If you’re not watching Wentworth on Netflix, you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. (If you voted for Trump, the second biggest mistake.)

Wentworth has it all. I thought it ended after the third season, so I’ve been binging to catch up. Watching three episodes in a row is like living in another dimension. It can be hard to readjust to life outside the Australian women’s prison where the series takes place. It’s emotionally exhausting but irresistibly addictive.

Wentworth’s villain is a monumental figure whose match is rarely seen on TV. Governor Ferguson, played by Pamela Rabe, runs the prison like a sadistic Big Nurse, scheming against the women with a vindictive malice than knows no bounds.

She is a fucking psychopath, and at six feet tall, she literally looms over the prisoners like a giant Nazi. I wish someone would agree with me that she looks like Alec Baldwin! The likeness gives me an extra frisson of pleasure whenever she purses her lips or sneers.

Ferguson’s opponent is Bea Smith, whose arc takes her from frightened middle class mom to Mad Max as she earns the position of Wentworth’s “Top Dog.” An earlier Top Dog who Bea must defeat is Jacs, a coarse mobster who looks like Martha Stewart gone bad. Jacs is truly terrifying. I had to cover my eyes constantly when Jacs was around.

Bea’s rival is a boyish lesbian called Franky, who has an enormous lovesick enforcer, Boomer. There is tons of grisly violence that everyone usually forgives as part of the territory.

The Australian accents are an added joy: Debbie is Dibby, and sex is six. Not that there is any six; the seductions here are more visceral and psychological.

Wentworth’s characters are cartoonish, but the actors are so brilliant and committed that they transcend cliches. No one is afraid to be repulsive or grotesque. And once you’re past season two, they’re your family.

Here’s a great scene between Ferguson and her lieutenant, Vera, that might be a spoiler, so beware. If you’re already a fan, please share your favorite Wentworth moments!


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15 Responses to Wentworth!

  1. Vic says:

    Fucking A. Wentworth. I had no idea
    I owe you a debt of. Gratitude. And I love your blog
    And I never comment on anything

  2. Andra says:

    Well, I guess I’ve led a sheltered life but I’m Australian and I’ve never heard of this show. I’ll see if I can find it and have a look.

  3. Mark-E says:

    Ed (Id) and I have been watching this. We watched 1 and 2 last year and were delighted when 3 came out recently. Season 3 is beautifully ridiculous, especially when Ferguson fights off 10 or so women in that kung-fu movie way.

    Liz (Leez) Birdsworth is amazing, too.

    Jake, Ferguson’s secret lackey, is delicious. I wish he were shirtless more often.

    So happy you’re into this show.

  4. Sister Wolf says:

    Vic – No, I owe you the gratitude for commenting! Can you see the Alec Baldwin?

    Andra – Hurry!

    Mark-E – Liz is incredible. Just saying that to Robert. Who the fuck is Jake?? I’m going to go look.

  5. Sisty says:

    Not Alec Baldwin — Frank Langella.

    That clip contains some of the most god-awful writing I’ve ever heard. And for that very reason, I’m off to binge on this right now!

  6. Sister Wolf says:

    Sisty – Hahahaha, I see Frank Langella in the lips but you’ll see, it’s Alec Baldwin.

  7. Dj says:

    Need a new fix! Will start soon
    Meanwhile, Claws…….trashy fun, Cheetos for the brain

  8. Dj says:

    Alec Baldwin is prettier.

  9. Mr. Picodogg says:

    Beware, the glove!

  10. Dj says:

    P.S. Another trashy women’s prison series, Cappadocia, HBO Latino…subtitled

  11. jody says:

    been looking for a new show on netflix, i’ll check this out. she reminds me of Trunchbull (the school principal) in Matilda.

  12. Suspended says:

    I was a massive fan of Prisoner Cell Block H (the show Wentworth is based on) and for that reason I can’t get in to this. They’ve changed names and muddled characters and it’s all too confusing. The original Joan “The Freak” Ferguson was fantastic! As was Bea Smith and Lizzy Birdsworth (with her cackling 50-a-day laugh.) Loved that old bag! The original was also famous for sadistic plot lines, wobbly sets and ham acting.

    In the late 80’s/early 90’s my friend used to work in a garage that sold Dunkin’ Donuts and her shift finished at 11pm (when the donuts were supposed to get thrown out.) Somehow those donuts always found their way to my house for 11:30pm when PCBH was about to begin. Good times.

    I get a little Alec Baldwin. It’s the face shape and nose, I think.

  13. Sister Wolf says:

    Suspended – I saw some of Cell Block H and it really freaked me out. The “exams” with the glove were too much for me. I’m just a big baby.

  14. Mark-E says:

    Wait! I was wrong! We’re on season 5 now. Still brilliant for all the reasons you mention.

  15. Dj says:

    Just watched the first episode…still like HBO Cappadocia better, meatier, stranger more horrendous since it’s a Mexican prison, will continue…Aussie shows need subtitles mate

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