Airing on the ABC next month, Mystery Road is a six part crime series and spin-off of Ivan Sen’s excellent films, Mystery Road and Goldstone. The show looks poised to be our new favourite mystery/thriller and a highlight of 2018’s programming.
The show sees Aaron Pedersen reprise his role as the cowboy detective known as Jay Swan. He is called in to investigate the disappearance of two young farmhands from an outback cattle station. One of the missing kids is a local indigenous boy and footy legend while the other is a white backpacker with a questionable past.
Judy Davis also stars in this series as a straight-shooting, local cop. It is an absolute treat to watch her character, Detective Emma James trading barbs with Detective Swan during the course of the investigation. The series is quite a multifaceted one that not only deals with the missing persons’ cases but also examines issues like indigenous land rights, aboriginal identity, child custody, young people taking drugs and more.
Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue Dae, Jasper Jones) is at the helm here as director and the episodes are written by Timothy Lee, Kodie Bedford, Jon Bell, Steven McGregor and Michaeley O’Brien. Both Perkins and the writers have referenced Sen’s films here, particularly with the use of the stunning aerial shots and some of the plot points. The footage of the harsh, brutal and beautiful Kimberley is enough to make this series one to watch.
In some ways, Mystery Road is like Australia’s answer to Broadchurch. Both TV shows have aired on the ABC and are compelling mysteries that the audience can watch unfold. What is fascinating here is that Mystery Road features a stellar local cast as well as some big drawcards like Pedersen, Davis plus Deborah Mailman and Ernie Dingo. The story is an emotionally-charged one as we go along for the ride with the grieving mother and community who are dealing with the loss of the two boys. Mystery Road is ultimately one tense police drama that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
Review Score: FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The first two episodes of Mystery Road will air on ABC on 3rd June, with the complete series dropping on iView not long after for binge watching enjoyment.