Pine Gap

Pine gap series the operation room
Pine Gap facility in Alice Spring
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Nestled in a valley near Alice Spring, on a sacred land of the aboriginal people, the Pine Gap center observes everything the satellites transmit: images, of course, but also telephone conversations, geothermal disturbances… This facility is jointly managed by USA and Australia. That can never be easy. But right now, the alliance faces a primary challenge. In an ongoing climate of tension with China, the US President and Australian Prime Minister are publicly expressing doubts about the value of this alliance. The slightest incident can set things off. When a plane is shot down by a missile, very close to where the President is, Pine Gap is accused of not having seen it coming. An internal investigation is launched, revealing that a spy is hiding among the team of young analysts.

Pine Gap may not be the best series ever, but is has several assets. First, it is instructive… It’s amazing -in a bad way- what counter-espionage agencies can do, the rights they arrogate to themselves, the total lack of concern for individual freedoms… The end justifies the means, that’s obvious to everyone, period! In the background, aboriginal culture and land use negotiations are briefly described. The scenery is breathtakingly wild and beautiful. Another interesting theme is the subtle game China is playing: Go strategy versus chess strategy for the USA.

The series takes itself a little too seriously, drowning the viewer in “professional” jargon. But it also shows the psychological cost to those who devote themselves to their country, and to their families. Most of the characters appear cold, having lost their capacity for empathy. Some oh them stay human and endearing, though. As the pace of the plot, a little slow at first, intensifies with each episode, we find ourselves wondering who the spy is, and what’s going to happen to this small, multi-cultural community.

Mini series, 6 episodes (45 mn), 2018

  • The Australians : Jacqueline McKenzie / Kath, Tess Haubrich / Jasmina, Stephen Curry / Jacob
  • The Americans : Steve Toussaint / Ethan, Lewis Fitz-Gerald / Rudi, Parker Sawyers / Gus, Mark Leonard Winter / Moses, Simone Kessell / Belle
  • The Aborigines : Kelton Pell / Paul, Madeleine Madden / Immy
  • Jason Chong / Zhou Lin

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