“Our hope is that the series will not only be compelling, but will say something about Australian identity”
Distributor All3Media International
Producer Bunya Productions
Length 6 x 60 minutes
Broadcaster ABC Australia
Produced in Western Australia by Bunya Productions, Mystery Road is a six-part spin-off from Ivan Sen’s acclaimed films Mystery Road and Goldstone.
It follows detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), who is assigned to investigate the disappearance of two young farm hands on an outback cattle station. One is a local indigenous football hero, the other a backpacker.
Swan expects the case to be a simple job, but it soon becomes clear that the teenagers didn’t wander off and get lost. Working with local cop Emma James, Jay’s investigation uncovers a past injustice that threatens the community and teaches the town a harsh lesson: you have to be truthful about your past to understand your present.
The series is being made for ABC with funding support from various local bodies. While designed as a crime show, it is also intended to showcase Australia’s indigenous cultural heritage, says producer Greer Simpkin.
“Our hope is that the series will not only be an entertaining and compelling mystery, but will also say something about Australian identity.”
Key to this is the involvement of director Rachel Perkins, who has Arrernte and Kalkadoon ancestry and is widely acknowledged as a key proponent of indigenous Australian stories.
Her involvement has been given the seal of approval by Penny Smallacombe, head of Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department: “TV audiences around the world are embracing indigenous stories, and with Rachel at the helm, a stellar cast and stunning locations, the series is set to be a success both in Australia and internationally.”
All3Media International is handling global sales, attracted by the show’s “sumptuous, cinematic outback noir character”, says vice-president of acquisitions David Swetman.
The distributor came on board early in development. “MysteryRoad is a groundbreaking, genre-defining drama,” adds Swetman.