The Brokenwood Mysteries

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The Brokenwood Mysteries
Brokenwood.jpg
Filming of the second episode of Series 2, at Helensville
Genre
Directed by
  • Mike Smith
  • Josh Frizzell
  • Michael Hurst
  • Murray Keane[1]
Starring
Country of origin New Zealand
Original language(s) English
No. of series 4
No. of episodes 16 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Kelly Martin
  • John Barnett
[1]
Producer(s) Chris Bailey[1]
Production location(s) Warkworth and Helensville
Running time 90-99 minutes
Production company(s) South Pacific Pictures
Distributor All3Media
Release
Original network Prime
Original release 28 September 2014 – present
External links
Website

The Brokenwood Mysteries is a New Zealand detective, drama television series that premiered on Prime in 2014.[2] The program is set in the fictitious New Zealand town of Brokenwood and was filmed in the greater Auckland region.[1] Tim Balme conceived the series and is lead writer with Philip Dalkin, James Griffin and Greg McGee.[1] In December 2014, it was confirmed that The Brokenwood Mysteries would return for a four-episode second season set to premiere in 2015.[3] NZ on Air approved funding of NZ$4.3 million for the first season,[4] NZ$4 million for the second season[5] and NZ$4.1 million for third season.[6] The show was renewed for a fourth series in 2017,[7] and a fifth season in 2018.

The cast includes Neill Rea as Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd, Fern Sutherland as Detective Constable Kristin Sims, Pana Hema Taylor as Jared Morehu, Shepherd's Maori neighbour, Nic Sampson as Detective Constable Sam Breen and Cristina Ionda as Dr. Gina Kadinsky, medical examiner.

Critical response to the series has been mixed. Many reviewers have been impressed by the plots, but lament the occasionally hokey dialogue. Some have criticised the two-hour length, which includes ads, as being too long for such a series.

A fourth season was announced on 12 December 2016,[8] and aired 29 October 2017. [9] The series funding has been renewed for a fifth season as well. [10]

Synopsis[edit]

Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd is sent from Auckland to Brokenwood to investigate a local police officer. With a possible murder investigation underway that might link the two Shepherd takes charge. After the investigation Shepherd reassesses his life and decides to stay on indefinitely, even though it means a demotion to Detective Senior Sergeant. Brokenwood is a seemingly quiet country town where Shepherd, who has an unconventional approach to police work, is assisted by local Detective Constable Kristin Sims, who is precise and efficient at her job, to solve murders. As the series progresses the working relationship between the two moves from rocky to functional as they begin to appreciate each other's talents.[11]

Setting[edit]

The fictional town of Brokenwood has a population of about 5000, and is located some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the coast. It is in a farming area, with crops ranging from wheat to viticulture, and the surrounding area is home to many people who have escaped city life (from retirees to alternative lifestylers).[12] Though the exact location of Brokenwood is not stated, it was largely written[13] and filmed in small towns immediately to the north of Auckland. The real-life town of Warkworth doubles as Brokenwood,[14] and the Brokenwood Police Station is a 1911 building that was the Helensville Post Office. In "Sour Grapes", Shepherd and Sims are seen travelling into Auckland across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which would confirm that Brokenwood is also located to the north of the city. In the same episode, it is mentioned that it takes two and a half hours by road to get from Brokenwood to Auckland. This would put Brokenwood considerably further north.[15] A map shown in "Catch of the Day" locates Brokenwood close to the settlement of Langs Beach, at the southern end of Bream Bay.

Cast[edit]

  • Neill Rea as Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd:[16] a detective who decided to settle down in Brokenwood for a more peaceful life. He has many personal secrets, including multiple marriages, and a nephew with Down Syndrome, as well as a love for country music and his vintage car. He often pursues criminals in a way that seems odd to his coworkers.
  • Fern Sutherland as Detective Constable Kristin Sims: a cynical and intelligent young woman who has had many dating misfortunes. She is often rubbed the wrong way by Shepherd's method of doing things and his blunt manner of speaking, but gradually learns to appreciate his skills.
  • Nic Sampson as Detective Constable Sam Breen: a young officer who often has embarrassing or awkward visits with suspects.
  • Cristina Ionda as Dr. Gina Kadinsky: a medical examiner. She is a highly eccentric Russian woman who often talks about how things were in Russia, and doesn't quite understand "the English humour". She appears to be attracted to Shepherd.
  • Pana Hema Taylor as Jared Morehu (Seasons 1–3): Shepherd's Māori neighbour. As a local who has many friends and interests, he often finds himself involved in the murder investigations.

