. Well worth a watch, this is a show that manages to entertain and thankfully not confuse the audience, even with a subject that is easy to get lost in.
The Code: Series 2 is out now on DVD from Arrow Films.