What does it take to tell that first lie? How does it feel to be up against some of the world’s most well-known criminals? Can you ever switch off from being an agent?
Undercover: Going Under – Episode One of the Gibson Group’s compelling three-part documentary series – explores the early years of undercover work in New Zealand, when the focus was the rapidly rising drug problem.
Using candid interviews with former agents and their operators, along with dramatic stylisations of key stories, Undercover: Going Under reveals what it really means to work as an undercover agent.
"Good agents become criminals – that’s how they work." (Ex-agent). Undercover: Going Under tells the stories of several key early agents, two whose experiences pre-dated the official Undercover Programme, including former police chief, turned MP Rana Waitai who worked as an undercover agent in the mid-60s. For most, this was their first exposure to drugs. Despite being largely untrained and unprepared, these agents secured hundreds of convictions, including Mr Asia’s key couriers. "Nobody ever considered that undercover police existed, I could have probably brought drugs anywhere.” (Ex-agent). But life on the inside was not easy, particularly after ‘termination day’ – the day when the undercover operation ended and the busts were made. One agent, Tony Bouchier (now a lawyer), tells about how he had to go into hiding after angry drug dealers took a ‘hit’ out on him. And living a lie changes a person. Archetypal all-rounder and golden boy Patrick O’Brien tells about his drastic deterioration as a result of his undercover work. Like the agents themselves, the Undercover Programme was in its infancy. Undercover: Going Under takes us back to those early days of undercover policing and the lessons that had to be learnt for the programme to survive.