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The Brokenwood Mysteries

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Country of origin
No. of series

First episode date
28 September 2014

Original network


Original language(s)

No. of episodes
12 (list of episodes)

Production company
Mike Smith, Michael Hurst

The Brokenwood Mysteries httpsimagesnasslimagesamazoncomimagesMM

Crime dramaMystery fictionPolice procedural

Directed by
Mike SmithJosh FrizzellMichael HurstMurray Keane

Neill Rea; Fern Sutherland; Cristina Serban Ionda; Nic Sampson; Pana Hema Taylor

The Blue Rose, Midsomer Murders, Miss Fisher's Murder M, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, Orange Roughies

The brokenwood mysteries series trailer

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


The brokenwood mysteries fridays at 8pm


Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd is sent from Auckland to Brokenwood to assist the local police with a possible murder investigation. Brokenwood is a seemingly quiet country town, where Shepherd, who has an unconventional approach to his task, works with local Detective Constable Kristin Sims, who is precise and efficient at her job, to solve murder mysteries. As the series progresses the working relationship between the two moves from rocky to functional as the two get to appreciate each other's talents.


The fictional town of Brokenwood has a population of about 5000, and is located some 20 kilometres 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). Though the exact location of Brokenwood is not stated, it was largely written and filmed in small towns immediately to the north of Auckland. The real-life town of Warkworth doubles as Brokenwood, and the Brokenwood Police Station is a 1911 building that was the Helensville Post Office.


Regular cast
  • Neill Rea as Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd 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. His often pursues criminals in a way that seems odd to his coworkers.
  • Fern Sutherland as Detective Kristin Sims. A cynical and intelligent young woman who has had many dating misfortunes. She is often rubbed the wrong way by Shepherd's way of doing things and his blunt way of speaking, but gradually learns to appreciate his skills.
  • Cristina Ionda as Dr. Gina Kadinsky, 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 humor." She appears to be attracted to Mike.
  • Nic Sampson as Detective Constable Sam Breen, a young officer who often has embarrassing or awkward visits with suspects.
  • Pana Hema Taylor as Jared Morehu, Mike's Maori neighbor. As a local who has many friends and interests, he often finds himself involved in the murder investigations.
  • Recurring characters
  • Colin Moy as Hughes
  • Jason Hoyte as Ray Neilsen, the proprietor of a local pub and the co-owner of the "Lord of the Ringz" tours. He has been widowed twice, with both wives being killed in similar ways.
  • Roy Ward as Reverend Lucas Greene, the local Anglican priest. He is a kindly man who thinks well of others out of Christian charity.
  • Karl Willetts as Frankie "Frodo" Oades ("Hunting the Stag" and The Killing Machine"), a rather dim young man who works in auto repair.
  • Elizabeth McRae as Mrs. Marlowe, a kindly older woman who often engages in gossip after a murder. She typically believes that the deceased was "a homosexualist" and engaged in various S&M practices.
  • Phil Peleton as Neil Bloom, a local chemist. He is gay, and in a relationship with his partner Gray.
  • Nicola Kawana as Tina, Jared's aunt. She is an extremely strict and vocal evangelical Christian.
  • Guest stars

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

  • Amanda Billing ("Over Her Dead Body")
  • Ken Blackburn ("Catch of the Day" and "The Killing Machine")
  • Shane Cortese ("Catch of the Day" and "A Merry Bloody Christmas")
  • Miranda Harcourt ("To Die or Not to Die")
  • Peter Hayden ("A Merry Bloody Christmas")
  • Robyn Malcolm ("To Die or Not to Die")
  • Elizabeth McRae ("To Die or Not to Die")
  • J.J. Fong ("Over Her Dead Body")
  • International

  • In France the series is shown on France 3 with a viewer average of 3.4 million each episode and has been retitled Brokenwood.
  • The series has also been shown in Denmark, the United States, and Australia.
  • The series premiered in Australia on 13th Street on 27 January 2016.
  • The series premiered in the United States and Canada on Acorn TV.
  • The series started being shown in the UK by the Drama Channel in February 2017.
  • Reception and awards

    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." 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."

    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."

    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." 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." Michael Reuben, writing for, rated series one at 4 stars out of 5.

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

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


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


    The Brokenwood Mysteries Wikipedia

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