Mystery Road offers that best kind of drama, one which starts slowly, almost too slowly, and then grips you before you know it.
The Australian outback six-parter sees Aaron Pederson reprise his critically acclaimed role as Jay Swan, a tough indigenous detective, who is brought in to investigate the shocking disappearance of two young men in a remote town.
It’s a job which sees him team up with hard-as-nails cop Emma James (Judy Davis) – and in truth, there are aspects we as Brits will almost certainly feel we are missing.
The two cops and the two missing men are both white/aboriginal combinations – and you can’t help wondering if there isn’t a whole tranche of meaning, of tension, of history that we simply won’t get as British viewers.
Even so, it’s a series which soon starts to twist and turn most pleasingly with all the elements there. We have got the suggestion that the two men absconded… or that they have been murdered… or that they fought and one perished. Blood is found by the roadside.
Adding to it all is the fact that this is all happening in hardly the most harmonious of communities. James’ integrity is compromised by her land owner brother with suggestions of past injustices while Swan’s daughter turns up, swiftly followed by his ex-wife, to reveal all that’s far from happy in his own household.
Meanwhile there are whispers of rape and sexual abuse, of an alleged paedophile wrongly jailed, of someone having got away with it scot free.
It all simmers away very nicely… though in truth a tighter four or five episode series might have been better than the six we get. This is a series which possibly allows itself to brood just a little to much in the middle, but it certainly packs a punch when it comes together in the final episode.
Two of the characters are bizarrely identical – or at the very least difficult to tell apart – and you wonder in vain if this is significant. It isn’t. But with its big landscapes, stunning scenery and incredible lakes of crystal blue water set against desert mountains, it’s never less than great to look at.
Following its UK premiere on BBC Four, Acorn Media International is delighted to announce its DVD release on 8 October 2018.
• Cast interviews with Aaron Pederson and Judy Davis
• Crew Interviews with director Rachel Perkins and producers David Jowsey and Greer Simpkins
• Behind the Scenes Picture Gallery
• Production Stills Gallery
Title: Mystery Road Release Date: 8 October 2018
Cat No: AV3500 RRP: £24.99
Running Time: 360 mins + 50 mins features on 2 discs Certificate: 15