If ever there was a thought-provoking, hard-hitting drama that you should watch, Stateless would be it. Created and co-starring Cate Blanchett, this is an Australian limited series that focuses on the lives of four strangers that converge at an immigration detention centre.
Inspired by a true story, at least one of the characters is based on a real-life person. That is Sophie Werner (Yvonne Strahovski). An Australian citizen, Sophie (based on the story of Cornelia Rau), is a young woman whose mental fragility is demonstrated from the outset. With over-bearing parents and a life she hates, she turns to a cult-style organisation for respite. However, after a traumatic incident, Sophie's parents commit her to an institution from which she escapes, only to be picked up by border police. From there she pretends to be German and finds herself at Barton Detention centre, awaiting deportation.
Alongside Sophie at Barton is Ameer (Fayssal Bazzi), an Afghan refugee who has made the perilous journey, via Pakistan, to Australia with his wife and two daughters. Their story is one of despair as they risk everything for the promise of a better life. But when Ameer's plans go badly wrong he finds himself in an impossible situation at Barton.
Barton Detention centre is managed by Clare Kowitz (Asher Keddie from Offspring). New to the job she has more or less been thrown into the deep end by Immigration Services. Despite being tasked with getting the centre under control, the bureaucracy between the Government department and the security contractors who look after the day-to-day is never-ending. Clearly there are problems but Clare just can't get a handle on them, testing her resolve more and more as time goes on.
Lastly, there is Cam Stamford (Jai Courtney), a happily married man with three young kids. With well-paid jobs scarce in the area, he takes a security guard position at Barton. His initial happy go lucky, helpful demeanour is soon worn away by the difficulties of the job, spilling over into his home life.
With only six episodes, there is a lot to pack in and while all four stories are very well told, the show isn't rushed. In fact, it's paced slow enough to let you absorb the horrors that all four are facing both personally and professionally. Be warned though, as objective as Stateless tries to be, there is no getting away from the fact that somewhere along the line we have lost a bit of our humanity. Honestly, it's all just a bit heart-breaking, just like Stateless.