Our Law Season 2, SBS & NITV review: sparking hope for a fairer system

The second season of Our Law expands its scope across States and Territories to explore the relationship between police and First Nations people.
Jarwin Blackman in Our Law Season 2. Image: NITV/SBS

‘Throughout Australia’s history, the relationship between police and First Nations peoples has been one of mistrust, oppression and trauma,’ explains the narrator – acclaimed Australian actor Deborah Mailman – in the opening moments of the second season of Our Law, now showing on SBS and NITV.

‘Today, a brave few have taken it upon themselves to help create a better future,’ says Mailman. ‘These are First Nations officers making a real change, right across the country. Working to heal the wounds of the past, and create a system of justice that’s fair for everyone’.

Our Law is an eight-part docu-series where the filmmakers have been granted intimate and candid access to First Nations officers trying to change police cultures from within. Filmed on the frontline of police operations, and documenting squad-car conversations, cadet training, domestic violence call outs, high stakes decision making and more, the Our Law series breaks new ground, not just in the kinds of things we see on television, but also in raising awareness of the particular social justice issues. 

Our Law – nationwide

Season 2 expands on what Season 1 did by crossing state lines from Western Australia into New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Torres Strait.

It’s a series that really makes you think about the (un)fairness of our current justice system, and hope for a future where those aforementioned wounds can heal. And while I think Our Law only begins to scratch the surface of the issues facing First Nations people and their relationship to police, it certainly hits its mark for raising awareness of just how complex and multilayered it all is.

The series starts by focusing on two Western Australian police cadets, Leroy Rundle and Ace Keirnan, both of whom appeared in Season 1, and who now face new challenges in their roles as a Recruit and a Custody Officer. In the first few episodes we’ll see them undergo physical defense training, cultural training, and learning how to correctly use their police weapons (and when/when not to use them).

Read: SBS on Demand: new shows and films streaming this week

Further along, we also meet Sergeant Alan Kickett from West Australian Police; Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLO) Melissa Muter, Scott Mieni and Narelle Dickson from NSW Police Force; Sergeant Melissa Peters from Victoria Police; and Senior Constable Patricia Pedro, Constable Jarwin Blackman, and Constable Laurie Bateman from Queensland Police Service, as they work in various communities.

As Kickett, a Wadjuk Noongar man, explains, ‘there is a mistrust when it comes to Aboriginal people dealing with police officers,’ – it’s not hard to see why when looking at Australia’s historic (and sadly, current) abuse of First Nations people. And so the modus operandi of the police force is to recruit First Nations people into the police force to improve engagement with the community.

Of course, that route to healing the fractured relationship has to come from both directions, and thankfully that’s well understood among the police. Kickett goes on to reveal that some officers ‘have never spoken to an Indigenous person in their entire lives’, a shocking but unsurprising admission that only begins to prod at how deep the problem goes. At the very least, the officers profiled in Our Law are doing their very best to fix things.

In episode three, two cops are seen evicting unhoused people from repossessed properties. Constable Jarwin Blackman bemoans that it’s hard, emotionally, for him to do this when the housing crisis is so prevalent in Queensland. To his credit, he chats to everyone they evict and checks that they have somewhere else to go. But neither he nor his coworker can arrange alternative accomodation. Blackman admits ‘it’s a bigger problem than what we have a solution for’, which is perhaps the best summary of all the issues outlined in Our Law. The police force, despite recruiting record numbers of First Nations people now, is not able to solve the problems they are often called out for – because the main role of police is to enact punishments.

In the three episodes I was given to review, I could see what the show was aiming for with its mix of adrenaline-fuelled moments, including on-the-ground footage of callouts involving attempted suicides, domestic violence and public drunkenness, together with more grounded talking-heads moments that focused on the social outreach side of modern policing. In some cases, though, it made the episodes seem a little shallow. We never fully get into the gritty details of why such issues happen in these communities, and how the institution of police might be working to overhaul their approach.

In terms of structure, the show pretty much follows the same template as any other factual cop series you’d find on TV today: it opens with bombastic images of police cars zipping through the night, sirens wailing, then cuts to a VFX map that contextualises the location on Country. Director Perun Bonser and producers Taryne Laffar of PiNK PEPPER, along with Sam Bodhi Field of Periscope Pictures have crafted a tight and punchy reality show that will sit well in its prime time slot of 8.30pm on NITV.

I admit I am not probably the target audience of a show like Our Law, but if you’re a person who has enjoyed other reality series like Cops and Border Security and want to know more about First Nations and Indigenous issues in Australia, this is the perfect show for you.

Despite the fact that the issues Our Law deals with are too numerous and complex to be sufficiently explored in its half hour reality format, it still provides a good snapshot of the current policing environment in the profiled areas. Hopefully it will get more people curious about the issues surrounding the policing of First Nations people and open up discussion.

Our Law Series 2 airs weekly on NITV and SBS on Thursday 9 May from 8.30pm with a double episode.


3 out of 5 stars

Our Law S2


Alan Kickett, Jarwin Blackman, Deborah Mailman


Perun Bonser

Format: TV Series

Country: Australia

Release: 09 May 2024

Available on:

sbs on demand, 6 Episodes

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports