Palmerston North, 1986. It was a summer of brown polyester, of Rogernomics, of Dave Dobbyn featuring Herbs. It was a summer... of murder.
As a travel agent, Gary Wimer sells holidays to the small town, nouveau-riche, upper middle class of the lower middle North Island, whom he loathes and envies in equal measure. As a borderline sociopath with access to travel dates and home addresses, he breaks into their houses while they vacation and vicariously luxuriates in their beige shag pile and faux wood-panelled semi-opulence, while also combing every draw, cabinet and attic for dirty secrets that he can use for his true vocation: blackmail.
Gary’s getting reasonably adept at blackmail, but he bores easily – he wants to push himself into the danger zone, which was a current reference in 1986.
Peter Granity is an actor, and host of educational children’s television show "Learn Along Live at 12:45", which for legal reasons we can’t just call Play School. It’s basically Play School.
Frustration, fear and guilt roil beneath Peter’s telegenic smile. He has a terrible secret: five years ago he killed his gay lover during a heated argument after the men were involved in a hit and run. He’s a dangerous man; he’s also about to take a holiday.
To Gary, Peter seems the perfect target. He finds intimate photos of him with his ex-lover, and – believing that he is simply threatening to out him as gay – begins to blackmail him. Intoxicated by the idea of having complete control over a man with a live TV show, Gary takes his blackmail in creative and ambitious new directions.
These two dangerous cowards become locked into a bitter battle of wills; like two drowning spiders scrambling at each other as they circle a plughole, the increasingly desperate pair is drawn inexorably towards the violent and unforgettable finale of this darkly comic noir thriller.