Blackfella Films' Deep Water will premiere on SBS Australia at 8.30 pm on Wednesday 5 October it has been announced.

Deep Water is a network event that unearths a gripping true crime story and a buried chapter of Australia’s recent history.

In the 1980s and 1990s a wave of murders bloodied the idyllic coastline of Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

There were 80 murders, 30 unsolved cases and thousands of assaults. The victims: young homosexual men.

SBS’s Deep Water brings these events of the past to life with a compelling new crime drama inspired by these events, a feature-length documentary and an interactive, immersive online and social media experience.

The Deep Water drama and documentary is a Blackfella Films production for SBS, with major production investment from Screen Australia, with Screen NSW as a partner for the drama. This is the first time Screen Australia has funded a drama and documentary on the same subject matter airing at the same time.

Deep Water is a fictional, four-part drama series inspired by these events. Set in contemporary Bondi, featuring a stellar cast of Australian actors and airing over two big weeks, Deep Water premieres Wednesday October 5 at 8.30pm on SBS.

Directed by Shawn Seet (The Code, Peter Allen: Not The Boy Next Door) and written by Kris Wyld (East West 101) and Kym Goldsworthy (Love Child, Serangoon Road) the drama unfolds when detectives Tori Lustigman, played by Yael Stone (Orange in the New Black) and Nick Manning, played by Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) are assigned to a brutal murder case. Lustigman and Manning begin to uncover mounting evidence to suggest the killing is connected to a spate of unexplained deaths, “suicides” and disappearances throughout the 80s and 90s. Is this the result of shoddy police work, indifference, or something far more sinister?

The cast also features a line-up of renowned Aussie actors including William McInnes (The Slap, Blue Heelers), Danielle Cormack (Wentworth, Underbelly), Jeremy Lindsay Taylor (Puberty Blues, Sea Patrol), Craig McLachlan (The Doctor Blake Mysteries), Dan Spielman (The Code, Accidental Soldier), Ben Oxenbould (The Kettering Incident), Simon Burke (Devil’s Playground), John Brumpton (Catching Milat) and Victoria Haralabidou (Barracuda, The Code), Simon Elrahi (Janet King, The Code), and Renee Lim (Please Like Me, East West 101). Drama also features up and coming actors George H. Xanthis (The Principal, Open Slather) and Julian Maroun.

Deep Water – The Real Story is a feature-length documentary premiering Sunday October 16 at 8.30pm on SBS. Directed by Amanda Blue, Deep Water – The Real Story is a 90 minute feature presenting first-hand accounts of Sydney’s gay hate killings in the 1980s and 1990s.

This documentary unravels the stories of a society in the grips of homophobia as gangs stalked vulnerable victims on the coastline cliffs, brutal gay bashings were carried out, and lives were ended on the rocks below.

Many of those involved at the time, including police, advisors, victims and families of those murdered speak out on the crimes of the past in the hope that new evidence will rise to the surface in the pursuit of peace for the dead and justice for their loved ones.

Deep Water – Online Investigations is an online interactive hub developed by Blackfella Films and SBS, and produced by SBS. It includes content that is released across September and October. The site will include a special illustrated long form feature; a true crime podcast series; and an interactive site delving into 30 cold cases, allowing users to explore the unsolved murders, both within Bondi and wider Australia, for themselves.

Deep Water – Online Investigations also features both in-depth extras around the Deep Water drama and Deep Water – The Real Story; with behind-the-scenes videos of the drama, including cast and crew interviews; sneak-peek extras; deleted scenes from the drama and a photo- gallery showcasing Bondi Beach - all available now.

During the broadcast of Deep Water, the drama series, audiences will also be able to delve further into the investigation as it unfolds during each episode by following an immersive extended narrative experience on Twitter. In partnership with Screen Australia and Twitter, the initiative will provide viewers with exclusive access to evidence and crime scene material from the drama, providing another layer to the gripping story. Photos and footage, previews of episodes and personal insight into the lead character of Detective Tori Lustigman (Yael Stone) will be shared on Twitter handles @DeepWaterSBS and @ToriLustigman. Viewers can also follow the investigation using #DeepWater and as the drama unfolds on screen, they will feel like they’re investigating the crime right alongside the Bondi detectives.

SBS Director of Television and Online Content, Marshall Heald said:

“SBS is a true champion of captivating and compelling storytelling, and always looks for new ways it can share stories with Australian audiences. The Deep Water drama and documentary by the talented team at Blackfella Films, alongside a truly innovative online hub and social media experience gives audiences multiple ways to explore and connect with these important events of the recent past which have shaped our society.”


Deep Water, the drama, airs over two big weeks, starting 8.30pm Wednesday, 5 October, with continuing with the second episode on Thursday, 6 October 8.30om on SBS.

The four-part series and documentary will also available after broadcast, anytime, on your favourite streaming device, SBS On Demand.

Join the conversation: #DeepWater | Twitter: @SBS | | Instagram: sbs_australia

Notes to the Editor:

Please note Deep Water the drama is inspired by true events but the characters in the series, both living and dead, are fictional.

As a part of SBS’s marketing campaign, two-time Aria award-winning, Sarah Blasko re-recorded Kylie Minogue’s 2001 hit ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’; a song that peaked at number one on the ARIA chart and was certified triple platinum in Australia.