Recurring cast[edit]

  • Colin Moy as Hughes (Season 1–): area police commander and close friend of DSS Shepherd.
  • Elizabeth McRae as Mrs. Jean Marlowe (Season 2–): a kindly older woman who often engages in gossip after a murder.
  • Shane Cortese as Dennis Buchanan (Season 2–): a defence lawyer who often crosses swords with the police.
  • Jason Hoyte as Ray Neilsen (Season 2–): the proprietor of a local pub, and the co-owner of the "Lord of the Ringz" tours.
  • Karl Willetts as Frankie "Frodo" Oades (Season 1–): a former mechanic who later starts his own ice cream vending business.
  • Phil Peleton as Neil Bloom (Season 1–): a local chemist who later becomes the first gay mayor of Brokenwood.
  • Roy Ward as Reverend Lucas Greene (Season 2–3): a local Anglican priest who thinks well of others out of Christian charity.
  • Rawiri Jobe as Kahu Taylor (Season 4–): Jared's brother's cousin and a self-employed plumber.

Guest cast[edit]

Several well-known New Zealand actors and actresses have appeared in episodes of The Brokenwood Mysteries, among them:

Episodes[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1428 September 2014 (2014-09-28)19 October 2014 (2014-10-19)
2427 September 2015 (2015-09-27)18 October 2015 (2015-10-18)
3430 October 2016 (2016-10-30)20 November 2016 (2016-11-20)
4429 October 2017 (2017-10-29)19 November 2017 (2017-11-19)

Series 1 (2014)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateN.Z. viewers
(thousand)
11"Blood and Water"Mike SmithTim Balme & Philip Dalkin28 September 2014 (2014-09-28)191.34[17]
Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd is sent to Brokenwood to investigate the death of a farmer whose body has been found by two local fishermen.
22"Sour Grapes"Josh FrizzellTim Balme5 October 2014 (2014-10-05)131.25[18]
The annual Brokenwood wine show is disrupted when the body of the guest judge, a well-known wine critic, is found dead in a fermentation vat.
33"Playing the Lie"Michael HurstJames Griffin12 October 2014 (2014-10-12)164.59[19]
A morning round of golf for several prominent members of the Brokenwood Golf Club is interrupted when one of the club's organisation committee is found dead in a sand bunker, her face covered in blisters.
44"Hunting the Stag"Mike SmithTim Balme19 October 2014 (2014-10-19)141.98[20]
A stag party in two senses of the word as three friends, one of whom is about to be married, go deer hunting in the bush, but only two return—the groom-to-be having been shot in the head.

Series 2 (2015)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateN.Z. viewers
(thousand)
51"Leather & Lace"Mike SmithNick Ward & Tim Balme27 September 2015 (2015-09-27)116.16[21]
The Brokenwood rugby club's coach is found dead—naked and tied to the goalposts. A second body is soon discovered.
62"To Die or Not to Die"Murray KeaneTim Balme4 October 2015 (2015-10-04)97.16[22]
A cast member in The Brokenwood Theatre Society's production of Hamlet collapses and dies after a performance. But the smell of poison leads Shepherd to believe that he has not "shuffled off this mortal coil" without help.
73"Catch of the Day"Mike SmithGreg McGee11 October 2015 (2015-10-11)109.73[23]
When a severed human hand is discovered in a crayfisherman's catch, Shepherd and his team need to discover whose it is and whether its owner is still alive.
84"Blood Pink"Josh FrizzellTim Balme18 October 2015 (2015-10-18)117.114[24]
A touring musician is found electrocuted in what initially looks to be a suicide. As Shepherd investigates, he finds things are murkier than they first appeared.

Series 3 (2016)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateN.Z. viewers
(thousand)
91"The Black Widower"Mark BeesleyTim Balme30 October 2016 (2016-10-30)N/A
A "Lord of the Ringz" tour comes across the wife of the tour guide, wrapped in fake cobwebs and poisoned with spider venom.
102"Over Her Dead Body"Murray KeaneTim Balme6 November 2016 (2016-11-06)N/A
During the funeral for beloved local poet Declan O'Grady, an unexpected turn of events reveal that his coffin has been occupied by the corpse of an unidentified young woman. As the investigation progresses, Shepherd is led into the murky world of a local Cluedo club.
113"The Killing Machine"Mike SmithGreg McGee13 November 2016 (2016-11-13)N/A
A thief's corpse is found at a local auto repair shop, followed by the murder of the people who worked there. As Shepherd unravels the case, he realizes that the real crime may not be anything as pedestrian as theft.
124"A Merry Bloody Christmas"Murray KeaneTim Balme20 November 2016 (2016-11-20)N/A
The beloved mayor of Brokenwood is found brutally murdered in a Santa costume, and his girlfriend stuffed in the chimney... also in a Santa costume.

