The Twelve Season 2, Binge review: silky smooth

The Twelve returns with a fleshly farmhand, lawyerly lovemaking, crackling charisma and a tool for boring holes in wood ...
The Twelve – Season 2. Image: Binge.

It’s extremely dispiriting, as a reviewer, when the daggy dad joke you’ve been champing at the bit to deploy in your write-up is ‘stolen’ by the star of the show. Such is life, and so it is in the opening salvo of Binge hit The Twelve’s second season. But it’s impossible to be churlish at the abundantly charismatic Sam Neill, so I’ll let it slide.

The very first image we spy is a possibly purgatorial pyre on which accused murderer Sasha (Home and Away alum Amy Matthews) is burning a big bore (not that sort). You know, the hand-twisted drill used for burrowing fence post holes.

Why torch it? Especially on the night that your surly farm land-owning mum Bernice (Deadloch actor Kris McQuade) just so happened to plummet to her death in a nearby well, subsequently drowning in stagnant water.

Or was she already dead, with a suspiciously ‘auger’-like wound to the head?

Yep, you guessed it. Jurassic Park star Neill’s defence SC Brett Colby, ever ready with a witty clapback, allows himself a sly grin while picking holes in the accusations of Wentworth star Shareena Clanton’s Detective Gardner.

‘Well, that doesn’t augur well for your case, does it?’

Decamping from Sydney to the fictional rural town of Tunkwell in WA – filmed in York – Colby has flown into the ‘circus’ surrounding this high-profile case in which Sasha’s tattooed lover Patrick (Erroll Shand, Our Flag Means Death) also stands accused.

Read: The Twelve review: Foxtel’s jury drama without a body

Flashbacks reveal Sasha rescuing the blow-in farmhand from the side of the road after his ute breaks down and him wisely warning her off picking up strangers. Glimpses of steamy sessions while erecting said fencing follow. But they’ve since separated, rancorously so, making their adjoining bunks in the courthouse’s lockup pretty awkward, though Gardner hopes they’ll spill the beans while battling one another through the walls.

Patrick is represented by Colby’s colleague Meredith Nelson-Moore SC (Cleverman actor Frances O’Connor, a welcome addition). They’re arguing it was a tragic accident of the sort that happens on farms across the country every day.

Gossipy tidbits

All business in court, the silks are somewhat dubiously reconvening between the sheets of an eve. However, even the judge (the late Keith Robinson) is unbothered by this gossipy tidbit. ‘What happens on circuit stays on circuit.’

Righto. What went down between Sasha and Patrick? We know that a great deal of money changed hands on the day Bernice died, and at least half of that is missing, with a life insurance claim in play, too. They’re grilled by barrister Jude Persand (Total Control’s consistently excellent Fayssal Bazzi).

There was little love lost between the cantankerously snarling matriarch and her daughter, with the former barking at the latter that ‘We don’t fuck the hired help’. To which Sasha bites back, ‘Unless it’s you … you’re just jealous mum’. OUCH.

Whatever Patrick did to earn Sasha’s ire, he must perch about a foot away from her as they wallow in the dock while Binge ekes out weekly episodes of their award-winning show, inspired by Belgian original De Twaalf.

Murky foibles

As with the first season, the details of the whodunnit are less than half the story. The clues in the name, after all. The real focus of the show is the jury members. Both in their backroom deliberations and, arguably more importantly, our insights into their murky foibles.

If it was a bit much, just how much was going on in their individual lives last time round, then brace yourself, because goss goes round even faster in a small town stacked with dark secrets (I wonder if David Lynch gets copyright payments for this sort of stuff?)

The opening episode reveals that Josh McKenzie’s much-loved former footy player juror Joey is a bit shifty. When recognised by Stefanie Caccamo’s fellow deliberator Claudia from their high school days, his response gets weird fast. And that’s before we see him shooting up and getting involved in a midnight truck smash.

I did snort-laugh at Meredith’s opening monologue about needing an older woman on the jury only for the shot to cut to outstanding and in no way old Bunurong actor woman Tasma Walton. Rude! It’ll be interesting to watch her character Thelma pick at a loose thread about rumoured Indian heritage, especially with her poor mum experiencing dementia. All this while buddying up with Indian-Australian juror Parvinder (promising newcomer Sharon Johal).

Pure soap

Duelling real estate agents and exes Donna and Dean (Suesha Rana and Luke Pegler) promise pure soap. Top marks to Brad Francis’ amusingly named, good-natured Castle Hotel publican Columbus for saying the quiet part out loud, that all his punters reckon Sasha and Patrick are guilty as hell. Another local is a touch blunter re Bernice: ‘People would have been lining up to knock the old bitch off.’ Charming.

With Sarah Walker and Anchuli Felicia King are back in the writing room, joined by Anna Barnes and Anya Beyersdorf, there’s plenty of punch in this fired-up return. Director Stevie-Cruz Martin (Safe Home) ably corralls a vast cast with many moving parts in a swift-cutting start that augurs well for the rest of the show (sue me, Sam).

Even if the formula feels a little stretched already, there’s no faulting the players and I’m already hooked, your honour.

The Twelve Season 2 premieres on Binge on 11 July.


4 out of 5 stars

The Twelve Season 2


Sam Neill, Frances O’Connor, Amy Matthews, Erroll Shand, Kris McQuade, Fayssal Bazzi, Shareena Clanton, Josh McKenzie, Stefanie Caccamo, Tasma Walton, Sharon Johal, Suesha Rana


Stevie Cruz-Martin

Format: TV Series

Country: Australia

Release: 11 July 2024

Available on:

Binge, 8 Episodes