Postcard from Brokenwood Mysteries

There's a new cop show in town, or, to be more accurate, on 13th Street on Foxtel. It's a New Zealand series that takes place in the fictional town of Brokenwood.

Cop shows can be tiresome, often oriented towards graphic violence or excessively convoluted story lines. This one hasn't moved in either of those directions yet, although it has only been two episodes so far.

But it's the characters I like.

There's Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) with his side-kick Detective Kristin Simms (Fern Sutherland). Shepherd has a fixation on country music, delivered via a cassette player in his 1971 Holden Kingswood, whilst Simms hasn't shown much of her personality yet. When I watched the first episode, Simms reminded me of Dr Jonica Newby from Catalyst, her face is quite similar.

As you'd expect, extra characters come and go, but a pleasant surprise is Jared Morehu (Pana Hema Taylor). He plays someone with surprising depth. In spite of the cliched appearance and strong accent, knows a lot about wine, and has a genuine desire to help Shepherd.

There are bodies, it's a crime series after all, but the emphasis is on who and why without much in the way of visual violence. There are six more episodes to go in the first season, so it could change direction, but I hope not. It's a nice mix of relaxed and engaging, and I like it.

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