Trackers has deep plotting and backstories aplenty.

Trackers has deep plotting and backstories aplenty. Credit:




We’re used to the smorgasbord of European drama on SBS but we don’t get to see much out of Africa. So that’s part of the pleasure of Trackers right there: that granular insight into another culture that international television always provides. From the landscapes and architecture to the physicality of the actors, it’s always fascinating to see how the other half live. And then, of course, there are the stories different cultures choose to tell. Scandi crime dwells on violence against women, US drama is obsessed with power and corruption. Trackers, a South African thriller based on the novel by Deon Meyer, is ostensibly about international terrorism and the efforts of agents of the PBI (Presidential Bureau of Investigation) to thwart it. But what it’s really about are the deep racial and cultural fissures that divide that nation. The plotting is as dense as you’d hope in thriller. It certainly requires a little patience to figure out who’s who and how they’re connected. There’s a large-ish ensemble and they all come with hefty backstories. But there’s never a dull moment, and a lot of fun to be had in watching something that feels so familiar (once we leave the cities we could be anywhere in the Australian bush, and even the accents make all the white people sound like Queenslanders) yet simultaneously so utterly foreign. Melinda Houston


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