6 September 2008 | i-spy
A devastating expose of corruption in law enforcement and politics, from grass roots through to the highest echelons of power......
I find it hard to believe that no-one has chosen to make comment on this early masterpiece of Australian television. Of course, it may not be available on DVD in the United States, and I was extremely fortunate (I believe) to come by a copy by accident one day in the video section of a local store. Even so, I would have thought that one of my fellow Australians would have trumpeted the virtues of this work of art before this. I had not seen this powerhouse production for over a quarter of a century, since it first appeared on Australian television and created a huge stir for its "warts and all" depiction of corruption. This series was lauded at the time of its release for its realism and at the same time criticised because the day to day events of the various characters were considered "too fantastic and shocking" to be plausible. At the time of its release I was a young Police Constable who had only four years service, and upon watching this magnificent series again after 25 years a lot of memories came flooding back. The Australian public up to this time had never seen anything like "Scales of Justice", because it detailed the everyday corruption of public officials, from the lowly Police Constable on the beat through to the highest corridors of power in the Parliament of the Government. The average television viewer up to this time may have thought they had some vague idea of what the word "corruption" meant, but when this series hit television screens people were "shocked out of their socks". The series is caustic in its depiction of the debasement of the various players for money, power, sex, furtherance of careers or even the cost of a free meal and a drink. What is interesting to note in this series (and a sad comment on the human condition) is that some characters who appear "squeaky clean" are, inevitably, dragged down into the gutter; either because they are forced to or because they succumb to weakness. I highly recommend this series to any serious cinephile; its grainy 16mm. look and early 80's clothing and cars only add to its absolute realism. Did I mention that it is performed in a semi-documentary style that makes you believe in the sincerity and seriousness of the script from the get go ? And not to forget that each of the three episodes ends on an abrupt, "shock" ending that would put many current Hollywood movies to shame. Please watch this three part series - I promise you, you will not be disappointed, but you may feel like you need a shower afterwards !!