Aaron McGrath's performance in Redfern Now is a revelation.
Teen actor Aaron McGrath is the linchpin of this terrific instalment from the consistently impressive suite of short dramas set around Sydney's indigenous heartland. His guarded, watchful performance as Joel, a shy Aboriginal boy who's won a scholarship to a private school, is a revelation for its restraint and subtlety.
This week's script has an intriguing premise: should Aboriginal students be obliged to sing the national anthem at school? The parents and teachers tease out the issue. What's wrong with the song? Can a student embrace the education at a school yet reject its traditions? Does honour trump opportunity?
Buried is a sly critique of indigenous scholarships. Do they really close the gap, as the iron-faced principal argues, or just offer a sop to elite schools' billboards of values?
ABC News, ABC1, 7pm
While 7pm seems like the most civilised time to catch up with the television news bulletin - after dinner, before the big shows start - it's a vexed time for a breaking news organisation to go live: an hour after its commercial television competitors and just before 7.30, a show that breaks many of the major stories of the day under the aegis of its executive producer Sally Neighbour. The daily bulletin isn't getting the loving showcase online that Auntie lavishes on its current affairs programs, either: all the news for radio, TV and online is merged together on the one site.
The news teams at Ten, Nine and Seven are struggling as their executives deliver bad news. Meanwhile, ABC News delivers a reliable, rigorous and professional package that demonstrates that the quality of the news bulletin is not related to the level of promotion its talent receives.
Beyond its anchors' genial presentation, there's the solid, sharp multimedia work of local reporters and foreign correspondents. Because ABC News will tackle stories that do not offer punch-ups, fires or stern police press conferences, they've also developed a knack for slick, strong infographics.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Ten, 8.30pm
Isn't it a pity this Law & Order franchise isn't SUV instead of SVU? Imagine Benson chasing down the drivers of suburban utility vehicles for their double-parking, tailgating, road-hogging crimes. Instead, we get 13 series devoted to the nastiest assaults on women the writers can ''rip from the headlines''.
This episode's mystery muddles both its motivation and its follow-through. The writers waft some gravitas around but it's hard to suspend disbelief between the ad breaks.
Meanwhile, Benson's long-lost brother Simon shows up. He's a family man now, he tells his sister. Well, he would be if the kids weren't in foster care. This plot has some dramatic heft, allowing a couple to be both loving and inept, while their lawyer, played by regular guest star Andre Braugher, isn't above playing the race card to score a win.