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The Brokenwood Mysteries (Series 1 & 2)
The Brokenwood Mysteries Series One      “An unconventional and seasoned
  city cop arrives in the sleepy town of
  Brokenwood, a farming community
  where the tranquillity hides the
  townspeople’s secrets and murder lies
  just below the surface in the hit New
  Zealand crime drama The Brokenwood

BROKENWOOD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME when maverick Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) comes to town. Driving a classic 1971 Holden Kingswood car and playing cassette tapes of country music in the hit New Zealand crime drama The Brokenwood Mysteries, the new senior detective with his offbeat method of investigating might take some getting used to!

The apparently sleepy farming town is about to experience Mike's special brand of detective work as he pitches straight in to a murder investigation along with Detective Kristin Sims (Fern Sutherland) and Sam Breen (Nic Sampson). A man's body is discovered in a river in the first episode of Series One, Blood & Water, which sees Mike involved with the case and existing senior detective Gary McCloud (Mark Clare) leaving the police force due to ill health.

“The Brokenwood
Mysteries are quirky
and original;
compulsive and
viewing that delivers
the goods at a swift pace.
This superb series
never loses its way...”
Dwayne Dunn (Marc Pritchard) gives his father Nate (Chris Sherwood) a lift home, before apparently going to see girlfriend Sally (Shoshana McCallum). When he returned home, he says, he thought his father was in bed. As Mike investigates the death Kristin is astounded by his unique approach, although he always gets his man.

Although Gary is convinced Nate committed suicide, Mike thinks he was murdered and sets about finding the killer. Could it be connected to the death of Nate's wife Evelyn (Sophie Henderson) in a hit-and-run ten years earlier?

Gary was unable to find the culprit at the time but Mike questions both Dwayne and Evelyn's sister, Jacinta O'Connor (Gillian Baxter). Mike also catches up with mystery woman Tania Freeman (Miriama McDowell) and meets his Maori neighbour Jared Morehu (Pana Hema Taylor).

In Episode Two, Sour Grapes, the local wine society has invited well-known wine critic Paul Winterson (Alistair Browning) to judge the best wine. Every year Amanda James (Jo Davison) wins; but judges Paul and Erin (Amanda Rees) find her wine disgusting, instead awarding the prize to Julian Bright (Peter Elliott). Amanda claims her wine has been tampered with and later Paul is found drowned in one of her wine vats. Among the suspects is failing winemaker Dominic Nicholl (Phil Spencer-Huris). Who will be next?

Mike, who has a strange habit of talking to the deceased, has interesting conversations with quirky Russian chief medical examiner Dr Gina Kadinsky (Cristina Serban Ionda), who struggles to understand Mike's "English" sense of humour.

Episode Three, Play The Line, begins with Allison Stone (Roz Turnbull) checking a shed on the Brokenwood golf course that has been broken into. She is attacked with a dangerous substance that disfigures and kills her. Mike, Kristin and Sam investigate.

Episode Four, Hunting The Stag, sees three friends spend a stag night at a log cabin in the woods from where they intend to hunt. However, the groom-to-be is shot dead — was one of his friends responsible?

The Brokenwood Mysteries Series Two   The Second Series has another four thoroughly enjoyable episodes, beginning with Leather And Lace, the investigation of a dead man, rugby coach Arnie (Phil Vaughan), found naked and tied to a goal post with part of a rugby ball covering his face. The discovery of a young woman's body in woodland, close to her abandoned car, may be connected to the case.

Episode Two, To Die Or Not To Die sees the local amateur dramatics society staging Hamlet, when the lead actor, Ben Faulkner (Nick Davies) is poisoned. Is his death linked to his romance with fellow thespian Juliet (Holly Hudson) or is professional jealousy a motivation?

In Catch Of The Day, the third episode, Jared makes a grisly discovery while surfing when he pulls a crayfish cage containing a man's severed hand. Mike's investigations make a possible link with the death of a fisherman, Des Keely (Ken Reinsfield), who died in a boat explosion in which his daughter Liza (Kate McGill) was scarred. Was Des Keely murdered or was it really just a terrible accident?

In the fourth episode, Blood Pink, young country music singer Holly Collins (Bronwen Turei) is found electrocuted by her guitar in the bath after announcing she was leaving New Zealand for Nashville and then spending the evening with band member Waylon Strings (Jordan Mauger). An ambiguous note is written in lipstick, giving rise to speculation that she committed suicide; but was it some sort of accident — or could it have been murder?

Using unconventional methods that include at times talking to the dearly departed, Detective Mike Shepherd wades in and quickly uncovers all manner of shenanigans down under in the fictional town of Brokenwood, where murders seem as thick on the ground as they are in Britain's Midsomer. The Brokenwood Mysteries are quirky and original; compulsive and sometimes tongue-in-cheek viewing that delivers the goods at a swift pace. This superb series never loses its way.

The Brokenwood Mysteries also features: Miriama McDowell as Tanya; Phil Peleton as Neil Bloom; Elizabeth McRae as Mrs Marlow; Abi Blanchett as Police Officer; Jason Hoyte as Ray Neilson; Jodie Rimmer as Librarian Gloria Ginsberg; Roy Ward as Rev Lucas Greene; Philip Spencer Harris as Dominic Nichol; Karl Willetts as Frodo; and Shane Cortese as Dennis Buchanan.

Composer is Joel Haines; Series Music by Joel Haines, Jay Neilson and Tammy Neilson; Cinematography by Rewa Harre; Producer is Chris Bailey; Writers are: Philip Dalkin and Tim Balme with Greg McGee, James Griffin and Nick Ward; Director is Mike Smith with Joshua Frizzell and Michael Hurst.

Featuring a soulful country music soundtrack to match its rural setting, each disc features four stand-alone stories of The Brokenwood Mysteries Series One and The Brokenwood Mysteries Series Two, released on DVD in the UK as two separate two-disc box sets on 14 August 2017.

The Brokenwood Mysteries Series One: Certificate: 12 | Running Time: 399 Minutes Approximately on Two Discs | Catalogue Number: AV3359 | RRP: £19.99.

The Brokenwood Mysteries Series Two: Certificate: 12 | Running Time: 352 Minutes Approximately on Two Discs | Catalogue Number: AV3360 | RRP: £19.99.

"The Brokenwood Mysteries are quirky and original; compulsive and sometimes tongue-in-cheek viewing that delivers the goods at a swift pace. This superb series never loses its way"
**** — Maggie Woods, MotorBar

"A hotbed for unrelated grisly deaths… harmless fun" — Radio Times

"A New Zealand Midsomer Murders" — The Guardian