What does it take to tell that first lie? How does it feel to be up against some of the world's most well-known criminals? Can you ever switch off from being an agent?
Going Under explores the early years of undercover work in New Zealand, when the focus was the rapidly rising drug problem.
Going Under tells the stories of key agents from the innocent early days, and includes former police chief and MP Rana Waitai, who worked undercover in the mid-60s. Waitai describes his humorous sting on a notorious Auckland brothel madam, long before the start of organised national undercover operations.
For most, this was their first exposure to drugs. Despite being largely untrained and unprepared, these agents secured hundreds of convictions, including Mr Asia's key couriers.
"Nobody ever considered that undercover police existed, I could have probably bought drugs anywhere." (Ex-agent)
But life on the inside was not easy, particularly after 'termination day' - the day when the undercover operation ended and the busts were made. One agent, Tony Bouchier (now a lawyer), tells about how he had to go into hiding after angry drug dealers took a 'hit' out on him.
And living a lie changes a person. Archetypal all-rounder and golden boy Patrick O'Brien tells about his drastic deterioration as a result of his undercover work.
Like the agents themselves, the Undercover Programme was in its
infancy. Going Under takes us back to those early
days of undercover policing and the lessons that had to be learnt
for the programme to survive.
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