Series 4 (2017)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateN.Z. viewers
(thousand)
131"Fall From Grace"Helena BrooksPip Hall29 October 2017 (2017-10-29)N/A
When Kristin, Breen, and Gina celebrate Mike’s birthday with a picnic in Brokenwood Domain, they are witness to a fatal skydiving accident.
142"Stone Cold Dead"Murray KeaneTim Balme5 November 2017 (2017-11-05)N/A
Charity Highmore-Browne is the owner and curator of Brokenwood's Historic Village. A stickler for all things Victorian, Charity lives in a time warp. Her sudden death by an arrow brings Mike and his team into the realm of New Zealand's colonial past as they deal with a blacksmith, a missionary and the local postmaster.
153"The Scarecrow"Josh FrizzellGreg McGee12 November 2017 (2017-11-12)N/A
Philip Henderson stands next to an impressive scarecrow amidst a field of damaged vegetation. His whole crop has failed. The scarecrow may have kept the birds away but this catastrophe is something bigger.
164"As If Nothing Had Happened"Mark BeesleyTim Balme19 November 2017 (2017-11-19)N/A
Sunset Manor is a rest home in Brokenwood for the aged and bewildered. The new resident is Edward Alderston. Having recently lost his wife, his family has decided Sunset Manor is the best place for him, especially now that the Alzheimer's is taking hold.

Ratings[edit]

International[edit]

  • In France the series is shown on France 3 with a viewer average of 3.4 million each episode and has been retitled Brokenwood.[25]
  • The series has also been shown in Denmark,[25] the United States, and Australia.[26]
  • The series premiered in Australia on 13th Street on 27 January 2016.[27]
  • The series premiered in the United States and Canada on Acorn TV.[28]
  • The series started being shown in the UK by the Drama Channel in February 2017.[29]
  • The series were shown in Bulgaria by Fox Crime Bulgaria in March 2017.
  • The series is shown in Finland by YLE in 2017-2018. [30]
  • The series premiered in Italy on Giallo on 16 April 2016.

Reception and awards[edit]

Critical response to the series has been mixed, with many reviewers impressed by the plots but lamenting the occasionally hokey dialogue. The two-hour length (broadcast length with ads) of episodes has also been mentioned by some as too long for such a series.

Writing in the New Zealand Herald, critic Colin Hogg panned the series, stating that it was "a local version aiming at that grand TV detective tradition" but that its "Dialogue is cliched, the acting aches and the locations are boring."[31] International television website "The Medium is Not Enough" was also generally negative in its review, describing the series as "genteel, New Zealand drama designed to appeal to perhaps an older demographic that likes comfortable murder-mysteries and to New Zealanders eager to watch anything that’s actually set in New Zealand and stars New Zealanders."[32]

Christine Tidball, writing for entertainment website Cheese on Toast was kinder, rating the series "charming, without being cloying, very well-written (thanks to Tim Balme) and funny, but not too funny [...] It’s also engaging, full of twists and will keep you guessing right till the end."[33]

As the series has progressed, reviews have become more positive. DVD review website High Def Standard described the first series as "uniquely thrilling TV" and "a New Zealand Midsomer Murders that isn’t afraid to venture off into Twin Peaks territory every now and again."[34] The Manawatu Standard's Malcolm Hopwood enjoyed the series but lamented episode length: "The Brokenwood Mysteries (Prime Sundays) is like our TPP negotiations. They are long, energy-sapping but satisfying if you're still awake after two hours." He added that the series was "intriguing, confusing and exhausting", and that it "deserves our support but it needs to be recorded and watched in small chunks."[35] Michael Reuben, writing for blu-ray.com, rated series one at 4 stars out of 5.[36]

The series has generally proved popular with the public, and has rated 7.0 out of 10 by reviewers on IMDb.com.

The Brokenwood Mysteries received a bronze world medal at the New York Festival's International Television and Film Awards in 2014.[25]

Cars[edit]

Shepherd's car is a 1971 Holden Kingswood. It has a cassette player for his country music cassettes.

