It’s official: East West 101 series 3 is its last

It’s official – series three of award-winning SBS crime drama East West 101 will be its last.

The announcement was made today at the season launch by the network’s director of television and online content Matt Campbell.

“Just so it’s clear…that has got nothing to do with me or SBS – it’s actually a decision that [producers] Kris [Wyld] and Steve [Knapman] took and it was kind of that at the beginning – that it could run three seasons,” he said at an inner city Sydney café.

“We’re very disappointed about that, but that’s where the story ends.”

Series three is being touted as the cast and crew’s best work.

“There is a maturity and a confidence and depth to it which is the result of the creative ensemble which have worked [together] for many years and some decades,” Knapman told the crowd of about 50.

“The reaction to East West 101 confirms my belief that the audience wants better, more complex and more authentic drama that reflects the reality of modern Australia…”

He said it was “a radical concept” having a Muslim as the “hero” in a post-9/11 world.

Series three explores the fallout from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars through crimes committed in Australia.

Detective Zane Malik (Silver Logie-winning Don Hany) is on a quest to find the men responsible for a violent robbery which saw $36 million stolen. Four men were killed. One of them – an armed robber – is middle-eastern, and is a mysterious figure with international connections. The robbery has the marks of a military operation but it is not known if the acts have been committed by extremists to fund an act of terror in Australia or if it is the deed of highly-organised crooks.

“We wanted to dramatise the suffering of our characters in Australia to bring the war home, and pose the great question – what is the meaning of life in the face of death?” said Knapman.

“We don’t supply the answer but we do want to challenge that 'hand on the heart' notion of patriotism and hold a mirror up to that much over-used label, ‘a hero’.

“We hope that we’ve delivered to you and the audience a more exciting, compelling and compassionate show…”

Also announced at the launch was news of nominations at the Monte Carlo Television Festival before the series has even gone to air – Outstanding International Producer (Wyld and Knapman), Outstanding Actor (Hany and Aaron Fa'aoso) and Outstanding Actress (Susie Porter and Rena Owen). Winners will be announced in June.

Series three of East West 101 can be seen on SBS One from April 20 at 8.30pm.

For a full feature on East West 101, see the April/May edition of IF magazine.