TV

Soldiers return from war with a devastating secret in Fighting Season

Meet the cast of the new show

By Tamara Cullen

Among the dry, barren lands of Afghanistan in 2010, a war is raging. Five Australian soldiers have embarked on a dangerous and unsanctioned mission to find their missing comrades. But in the dead of night, they suddenly find themselves ambushed.

Bombs explode around them and the Taliban fighters let loose a hail of bullets from afar. Amid the deafening gunfire and dense blanket of smoke, Captain Ted Nordenfelt (Ewen Leslie) orders his unit to retreat.

The men scramble to safety as another explosive detonates. But as the men withdraw, one of their own loses his life.

When the soldiers return home, there's one question on everyone's lips: how did the mission go so wrong?

That's the intriguing premise of new Aussie drama, Fighting Season, where the gravity of war, and what really happened one fateful day, will haunt the men long after they've come home.

Fighting Season.
Fighting Season.

In the first episode, team leader Sergeant Sean "Speedo" Collins (Jay Ryan), Corporal Peter "Pepsi" Aboud (Julian Maroun) and privates Jarrod Vogel (George Pullar) and Isara'elu "Izzy" Uleli (Marco Alosio) arrive in Australia.

They're welcomed as heroes. But as they mourn the loss of a friend, it becomes apparent there's more to the story than the men are letting on.

Sergeant Collins insists the soldiers get their stories straight, leading viewers to believe he has something to hide. Jay hints the "unravelling of events" will cause tension among the troops and propel them to the depths of despair.

"The soldiers live in army housing, so everyone is incredibly close," Jay, 37, tells TV WEEK. "The soldier was our neighbour, friend and confidante. So it becomes very complicated and the events go well beyond just a military death."

Captain Ted Nordenfelt.
Captain Ted Nordenfelt.

Meanwhile, Izzy, still injured and "able to remember only snippets of what happened", is struggling to agree with the story of events. He knows someone is lying – but who?

Izzy isn't the only one who suspects a cover-up. Ted's wife Kim (Kate Mulvany) senses something isn't being said.

"When she hears whispers of a conspiracy, she tries to work out exactly what happened and who is to blame," Kate, 40, explains.

For Sean, the harrowing experience is compounded by his fractured home life. His wife Vanessa (Sarah Armanious) and their son Zac (Zack Grech) are struggling to adjust to his return.

"Every time Sean comes home, there's always a transition period where he has to get back into family life," Jay explains.

"That's the first jolt. Then the trauma of the war begins to surface and it gets incredibly hard for them."

Sarah adds that, despite all efforts, their connection is waning.

"When we meet Vanessa, she's struggling to take the reins when Sean is on deployment, and then having to share them when he's back," she says. "She also wants him to let her in."

Army wives Vanessa and Kim.
Army wives Vanessa and Kim.

Elsewhere, Jarrod and Pepsi attempt to stow away their pain by partying and making reckless decisions.

But as the returned servicemen adapt to normal life back in Australia, the questions of who they are, who they can trust and what really happened will torment them.

Is the enemy among them?

Get to know the cast of Fighting Season below.

Sgt Sean “Speedo” Collins (JAY RYAN)

Sgt Sean "Speedo" Collins
Sgt Sean "Speedo" Collins

The second-in-command is burdened by personal heartache after the events in Afghanistan − and a secret that could change everything.

Captain Ted Nordenfelt (EWEN LESLIE) & Kim Nordenfelt (KATE MULVANY)

Kim Nordenfelt and Captain Ted Nordenfelt
Kim Nordenfelt and Captain Ted Nordenfelt

Loved by his wife Kim, daughter Maya (Milly Alcock) and his unit, Ted is also a much-respected soldier. But is he all he seems?

Kim (above left) is dedicated to the regiment − and out to seek justice for the soldier who died.

Private Jarrod Vogel (GEORGE PULLAR)

Private Jarrod Vogel
Private Jarrod Vogel

Instead of a career in academia, as his parents had hoped, Jarrod joined the Army. Now he's struggling to find purpose at home.

Corporal Peter “Pepsi” Aboud (Julian Maroun)

Corporal Peter "Pepsi" Aboud
Corporal Peter "Pepsi" Aboud

The party boy of the platoon finds any reason to bury his pain – but at his peril.

Private Isara’elu “Izzy” Uleli (Marco Alosio)

Private Isara'elu "Izzy" Uleli
Private Isara'elu "Izzy" Uleli

The family man struggles to fulfil his dad's expectations, while trying to recall what happened in Afghanistan.

Fighting Season airs Sunday, 8.30pm (AEDT), on FOX Showcase

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