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Locked Up With Wentworth

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Searching for something to binge-watch now that Orange Is The New Black is on hiatus? Look no further than the drama series, Wentworth, an award-winning Australian show produced by Jo Porter and Amanda Crittenden.

Wentworth only airs live on Australian television stations, but if viewers aren’t quite dedicated enough to make the trip down under to catch the show on TV, it can be found on Netflix.

The series focuses on Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack), who finds herself behind bars for the attempted murder of her abusive husband, Harry (Jake Ryan). Upon her incarceration, Bea is immediately thrust into the harsh prison dynamic and forced to quickly learn the ropes in order to survive.

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Wentworth still. Photo credit: Amanda Nugent Jones

One of the first cellmates Bea encounters is the wildly power-hungry Franky Doyle (Nicole Da Silva), whose manipulative and relentless personality causes turmoil for anyone who stands between her and ultimate reign over Wentworth prison. Throughout the first season she is neck and neck with her biggest rival, Jacs Holt (Kris McQuade), who has a large team of allies both inside and outside the prison. Franky stops at nothing to rise above the mighty Jacs, and many other characters are unwillingly dragged into their race to the top and used as tools of destruction. Though Bea tries her best the avoid trouble, things get personal when Jacs threatens Bea’s teenage daughter, Debbie (Georgia Flood). Bea then immerses herself in the fight for supremacy as she tries to take down Jacs and protect Debbie.

The drama at Wentworth never subsides. Any given episode is bound to contain a violent confrontation, major plot twist or character death. Wentworth does not shy away from brutality, and nearly every character has a captivating darkness about them that keeps viewers hooked. It can be difficult to decide which character to root for, as someone who seemed like an honest and reformed prisoner one day can be a bloodthirsty assailant the next. Stabbing guards with Hepatitis-infected needles, crushing fingers in exercise equipment, locking fellow inmates in dryers and kidnapping are just a few of the intense events that occur in the gripping three-season series. Alliances and rivalries are constantly formed and broken, and the relationship between Franky and Bea thrillingly fluctuates between a sister-like bond and a merciless competition for the spot of “Top Dog.”

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Nicole de Silva as Franky Doyle. Photo credit: Ben King

In addition to constant fights and attacks, scandal rocks Wentworth prison and dark secrets are exposed regularly, each one more shocking than the former. The head of the institution, Joan Ferguson (Pamela Rabe) first appears as a stern but effective leader. However, viewers quickly learn of Joan’s sinister intentions which stem from her disturbing past. As if this wasn’t enough, an inmate is pregnant and her baby’s future is in grave danger, there is an influx of drugs coming into the prison from an unidentifiable source and a staff member is dead and their killer runs free. Every episode is mind-blowing and boredom is simply unheard of while watching this series.

Wentworth is a shocking, scandalous, edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps viewers hooked with each episode. The quality never lapses and even when viewers think they’ve seen it all, Wentworth goes above and beyond to create an episode even more enticing than the last. Viewers won’t want to finish the series too quickly though: Season 4 doesn’t come out until 2016 and each day without Wentworth will feel like a life sentence.

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