Scrublands: Chris Hammer novel comes to Stan

A dedicated young priest opens fire on his congregation in this adaptation of Hammer's bestselling crime novel.

Stan has announced the trailer, premiere date and first look images for its four-part Stan Original Series Scrublands, based on the award-winning crime novel by Australian author Chris Hammer.

Starring Luke Arnold (Black Sails) and Bella Heathcote (C*A*U*G*H*T) with Jay Ryan (Top of the Lake), the series is set in Riversend, an isolated and struggling country town in rural Victoria, where charismatic and dedicated young priest Byron Swift (Jay Ryan) calmly opens fire on his congregation, killing five parishioners. 

One year later, investigative journalist Martin Scarsden (Arnold) arrives in Riversend to write what should be a simple feature story on the anniversary of the tragedy. But Martin finds a town deeply scarred and hostile to journalists – local bookstore owner Mandy Bond (Bella Heathcote), Constable Robbie Haus-Jones (Adam Zwar) and widow of one of the massacre victims, Fran Landers (Victoria Thaine) give him short shrift. When Martin’s investigative instincts kick in and he digs beneath the surface, the previously accepted narrative begins to fall apart and he finds himself in a life and death race to uncover the truth.

The show marks the second co-commission between 9Network and Stan following Bali 2002.

Scrublands is directed by Greg McLean, written by Felicity Packard, Kelsey Munro and Jock Serong, produced by Ian Collie, Rob Gibson, David Redman, Felicity Packard for Easy Tiger Productions, with Executive Producers Michael Healy and Andy Ryan from the 9Network and Cailah Scobie and Amanda Duthie for Stan.

Scrublands premieres 16 November on Stan. 

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites