The Brokenwood Mysteries Series 9 – Review

The Brokenwood Mysteries – Series 9 - Review

By Karl Hornsey

On the back of the DVD cover for the ninth series of The Brokenwood Mysteries reads the line, “New Zealand’s answer to Midsomer Murders”. And that, in a nutshell, really does sum up this popular drama, which fans will be delighted to know is coming back for a 10th series next year. Midsomer has become synonymous with the concept of a huge body count building up in a small place over a number of years, and the fictitious town of Brokenwood is very much heading in the same direction. The population is apparently around the 5,000 mark, but would be an awful lot higher were it not for the grisly death count that blights the locals.

Filmed near Auckland, these latest episodes take the total to 42 and, while that may seem a lot to watch, I’d recommend starting at the beginning rather than diving straight into series nine. In this day and age of binge-watching then it’s pretty much the norm anyway.

The Brokenwood Mysteries – Series 9 - Review

“Each episode is watchable”

As with most quality crime dramas, and this is such, a believable relationship between the leads is essential, without it tipping over into stereotypes or caricatures, and the understated acting of Neill Rea and Fern Sutherland ensures that each episode is watchable and moves their own lives on a little bit, as well as dealing with all manner of remarkable murders. The dialogue can be a bit stilted at times, but it mostly hits the right notes.

The six episodes in this series continue to feature the sort of storylines that fans have come to know and love, with an electrocution, a strangled nun and an all-female motorcycle gang attending a wedding among the highlights. Although these could hardly compete with past deaths that have included a wine critic found dead in a vat, a rugby coach found tied naked to the goalposts and the mayor of Brokenwood, who was discovered dressed as Santa up a chimney having breathed his last breath.

The episodes remain feature-length at around 90 minutes apiece, but thankfully the DVD release is without the advert breaks that disrupt the flow of the stories, and so far in the UK they’ve only been shown on UKTV channel Drama.

In the wrong hands, this sort of series could get just that bit too silly and (literally) lose the plot, but Brokenwood Mysteries treads that fine line with ease, although it will be interesting to see quite what other ideas the writers have got in store for series 10 and, hopefully, beyond.

‘The Brokenwood Mysteries’ Series 9 & Series 1 – 9 Complete Box Set is on DVD and digital now


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