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New characters shake things up

Craig McLachlan in Rescue Special Ops.
Craig McLachlan in Rescue Special Ops. Contributed

NEW characters are shaking things up in the third series of Rescue Special Ops.

Last week, the action packed new series began with a massive bush rescue, when the elite rescue team had to join forces with new rivals – the privately owned rescue outfit Lifeblood.

The company is run by Hayden Bradley, (played by Craig McLachlan) and features brash young team leader Cam (played by Todd Lassance).

The role is a highlight for McLachlan, who had his eyes on the show since it debuted in 2009.

“I love the show and I'm not just saying that because I'm in it now,” he said.

“In fact, the day I flew in from Hong Kong and I saw a billboard for this new show called Rescue Special Ops in Sydney, I thought ‘if I was back in Australia for long enough I'd love to do that'.

“One of those things about 20-plus years working in TV is very rarely do I look at promo for TV and say ‘geez that looks good'.”

It's a chance for McLachlan to get away from the “jokey, happy, loveable” guy next door he is known for playing in soapies Home and Away, Neighbours and McLeod's Daughters – and to sink his teeth into more than a one-off guest role.

“This is one of these occasions I get cast in a role that's a little darker, a little more complex, where the agenda of the character isn't clearly known. I just relish it,” he said.

“The thing about this guy, too, is we're not sure if he's just that kind of cool, confident kind of guy or an out and out prick. Some episodes leave you thinking that's the way he is professionally, which is actually okay – only for the next episode to leave the audiences going ‘he's an ass'.”

But unfortunately, as the head of Lifeblood, he doesn't get to see much of the action.

“Knowing that I was joining the show, I spent a little longer in the gym than I perhaps normally would – a few extra reps here, a few extra pounds on the bench press,” he said.

“I got the guns pumped only to discover (with) all that abseiling and rock climbing, I do none of it! I can't even show off the bod (laughs). They keep me covered chin to ankle. That will perhaps delight some of the audience – and perhaps it will disappoint some other members of the audience. They leave all that stuff to Les Hill and the team.”

But there is a bit of attraction simmering between McLachlan's character and rescue boss Michelle (played by Libby Tanner).

“What was a lot of fun to play was the fact that there was also an interesting competitiveness between them,” he said.

“Hayden is setting up this private rescue operation – and this guy comes on the scene and seems to have all the answers and politicians in his pocket. Beyond whatever physical attraction is simmering between them, there's also – at the end of the day – competitiveness between them.”

In tonight's double episode, Rescue is forced to call in the Lifeblood chopper to help with two rescues – one in a foggy ravine, the other on a cliff ledge.

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