“Deadloch” Delivers Australian Lesbians, Murder Mysteries, and Hilarity

Every week for the past two months, someone or another has commented on our Boobs On Your Tube column about the Australian comedy/mystery series Deadloch, so I finally had to check it out for myself. Sure enough, the hype was warranted, because this show about a small seaside town with an unusually high lesbian population combines my three favorite things in a TV show: queer women, murder mysteries, and humor. Bonus points for the fun accents.

See, the thing about Deadloch (population just over 2000 people) is that, all of a sudden, the men of the town start turning up dead. Senior Sergeant Dulcie Collins has a team that consists of a nervous newbie and a useless boy, so her boss sends her help in the form of Detective Eddie Redcliffe. Dulcie and Eddie are two very different women, and watching them try to work together (or, more often, in spite of each other) is consistently delightful.

I won’t spoil the whole investigation or the mystery but I will say this: of course when local men start dying, people start blaming the “man-hating lesbians” but as Dulcie and Eddie investigate they start to wonder if the lesbians in question aren’t helping with their investigation because they’re in on it or if the men were just missing persons who nobody missed at all. And as specific queer women are called into question, it was refreshing to not have to do quick panic-math of “is this the kind of show that would villainize the only lesbian” because there are an endless supply of queer women in this town, quite the feat in a place so small the only doctor is also the mayor.

So not only did it mean any queer woman was viable to keep on the (long) list of suspects, but it also didn’t feel insulting or hurtful. When you have at least four named and highly developed queer female characters, plus a meditation class full of other oft-present queer secondary characters, it doesn’t feel like a slap in the face to accuse one or two of them of murder. In fact, all of the jokes made at lesbians’ expense were either flung carelessly from the mouth of an established asshole of a man, or felt very inside jokey, made by us for us. The show laughs with us, never at us.

Eddie, Dulcie and Abby from Deadloch on the rocks

Queer actors on the job!

And this makes sense considering how many queer people are working behind the scenes on this show. Created by comedy duo Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan (as far as I can suss from Google, at least one of The Kates is queer, but maybe Australians can provide better insight on that one), the cast is full of queer women, including some queer women who play straight women on the show. Dulcie is played by queer Wentworth actress Kate Box, who is married to a non-binary actor Jada Alberts, who was also on Wentworth. Eddie Redcliffe is played by Madeleine Sami, who uses she/they pronouns and was formerly married to singer Ladyhawke. Abby, their plucky junior detective who is smarter than she gives herself credit for is played by queer actress Nina Oyama. Plus, there are some actors who have played queer and/or been on queer classics, like Kris McQuade and Pamela Rabe (aka THE Joan Fergeson) from Wentworth.

And that’s just what I could find as an American with no backgroudn\ knowledge of most of these actors; it’s possible I missed some! (This research had me wondering if Australian TV is small like Canadian TV or if Wentworth is Australia’s Law & Order franchise and all their actors probably made an appearance on it at one point or another. Or maybe it’s more like The L Word and it’s a queer show circuit. Either way I was amused at how many times Wentworth came up.)

Dulcie and Abby considering evidence

All this talk about Wentworth is making me miss Wentworth.

If you’re hesitant to watch this because it’s a technically cop show, know that I was too, but also it’s worth noting that the Australian cop system (while probably still corrupt in its own ways; it’s at the very least sexist if this show is correct) is different than it is in the US, most notably in that I don’t even remember seeing a cop holding a gun at all until the very last episode when an outsider cop handed one of Deadloch’s cops a gun and he said no thank you and put it down. So it’s not the kind of shoot-em-up situation even the lightest of American buddy cop shows tend to be.

Deadloch: Eddie looking over her shoulder with a concerned look

All these press stills are so much more serious than the show actually is.

Overall the show is fun and intriguing and I found myself looking forward to it week after week. It’s a great flip of the same old “women are being murdered” pattern we see too often in real life, and thus very often in crime shows. Plus, it has emotional beats but also so much comedy. Sometimes it’s stressful because people are yelling over each other and no one is listening to each other, but some of the funniest moments emerge from those instances. There are also some great comedy bits by the nosy Aboriginal teens who are clever and hilarious, plus an A+ placement of a dramatic cover of t.A.T.u’s All the Things She Said. If that doesn’t prove to you that this show is made by queer people, for queer people, I don’t know what will.

