Undercover - Wednesday 12 March, 9.30pm on TV1

What is the price of living a lie? Undercover, a three-part local documentary series, explores the human cost of the controversial New Zealand Police Undercover Programme, as told by former agents.

In 1974, the New Zealand Police created its most effective weapon yet – the undercover police officer. Tasked with living as an insider deep within the criminal world, these agents would make friends with society’s lawbreakers – drug dealers, thieves, murderers and gang members – in order to secure enough evidence to convict. Successful operations would result in hundreds of convictions.

But for many agents, life in the criminal underworld became addictive. The challenges that undercover cops face have provided material for countless movies and TV dramas. The real stories are just as gripping.

Undercover goes behind the headlines to find out what it’s really like to work as an undercover agent. These are tales from the criminal underworld as told by the people who lived in it – and living a lie among dangerous criminals is not for the faint-hearted.

The series features candid interviews with former agents and their operators, as well as dramatic stylisations of key events. These are stories of friendships made and broken, betrayals, frustrations – and the agents’ ultimate dedication to catching criminals.

Agents’ stories range from those of disillusionment and dissatisfaction at the role of the New Zealand Police, to those for whom the Undercover Programme was the pinnacle of their careers, and who still believe sending agents undercover is the only way to catch some of our most wanted criminals.

“Making the show has been an incredible insight into the reality of living a lie. Many of the stories we have heard have surprised and shocked us,” says producer Alex Clark.

“But in all the stories, we have been inspired by the tremendous courage and strength these individuals showed to a cause they often had stopped believing in. It’s a privilege to be able to bring these stories to the TV ONE audience.”

Episode one explores the early years of undercover work in New Zealand, when the focus was the rapidly rising drug problem.

Wednesday 12 March, 9.30pm on TV1

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