DVD releases[edit]

Title Set details Blu-ray and DVD release dates Special features
Region A/1[37] Region 4[38]
The Brokenwood Mysteries
  • Discs: 2
  • Episodes: 4
7 July 2015 (2015-07-07) 16 December 2014 (2014-12-16)
  • Interviews with the stars and head writer
The Brokenwood Mysteries — Season Two
  • Discs: 2
  • Episodes: 4
3 May 2016 (2016-05-03) 25 November 2015 (2015-11-25)
The Brokenwood Mysteries — Season Three
  • Discs: 2
  • Episodes: 4
21 March 2017 (2017-03-21) 24 November 2016 (2016-11-24)
The Brokenwood Mysteries — Season Four
  • Discs: 2
  • Episodes: 4
  • Interviews with the stars

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "The Brokenwood Mysteries". South Pacific Pictures. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  2. ^ bgarrettnz. "The Brokenwood Mysteries (TV Series 2014– )". IMDb. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  3. ^ South Pacific Pictures. "Season 2 of The Brokenwood Mysteries Coming in 2015". South Pacific Pictures. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  4. ^ "The Brokenwood Mysteries". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  5. ^ "The Brokenwood Mysteries". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  6. ^ "NZ On Air supports local prime time drama". 14 December 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  8. ^ http://thebrokenwoodmysteries.com/blog/details/20235/the-brokenwood-mysteries-confirmed-for-fourth-series
  9. ^ http://thebrokenwoodmysteries.com/episode/1224
  10. ^ http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11957447
  11. ^ Lydia Jenkin (20 September 2014). "Brokenwood Mysteries: A moment of sleuth". NZ Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  12. ^ "The Place Archived 5 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.", thebrokenwoodmysteries.com. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  13. ^ Manson, B. "Tim Balme's killer concept", stuff.co.nz, 27 September 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  14. ^ Dickey, D. "Murder mystery comes to town", The Rodney Times, 1 May 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Travel times and distances calculator," Tourism New Zealand.
  16. ^ "CastingKey". screencastingnz.com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  17. ^ a b c Regan (29 September 2014). "TV Ratings: 28 September 2014". Nielsen. Throng. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  18. ^ a b Regan (6 October 2014). "TV Ratings: 5 October 2014". Nielsen. Throng. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  19. ^ a b c Regan (13 October 2014). "TV Ratings: 12 October 2014". Nielsen. Throng. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  20. ^ a b Regan (20 October 2014). "TV Ratings: 19 October 2014". Nielsen. Throng. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  21. ^ a b c Regan (28 September 2015). "TV Ratings: 27 September 2015". Nielsen. Throng. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  22. ^ a b Regan (5 October 2015). "TV Ratings: September 2015". Nielsen. Throng. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  23. ^ a b c Regan (12 October 2015). "TV Ratings: 11 October 2015". Nielsen. Throng. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  24. ^ a b c Regan (19 October 2015). "TV Ratings: 18 October 2015". Nielsen. Throng. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  25. ^ a b c Isobel Allbury. "The Brokenwood Mysteries". TV Guide. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Brokenwood wins at the New York festivals Archived 22 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine.", thebrokenwoodmysteries.com. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  27. ^ Purcell, Charles (21 January 2016). "New This Week (Jan 25): War & Peace, Suits, Black Sails, Bear Grylls and live sport". The Green Room. Archived from the original on 21 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Acorn TV gets U.S. debut of Kiwi series The Brokenwood Mysteries". StreamDaily. 2 April 2015. Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  29. ^ Drama Channel shows Brokenwood Mysteries Archived 28 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ [https://yle.fi/aihe/artikkeli/2018/01/14/murhia-ja-kantrimusiikkia-leppoisa-komisario-tykkaa-c-kaseteista
  31. ^ "Colin Hogg: Porky detective no Poirot", New Zealand Herald. 1 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  32. ^ "Review: The Brokenwood Mysteries 1x1 (New Zealand: Prime) Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.", the-medium-is-not-enough.com. 29 September 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  33. ^ "'The Brokenwood Mysteries' (TV review) Archived 24 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine.", cheeseontoast.co.nz. 12 September 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  34. ^ "'The Brokenwood Mysteries' – Series 1: Blu-ray Review Archived 7 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine.", highdefstandard.com. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  35. ^ Hopwood, M. "Enough poison to kill off possums", Manawatu Standard. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  36. ^ Reuben, M. "Nice town. Watch your back!", blu-ray.com. 9 July 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015. Archived 19 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ Region A/1 set:
  38. ^ Region 4 DVD set:

External links[edit]