Plot: Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) has been in Brokenwood for a while now, so it is no surprise he has warmed to some of the quaint charms. He has adjusted well to the slower pace of life, but he also knows Brokenwood can sometimes move at a much faster clip. This is because despite the many charms of small town life, Brokenwood never seems to slow down when it comes to murder. The tranquil surroundings do little to calm lethal instincts, it would seem. So even if Shepherd were to get a little restless, he knows another case is always just around the corner. He and his assistant Detective Kristin Sims (Fern Sutherland) continue to improve as partners, allowing their conflicting styles to mesh and offer a more cohesive approach to the crimes. Between his strong instincts and her attention to detail, criminals have little hope for evading capture. But with a new wave of cases comes a lot of unexpected twists, are the duo still up to the task?
Entertainment Value: The Brokenwood Mysteries continues to be an excellent show, as this third series is perhaps the best to date. I love that the show is able to have a sense of humor, sometimes at its own expense, but retain a serious tone when needed. This keeps things from getting dull or repetitive, as some of the overly serious shows tend to be. This one knows when to lighten the mood and when to turn the tension up, which is a rare trait these days. I also appreciate that the stories continue to make sense, not just throw in twists for the sake of shocking reveals. As you watch the episodes, you might not always know who is behind the crimes, but it makes sense when you do discover the truth. Too many detective shows lean on crazy plot twists that rarely make sense, so I am glad The Brokenwood Mysteries bucks that trend.
The cast is as good as ever, with leads Neill Rea and Fern Sutherland seeming to still have fun with the roles. The smaller roles are well cast and played as well, but the leads are the driving force in this series. The two play off each other as well as ever and the material has allowed for more development by this point in the series, which adds some depth. As always, each episode presents a feature length case which allows for ample depth and development. The stories never feel rushed or thin, each is well chosen and executed. While each case is explored in depth, there are also larger arcs in motion, that involve our core cast. So while it is episodic and you can skip around if you wished, you do get a little more out of the show if you watch in order and don’t miss episodes. I continue to greatly enjoy The Brokenwood Mysteries and I feel like anyone who appreciates a good detective story will as well.