Meet the key players in Foxtel’s must-see courtroom drama The Twelve

Foxtel’s highly anticipated Australian series The Twelve delivers murder mystery intrigue and a courtroom full of interesting characters. The series premieres at 8:30pm on Tuesday June 21 on Foxtel Showcase. Sign up for a free 10 day trial.

Guilty. Innocent. Art. Crime. These stark binaries become gloriously unclear in Foxtel’s new prestige series The Twelve, packed with acting talent including Sam Neill, Marta Dusseldorp, Kate Mulvany, Brooke Satchwell and Brendan Cowell.

Fans of courtroom dramas will be absorbed in the trial of artist Kate Lawson (Kate Mulvany), with 12 diverse strangers forced to determine whether she’s guilty of seducing and murdering her niece Claire (Coco Jack Gillies).

So, who are the key players in this highly anticipated series? Scroll for the line-up.

The Accused

Kate Mulvany as Kate Lawson

With a shock of white hair and defiant red lipstick, Kate Lawson is an enigma, unafraid to defend the disturbing photos she and Claire made. When the prosecution challenges whether artwork of the teen’s period blood can really be considered “beautiful”, Kate hits back: “that question says so much more about you than me.”

Mulvany plays Kate as a true force of independence, refusing to bow to any societal preconceptions of a grieving innocent victim. This is reminiscent of famous cases such as Lindy Chamberlain’s trial by media, our impossible expectations of female victimhood making already-grim cases impossibly complex. She’ll certainly keep the 12 jurors guessing right up until the finale.

The Prosecution

Marta Dusseldorp as Lucy Bloom

Lucy Bloom doesn’t pull any punches in presenting the accused as a predator and outsider. She attacks with a severe, hawklike gaze, almost treating the environment around her more like a tennis court than a courtroom. In one scene, after Bloom revolts the jurors with a pornographic video of the dead girl choking herself auto-erotically, she is handed a post-it note that reads: “plan is paying off!”

Tellingly, the whole first episode of The Twelve doesn’t present the viewers with any evidence at all: only the flimsy fabric of first impressions, a media maelstrom, and each side’s emotionally charged opening statements. We have a feeling that Bloom’s focus on appearances might come back to bite her as the series’ secrets unfold.

The Defence

Sam Neill as Brett Colby

“The jury is everything”, Colby mutters in a low voice to his despised client, minutes into the first episode. Neill wears the hell out of a barrister’s wig and flashes his trademark rakish smirk as Kate’s defence. He accuses the prosecution of seeking to spin “a good yarn”, trying to sidle up to the jury by telling them that Bloom “would have you believe that [Claire] was an angelic child, but that is not so.”

If anyone’s going to dole out the uncomfortable truth in this series, we bet on it coming from Neill, whose played straight-talking smartarses countless times before. He confronts supernatural and impossible foes in movies like Event Horizon and Jurassic Park, but here he’s forced to keep the human vulnerability of his opposition in mind. A young girl may have been killed and dumped into Sydney Harbour, and somebody must atone for it.

The Jury

Brooke Satchwell as Georgina

Georgina knows what it’s like to be caged, giving her a strange insight into how Kate must be feeling. A match-cut at the end of episode one shows both women sitting in their own separate prisons, Kate’s more literal whilst Georgina has been punished by her domineering husband.

Despite her reluctance to be accepted into the jury, Georgina stays boldly subjective, reminding the other jurors that “it’s a little early to judge” in episode two. The trial’s mercurial, nuanced nature might even help her confront the gaslighting and abuse in her own life.

Damien Strouthos as Alexi

Despite his easygoing nature, Alexi is skating on thin ice in his life outside the courtroom. He’s struggling to keep his father’s construction business afloat, and his alcoholic brother isn’t helping things, continuing to hire undocumented workers. Damien Strouthos plays the inevitable fallout from this with believable desperation. When the brothers can’t go to the authorities about a horrific accident, Alexi must confront his own morality.

Brendan Cowell as Garry

If any of our 12 jurors are going to be an antagonistic, dissenting factor in the room, as it was in Sidney Lumet’s classic single-location drama 12 Angry Men, it’s Cowell’s debt-ridden gambler Garry. We learn quickly that he’ll capitalise on his position on the jury to get whatever gain he can, when he’s approached to blab about the trial’s inner workings to some mysterious benefactor. Unpretentious, rumpled and conniving, Garry is a wild card.

Pallavi Sharda as Corrie

From our first moments meeting Corrie, we might make some unkind assumptions: she seems spoiled, wearing flirty designer garments and having sex with some hot guy in a huge, lavish mansion. But there’s plenty of tragedy and burden upon the head juror’s shoulders in her private life. Corrie comes from a wealthy shipping dynasty, living alone in her absent parent’s enormous estate. With Bollywood star Sharda bringing glamorous mystery to the character, Corrie should emerge as one of The Twelve’s most fascinating figures.

Ngali Shaw as Jarrod

A young Black uni student crushed by the responsibilities of his scholarship, Jarrod is certainly one of the series’ most targeted characters. He’s almost kicked off the jury at first, for accidentally wearing an “offensive” t-shirt to the selection session. It’s telling that at university Jarrod is studying Death of the Author—given there is no omnipotent, subjective eye among our characters. It’s all up to Jarrod and his fellow jurors to decide upon a common reality, in a world where the naive young kid is constantly pigeonholed and profiled.

Hazem Shammas as Farrad

Farrad craves acceptance, slaving over a stove to bring sweets from his native homeland into the jury room. Unfortunately, nobody goes for them, citing allergies and making polite excuses. A rideshare driver and recent migrant to Australia, Farrad has been overlooked in many aspects of his new life. His quiet presence on the jury raises probing questions about who gets a say in Australia, and the minute ways in which minorities are accepted or dismissed.

Catherine Van Davies as Vanessa

The jurors are nervous about revealing their identities to each other at first: except Vanessa, who introduces herself cheerfully as a human being rather than some anonymous number. She’s boldly defiant of bureaucracy, and might be able to hone in on the truth about Kate and Claire better that way. Vanessa is visibly annoyed at the other jurors for chalking the case up to some sinister “lesbian sex gone wrong”, a queer woman who can find the nuance and cultural context in Kate’s superficially dark artwork. But as we learn more about Vanessa’s secrets and insecurities, will she end up just as biased as any of her 11 peers?

You’ll have to watch The Twelve to find out, exclusively screening on Foxtel: because really, who are we to judge?