All eight episodes of Deadloch are available now on Prime Video.

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 559 articles for us.

43 Comments

  1. Of course, our police system is just as terrible as yours – Aboriginal people in Australia are the most incarcerated in the world. But the fact that the show starts with ACAB graffiti and then consistently shows how broken the police system is means that it also acts as a critique of police generally. Some prominent anti-police activists worked on the show as well, so it definitely doesn’t feel like copaganda really.

    Anyway, best thing I’ve watched in yonks! There’s a trans actor too! I’m going to rewatch it, like straight away!

  2. I’m glad you review this great series. I love all the ladies in it and especially that they’re called called the ‘lesbian police’. Great asset for the LGBTV we all LOVE.

  3. I really ended up enjoying this show. Did it feel like it was written by lesbian in her 50’s that lives in the Aussie equivalent of upstate new york and has a good relationship with her kids? yes. yes it did.

    But it kept me on my toes. It was refreshing and truly I’ve only become to appreciate the show as I moved on to the next crime thriller and it was about yet another dead girl and I realized how nice it was to have that break.

  4. Some queer Australia info:
    Kate McCartney is indeed queer and I believed married to prominent queer activist Sally Rugg, who played a pretty big role in getting our marriage equality act passed a few years ago (amongst other things) AND was recently in the news for taking her employer (a rich white lady politician) to court for requiring her to work excessive hours. Legit power couple

  5. thank you for this article, Valerie Anne! Me too, i did sooo enjoy the show: suspenseful + hilariously funny at times + great characters with even greater chemistry. wonderful cast/ensemble overall (not to forget the writers/exec producers … wish we had more of such splendid TV shows etc…

  6. Wait till you check out more of Autostraddle’s site and find out how they’re not only using the word queer, but *gasp* also employ trans women, support trans and queer lesbians, write about gender and so much more. Dang, it’s almost like you should try to stick to your TERF sites if you are so easily infuriated over reading something without transphobic bullshit in it 😙🫴

  7. Madeleine Sami has a queer comedy called Double Parked airing at the moment in Aotearoa (NZ). Through sitcom shenanigans both Sami and their partner end up pregnant at the same time. Enjoying it a lot so far. One to watch out for it if it ends up on a streamer later

  8. Starting watching w/out knowing a thing about it, But, my two favorite actresses from Wentworth, KATE BOX & PAMELA RABE are main characters. Madeline Sami is excellent, too. Imo, it is so refreshingly funny! I’m hooked!!

  9. I was really hoping AS was going to do an episode recaps/discussions of this show. It’s a great show that would be perfect for a AS-style recaps. Would much prefer to see episodic post discussions on this show rather than about the ultra-rich privileged lives of the characters on And Just Like That. The comments for this show on the site shows the interest for it here.

    Now I’m worried Amazon “Cancel the Gays” Prime will kill this show for no good reason.

    • Absolutely agree, I feel like if this was a US show they’d be all over it. It was fantastic for a whole heap of reasons; the first nations sub-plot in particular was really great. Fay’s acknowledgement at the start cracked me up.

      There’s just so much in this series, yet the only analysis we get is this? I stopped my A+ sub a while ago due to the site being so US-centric. Disappointed but not surprised they’ve slept on this

  10. This was the funniest show. I have seen in a long while…you quickly realize the jokes are on all the characters and not personal!
    I nearly fell out of the chair a few times understanding Ozzie English and applying that to the rest of the Commonwealth of being painfully constipated was a true revelation!
    Kate oh Kate is the best being at the maelstrom of this entire mess of who did it or not..and the bridge loving Kevin the huge seal set the first scenes….I knew it was going to be great! When you live in small town, these things do happen.
    Tbh, I wish there are more madcap mysteries and shows like this and having a lot of queers in this was the best.
    Put the CC on to really appreciate the caustic barbs and the expressions of Kate being the best deadpanner ever was priceless.

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