Troppo Season 2, ABC review: crime-time viewing

Damaged private investigators Conkaffey and Pharrell make their suspenseful return in Season 2 of the Australian drama.
Troppo – Series 2. Image: ABC.

The trouble with series about damaged cops – or in Troppo’s case, damaged private investigators – is that you’re not left with a whole lot of options once the scars begin to heal. If what drives them is the ghosts of their past, and their current case helps dispel those ghosts, what comes next?

Season 1 of Troppo (based on the Crimson Lake series of thrillers by Candice Fox) was partly about the search for a missing businessman in an increasingly dodgy stretch of North Queensland, partly about the uneasy professional relationship between ex-con Amanda Pharrell (Nicole Chamoun) and ex-cop (and American ex-pat) Ted Conkaffey (Thomas Jane). The series wrapped up with the mystery solved and Pharrell having at least some of the dark cloud over her past lifted. So she’s settled down and got herself a regular job, right?

Pharrell might know the truth about her past now, but she’s hardly at peace with it. She’s still got some issues to work out, and judging by the way she’s working them out – taking a sledgehammer to a wrecked car is only part of the process – she’s not going to sort things out any time soon.

Troppo will also be streaming on Prime Video from 25 July.

And then there’s Conkaffey, whose messed-up past comes to the fore this season. Initially back in Sydney to visit his daughter (and looking extremely out of place), things quickly take a turn for the worse when the local cops raid the house during her birthday party. He’s not exactly their favourite person after the accusations that got him thrown off the force, and getting into a punch-up with them doesn’t improve his standing much with his family either.

Read: ABC iview: new shows streaming July 2024

Season 1 opened with someone getting chomped by a croc. This season begins with a man being set on fire and thrown off a cliff, his body landing on and killing a young woman about to get lucky with her (unscathed) partner. By the time the bodies are found, time (and the fire) has the cops assuming they’re dealing with a couple of lovebirds who were torched by someone close to one of them. Their prime suspect is Ralph Naughton (Ethan Lwin), son of the dead man, but his girlfriend (Miah Madden) is convinced he’s innocent, and hires Pharrell and Conkaffey to prove it.

Small-town murder is a thriving genre on Australian television. Unlike a lot of recent examples, Troppo is a mystery rather than a character drama; twists abound, red herrings are common, and the story ends up a long way from where it started. It doesn’t take long for the duo to figure out there was another person with the dead woman, motives for murder aren’t exactly in short supply, and soon they’re tangled in a web of bad bikies, missing money, a stolen sports car, and shotgun blasts.

That’s not to say our leads don’t have private lives. This season sees Conkaffey’s ex (Radha Mitchell) bringing their daughter up north for a visit at the worst possible time, while a brief flirtation outside a bar brings new cop Detective Pip Sweeney (Zindzi Okenyo) into Pharrell’s life.

She’s the one investigating the murder, so of course their personal connection won’t cause any issues whatsoever. And last’s seasons sketchy standout Twist (Simon Lyndon) is back, which is going to seriously mess with Pharrell even if this time the drug kingpin is (maybe) on the right side of things.

Read: Troppo Season 1 review: prickly and solid TV

Much like the first season, this takes a little while to get going (though there’s plenty of North Queensland scenery to admire along the way). But everything we see pays off at some point; there’s a lot happening across the eight episodes and even the dead ends usually have a quirky moment or memorable performance to make them worthwhile.

It’s not the kind of mystery where you need to keep a large cast and loads of details in mind. It’s more like a rolling wave of crime, with the two PIs barely able to keep ahead of it.

Speaking of which, despite the small personal progress they’ve made, they’re both clearly damaged people whose working relationship is based in large part on propping each other up. Fortunately, their skills are complimentary: he’s the level-headed one who can take a shotgun blast to the chest and get up (if the shotgun’s loaded with salt that is), while she’s the impulsive one who lashes out – and moves things forward when her partner might have hung back.

The interplay between them remains the big selling point here. They’re each broken in their own way, and the need to lash out is the main thing they have in common. But as a pairing, they work, both when it comes to solving mysteries and in helping each other out.

The murder and its various spin-offs might be the main driver here, but some of the most satisfying moments come when they use their skills to help solve each other’s mysteries – and going by the way events pan out, there could be a lot more of that in their future.

Troppo premieres on ABC iview on 5 July 2024, and on Prime Video from 25 July 2024.


4 out of 5 stars



Thomas Jane, Nicole Chamoun, Zindzi Okenyo, Radha Mitchell


Grant Brown, Thomas Jane, Robyn Grace, Simon Lyndon

Format: TV Series

Country: Australia

Release: 05 July 2024

Available on:

abc iview, Amazon Prime, 8 Episodes

Anthony Morris is a freelance film and television writer. He’s been a regular contributor to The Big Issue, Empire Magazine, Junkee, Broadsheet, The Wheeler Centre and Forte Magazine, where he’s currently the film editor. Other publications he’s contributed to include Vice, The Vine, Kill Your Darlings (where he was their online film columnist), The Lifted Brow, Urban Walkabout and Spook Magazine. He’s the co-author of hit romantic comedy novel The Hot Guy, and he’s also written some short stories he’d rather you didn’t mention. You can follow him on Twitter @morrbeat and read some of his reviews on the blog It’s Better in the Dark.