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Scales of Justice (1983)


This drama series presents an examination of police corruption from street level through to the highest levels of officialdom and into the corridors of political power. Act one explores how an idealistic young constable becomes embroiled in corruption and ends up being torn between his conscience and his teammates. In act two, a senior policeman becomes compromised by a big time criminal and in act three, a young and ambitious attorney-general finds himself in conflict with corrupt senior policemen and some major crime bosses.

Curator’s notes

When Scales of Justice was first broadcast, it created a sensation. Writer Robert Caswell and producer Michael Carson researched this series interviewing serving police officers, ex-police officers and crims. In the end the scripts were drawn from boxes and boxes of cassette tapes of the interviews. The Wood Royal Commission was still in the future and Roger Rogerson was still a serving senior detective when the series was broadcast. It wasn’t until a decade later that the Wood Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service revealed what many had been saying for years: The NSW police force was riddled with corrupt officers.

It’s interesting to note that Michael Jenkins, who directed Scales of Justice, was also the director of the brilliant ABC series Blue Murder, written a decade later by Ian David, when the gloves were well and truly off in its use of stories about corruption in the NSW police force. Both Blue Murder and Scales of Justice were first and foremost dramas, supposedly fictionalised accounts. One wonders to what extent these stories could have been told in documentary form.