The first season of Secret City took its time getting its hooks in, but the show’s second chapter—subtitled Under the Eagle—hits the ground running, ultimately proving to be a more satisfying conspiracy thriller. Disgraced political journalist Harriet Dunkley (Anna Torv), released after two years from an unjust criminal sentence, is on the verge of leaving Canberra behind, her career in tatters. Events conspire to keep her around, however. In the wake of a tragic explosion in suburban Adelaide, her former cellmate Mina (Louisa Mignone) is accused of a shocking political murder. Then Harriet unexpectedly lands a new job, as the communications director for an ambitious new MP, Karen Koutoufides (Danielle Cormack). Harriet’s connections make her a lightning rod of intrigue, positioning her on the front lines against another conspiracy in the shady realms where crime and power intersect.
Secret City isn’t quite top-tier TV, but it sits comfortably on a second level just below, a smart, complex, attractively produced, and engaging series bolstered by Torv’s effortless anchoring presence. I think Under the Eagle possesses a niftier, more intricate plot than its predecessor, a slick matrix of political maneuvering, government corruption, international intrigue, and spy tradecraft. It possesses something of a House of Cards vibe—amplified by its similar credit sequence—but Secret City is ultimately less flashy and more convincing, with more to say. Recommended for fans of the genre.