Janet’s back in the ring
MATCH fixing is the new target in the sights of steely prosecutor Janet King.
Marta Dusseldorp returns in her award-winning role in the third season of the ABC's successful Crownies spin-off.
After two years training prosecutors for the United Nations in Fiji, Janet has returned home to Australia to join the National Crime Commission.
Her investigation into the death of a young cricketer uncovers a web of match fixing, performance-enhancing drugs, money laundering, kickbacks and murder.
She's back in top form, pushing her interrogations further.
"She's back in the arena and she's got the taste for blood," Marta tells The Guide.
"Janet is completely PTSD-free so we go back to that lovely acerbic tongue, which is lots of fun.
"But she makes some mistakes, which I really love. What I love about her is she does the wrong thing a lot of the time for the right reasons. She's not a white knight. She has huge vulnerabilities and she can be so blind to stuff. I hope the audience are screaming at the television going, 'No, don't do that.'
"This season is not just about who is behind all of this but also the human cost. That's something I love about Janet King ... the focus is always on the human story that makes hopefully our hearts bleed so we embrace and absorb the human tragedy."
Other familiar faces are also back this season.
Janet now answers to her mentor Tony Gillies, the new head of the NCC, and her former right-hand Richard Stirling (Hamish Michael) is now a top barrister for several of the athletes under suspicion.
"It was great to finally put Janet and Richard opposite each other," she says.
"There's such a depth of understanding and history between them, which is the beauty of doing television for so long. We've done 22 episodes of Crownies and two seasons of Janet King, so we're up to 50 episodes together. We can play a scene where half of it is to do with things that happened five years ago.
"She is still his teacher and he can't stand it."
Aided by Federal Sergeant Bianca Grieve, who is also her girlfriend, and reporting to mentor Tony Gillies (Peter Kowitz), Janet has an otherwise new team at her disposal.
Young researcher Bonnie (Geraldine Viswanathan) is hard-working but her blithe attitude rubs many of her new co-workers the wrong way.
"That was very important to put Janet up against her younger self," she says.
"They have a beautiful journey together throughout the show and she gives it a new flavour because there's a new person to play with and against."
Other new additions to the cast include Susie Porter, Don Hany, Zoe Terakes, Andy Ryan and Robert Mammone.
Janet also faces several hurdles in her personal life. Her children haven't warmed to Bianca and her estranged father suddenly re-enters her life.
"Life is messy and unpredictable. It doesn't always go the way you want," Marta says.
"Janet forgets to look at what she's got right in front of her. She takes care of the outsider, the victim, the one who has less, and sometimes she ends up having less."
Season three of Janet King premieres tonight at 8.30pm on ABC.