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Series Synopsis

This was the first big historical drama to be made after the controversy over the cost of The Governor almost a decade earlier. Over seven episodes — set between 1895 and 1914 — it followed the life of Dunedin barrister Alf Hanlon, focussing on six of his most important cases. British actor David Gwillim played Hanlon while Australian Robyn Nevin was cast as convicted baby murderer Minnie Dean in the series’ first and most celebrated episode. A major critical, ratings and awards success, it immediately recouped its budget when the Minnie Dean episode spurred a big international sale


Series Notes

This is the series overview page, here you can find which episodes or clips are available on NZ On Screen.


Produced by



1986 International Emmy Awards (United States) 
Nominated (one of three) for Best Overseas Drama

1986 GOFTA Awards
Best Drama Programme: Hanlon - In Defence of Minnie Dean (Episode One)
Best Director: Wayne Tourell, for In Defence of Minnie Dean
Best Writer, Drama: Ken Catran, for In Defence of Minnie Dean
Best Male Performance in a Dramatic Role : David Gwillim
Best Female Performance in a Dramatic Role: Robyn Nevin for In Defence of Minnie Dean
Best Original Music: Terry Gray

Nominated for Best Drama (Episode Six, In Defence of Shue Hock, Episode Six