The Mission on SBS – The Mission is a brand-new documentary series that sees Walkley Award-winning journalist Marc Fennell (The Kingdom, Framed) embark on a global treasure hunt to piece together one of the largest and strangest art heists in Australian criminal history.
The three-part series premieres at 8.30pm Tuesday, 24 October on SBS and SBS On Demand.The series builds on Marc Fennell’s recent SBS successes, including this year’s The Kingdom which broke the top 10 most watched TV shows in the OzTAM 7 Day VPM rankingsand Framed which became SBS’s most successful online-focused original commission following its release on SBS on Demand in 2021.
The Mission transports viewers back four decades to the heady days of the mid-1980s to unpack a confounding true crime mystery that saw 26 European masterpieces – thought to be valued at millions of dollars – brutally slashed out of their frames at the art gallery of the New Norcia Monastery in the West Australian wheat belt, leaving detectives baffled.
What were these “European masterpieces” doing in a bush monastery?
Why was such a complicated art heist left to a bunch of amateurs? And who was the hidden hand behind the audacious plot to smuggle the paintings out of the country?Starting his investigation at the scene of the crime – an unassuming Spanish monastery tucked away in the dusty WA outback – Marc’s search for answers to these questions takes him all the way to the bustling streets of New York City, London, old town Manila and a presidential palace.
Along the way Marc will unearth previously unseen court documents and new evidence, as he meets a rogues’ gallery of the leading players caught up in what was an extraordinarily ambitious and comically flawed heist.
The Mission delves into the nation’s hidden parallel histories and crimes far greater than any art heist. From an infamous overseas political plunder to a dark historic legacy that still haunts both New Norcia and modern Australia – this is also a story about stolen futures and stolen lives.
Presenter and Producer Marc Fennell said,
“The moment you step foot on the grounds of New Norcia you sense – almost immediately – that you are stepping into history. The Mission is the epicentre of multiple crimes committed over generations that range from the farcical to the downright evil.”
“Director Corrin Grant and I first started talking about this story when we were finishing up Framed and I don’t think either of us realised that it would take us all the way to the chaotic streets of Manila or right to the front door of the Trump building in New York. The tendrils of this story reach all around the globe. But their roots lie in some of the darkest chapters of our own nation.”
Blending incredible archival footage and dramatised recreations, The Mission is a must-watch for true crime connoisseurs, history and art aficionados and documentary lovers, further cementing Marc Fennell as one of Australia’s most exciting documentary hitmakers.
The Mission will be subtitled in five languages, streaming on SBS On Demand in Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.
Media Release – SBS
TV Central SBS content HERE
The Mission on SBS