We are living in an age where policitians and used car salesmen are interchangable
Charles Cassidy (Bill Hunter) ex-Premier of New South Wales, now living in London, contacts his estranged family - ex-wife, daughter Charlie (Caroline Goodall) and grandson, Josh, after a ten year absence, to a cold reception. Cassidy is a scoundrel, a man of power and wealth who has gotten away with years of scandalous behaviour, which Charlie seems completely ignorant of. All she knows is that he left her and her mother. After a visit to church to confess his sins and a visit to see the grandson he has never seen, Cassidy commits suicide.
Charlie returns home to Sydney to begin the business of sorting out Cassidy's affairs to find the man she thought she knew as her father was a mystery to her and all around him. On the day after Cassidy's death she receives a video tape from her dead father with a message requesting she be the executor of his estate - something around $10 million. But there's a catch. She will have to delve into the seedy underworld her father existed in for the better part of his career. The video tape reveals a secret business partner named Marius Melville who Cassidy explains may be willing to buy the entire Cassidy 'legacy' and give Charlie the money from what has obviously been some nasty dealings throughout Cassidy's career. Or Charlie has the option of giving the entire estate to the Attorney General and wiping the slate clean. But it is her choice.
On the flight home to Australia, Charlie meets James Griffin (Martin Shaw) an attractive business man who runs a luxury hotel chain and seems geniunely interested in her.
In a series of flashbacks we begin to understand the relationship Charlie has had with her father - as a little girl, as a pregnant young woman who refuses to marry the father of her child - Sam East (Philip Quast). On a visit to the former family estate, Charlie meets Ti who has been 'close' to her father for 12 years. Charlie explores the house she knew as a child, memories flooding back. In her father's safe, Charlie finds cash, gold, a gun, drugs and pornographic photos of some very public figures. Shocked by this discovery, she goes on to find that Ti and her father were lovers and that Ti's daughter Rose is actually Charlie's half sister.
Charlie goes to see Sam to seek his advice and enlist his help. Sam is very cool, very polite and adamant about NOT having Joshua in his life - Joshua's appearance rattles him considerably - but he still refuses to help Charlie find out the truth about her father.
Poring over the computer records, Charlie discovers a mysterious off-shore company owned by her father which seems to have made a LOT of money for him and Marius Melville continues to call Charlie with generous offers for her father's records - something in the amount of $20 million.
Cassidy is to be given a state funeral, the new Premier and Arthur Loomis, the Attorney General (Edwin Hodgeman) arrange for Charlie to meet then and discuss the funeral arrangements. They appear to have a secret agenda - they would like to see Cassidy's records too. Charlie gives them nothing.
In a sudden change of heart after the funeral, Sam asks to spend the day with Joshua. James takes advantage of the situation to take Charlie to dinner.
A meeting between Charlie and Ti results in the two women being chased through the docks by an armed man - and Ti's murder. The police take the opportunity to attempt to find out more information about Cassidy's dealings from Charlie, but she refuses - Sam coming to the rescue.
Further enquiries into Cassidy's files reveal an intricate network of secret business dealings and hidden bank accounts.
Dropping Charlie at the airport, Sam reveals that he is still in love with her and wants her back. Charlie doesn't answer him, Sam is left wondering.
Charlie travels to Hong Kong to meet with Melville - and James appears in the limo on the way back to the hotel where he reveals he is Melville's son. Charlie is furious at his deception, but appears to forgive him when he reveals that he has fallen in love with her.
Charlie meets with Ti's father in Hong Kong - a man somewhat connected with the equivalent of the Chinese mafia, set on avenging his daughter's death. A further meeting with Melville reveals more of Cassidy's dark past to Charlie and she begins to make her decision. Melville is assassinated by the Chinese mafia and Charlie ups the price of Cassidy's share of the business to $30 million, then tells James that she is not selling the business. She will turn the information over to the authorities.
Charlie goes home, dignity, conscience and integrity intact and Sam and Josh meet her at the airport in Sydney. Charlie, memories of her father finally at rest, realises that she does want to live happily ever after with Sam and Josh. So she does.
Review by Elizabeth
The 80s in Australia were like the 80s in most Western societies. There was an excess of wealth, power and people playing games. Cassidy is an illustration of that period in Sydney's history where power, money and greed changed the politics of a nation - without the nation being aware of the seedy underbelly of crime that lurked below the surface. Caroline Goodall gives an empathetic performance as Charlie Cassidy, a woman torn between the father she thought she knew, the life of leisure she once lead and a web of deceit, lies and treachery she is being drawn into. Martin Shaw is particularly charismatic as the man who attempts to seduce her into that world and Philip Quast is very touching as her ex-lover and the father of her child, Sam East.
But although the 80s were a time of wealth and good times in the Australian business world, they certainly weren't in the Australian television industry. Cassidy's plot is thin and hard to follow, the scenes are weakly directed, the dialogue is tediously slow-moving. Caroline and Martin are the only real standouts in what was potentially a strong Australian cast, with fine Aussie actors like Quast, Steve Jacobs, Edwin Hodgeman and Tracy Mann. If you are interested in watching Cassidy for the purpose of all things Quast, I suggest you lean really heavily on the fastforward button...