DVD Review– The Brokenwood Mysteries, Series 2
The Brokenwood Mysteries has been dubbed the Midsomer Murders of New Zealand, and there are indeed many parallels. Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) and Kristin Sims (Fern Sutherland) are the police detectives who investigate a series of mysterious crimes throughout the lovely New Zealand countryside.
Mike Shepherd is the lead detective, who transfers out from the city after a string of failed marriages. It’s actually not entirely convincing that Shepherd is a serial divorcé–he’s a pretty amiable guy and one would think that some woman would appreciate all of his positive qualities, although his fondness for loud country music and foisting it upon everybody who enters his car might have been a problem. Kristin Sims takes the less colorful role of frequently being exasperated by her partner. Both actors give a strong effort, and Rea seems to be having a good time playing a genial sleuth with plenty of joie de vivre.
There are four movie-length episodes in the second season, including the mysterious death of a rugby coach, a killer stalking a Shakespearean troupe, a grisly discovery in a fishing net, and an electrocuted musician. The series is mostly entertaining, if not wholly original. The big twist in one episode has been done before, such as in a Joyce Porter short story starring the classic but criminally under-read detective Inspector Dover. As many shows with a Shakespeare-themed episode do, about a quarter of the episode is Shakespearean quotes, which saved the screenwriter from having to come up with a lot of original dialogue.
It’s frequently a fun show, if not a brilliant one– at times the dialogue could use a major polish, and sometimes the episodes seem to inject a handful of unnecessary scenes that don’t advance the plot or add to the mystery in order to flesh out the episode to the full run time. Some of these mysteries could have been sleeker as one-hour episodes. Though there’s room for improvement, The Brokenwood Mysteries is a generally enjoyable international crime series.
The Brokenwood Mysteries, Series 2
$59.99 DVD & Blu-Ray