Category Archives: Television

Brokenwood S3E3

Case 11 – The Killing Machine

The annual Riverstone Beach Hop is a colorful festival that brings classic car enthusiasts together from far and wide to celebrate everything petrol powered and chrome plated. But on the morning of the event Charlie Baxter, the Chairman of the Classic Car Restoration Society, is found dead next to his beloved El Dorado with a lungful of gasoline. Was this a petrol siphoning accident or something more deliberate? And does it have anything to do with the unidentified dead body found in Charlie’s garage the day before?


It’s car culture gone mad. Ford vs GM. Jared vs the old girlfriend and the local PC being flat footed by an up-start with attitude. But we know he didn’t do it (too obvious).

What was obvious that some illegal importing was going on. This was one of the main drawbacks of this story. The police should have guessed the primary cause before the audience.

Still, a good episode and you have to wonder where they found all those classic cars for a TV show at the top-end of New Zealand.


Director: Mike Smith
Producer: Sally Campbell

Cast:
Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C Breen NIC SAMPSON
Jared PANA HEMA-TAYLOR
Greg McQueen IDO DRENT
Charlie Baxter CHRIS HOBBS
Keith Balance JOHN LANDRETH
Olson Siola DAVID FANE
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Edward Alderston KEN BLACKBURN
Frankie (Frodo) Oades KARL WILLETS
Carly McQueen AMBER-ROSE HENSHALL
Val Baxter JANINE BURCHETT
Tai Smith LUCIANE BUCHANAN
Miranda Temple LAURA HILL
Kimberley ZARA CORMACK
Dr Carlton ASCIA MAYBURY
First aired: Sunday 13th of November 2016

Brokenwood S3E2

Case 10 – Over Her Dead Body

Brokenwood is in mourning as beloved local poet Declan O’Grady is being farewelled at St Judas Church after being struck down by cancer. But things go from bad to worse when his coffin accidentally falls from the hearse revealing that the corpse inside is not Declan but a young woman identifiable only by a notable scarlet tattoo.

Mike, Kristin and Breen set about unraveling a strange set of circumstances. The last to see Declan’s body was the hapless funeral director Warren Bugle who leads them back to Wadsworth Manor where a mysterious role playing game was conducted the night before Declan’s death. It turns out the tattooed woman may have been a player in what was to ultimately be her final game.


This episode was almost a satire of the traditional closed-room murder/mystery. The contestants for murderer were laid out early and motivations explained. As the bodies fall, it’s all a question of which well known kiwi actor did it. The tone is more fun than fear and probably the best episode yet.


Director: Murray Keane
Producer: Sally Campbell

Cast:
Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C Breen NIC SAMPSON
Jared PANA HEMA-TAYLOR
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Janelle THERESA HEALEY
Dr Plummer CAMERON RHODES
Declan O’Grady MARK MITCHISON
Brenda AMANDA BILLING
Rev Greene ROY WARD
Scarlett JJ FONG
Warren KIP CHAPMAN
Tina NICOLA KAWANA
Hughes COLIN MOY
Evan Whitestone ROSS MCKELLAR
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Cushla LUCI HARE
Melody RENEE SHERIDAN
Dr Carlton ASCIA MAYBURY
Miranda LAURA HILL
Yanni AJAY VAISISHT
First aired: Sunday 6th of November 2016

Brokenwood S3E1

The Brokenwood Mysteries
Case 9 – The Black Widower

The Frog and Cheetah’s publican, Ray Neilson, has branched into tourism with his ‘Lord of the Ringz Tours’ tailored to non-English speaking tourists. But when Ray’s wife Debbie is discovered dead under a giant foam spider in a supposed film location of Mirklewood things get ‘mirky’. Especially when Debbie’s cause of death is revealed to be from New Zealand’s only native venomous spider – the Katipo. But if it was, how did one spider administer ten times the lethal dose?

Things don’t look good for Ray or the nearby arachnologist, Chandra Singh. But then as DSS Mike Shepherd and his team investigate other local tourism operators, they find none of them are particularly sad about Debbie’s demise. Her back room deals with the council have seen them banned from the coveted Brokenwood forest. Was her death karma or revenge? Regardless of motive it was definitely murder.


This feels like a very traditional murder mystery. The crime is committed at the beginning and the story quickly establishes a number of characters, all who have motivation and means to commit the murder. Then the detectives get on the case, and slowly reveal more clues and motives. Each time the potential suspect changes, until finally at the end the culprit is revealed.


Director: Mark Beesley
Producer: Sally Campbell

Cast: Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C Breen NIC SAMPSON
Jared PANA HEMA-TAYLOR
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Ray Neilson JASON HOYTE
Debbie Neilson LARA MACGREGOR
Chandra Singh KALYANI NAGARAJAN
Dr Byron Cotter EMMETT SKILTON
Nigel GEOFF HOUTMAN
Billy DAN VEINT
Nicole KATIE WOLFE
Lance PHIL BROWN
Dennis SHANE CORTESE
Trudy TRACY LEE GRAY
Hans JULIAN WILSON
Chen CHARLES CHEN
Hughes COLIN MOY
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Rev Greene ROY WARD
First aired: Sunday 30th of October 2016

Lewis 9.33

Lewis Series 9
33 “What Lies Tangled”

(Originally Aired in UK 3 November 2015)

A summer’s day in Oxford is screwed apart, when a parcel bomb explodes. The team are called in to investigate, but the victim is a womanizer, having been known to have had numerous affairs with younger women. With his six-month trip to New Zealand with Hobson on the horizon, Lewis is in a race against time to save his career and relationship.


Another rather ordinary story, with a number of characters that could be the killer. It’s just a matter of eliminating the unlikely to end with right man. Unfortunately, a rather forgettable final episode of the series.

Lewis 9.32

Lewis Series 9
32 “Magnum Opus”

(Originally Aired in UK 20 October 2015)

Lewis and Hathaway are called to investigate a body in some woodland. But realizing three more murders are to follow, the team must hurry to catch the killer, before they happen. Hathaway is struggling to cope with his father’s illness, as he begins his search to find out who he was before the dementia kicked in.


This is a better episode because it has a simpler storyline. But, as usual there is a twist late in the story to explain the motivations of the murderer. So better than before, but just very average.

 

 

Lewis 9.31

Lewis Series 9
31 “One for Sorrow”

(Originally Aired in UK 6 October 2015)

A new boss arrives at Oxfordshire Police, and he begins to question Lewis’ role as a consultant. After an exhibition of anthropomorphic taxidermy, the body of a young avant-garde artist is found. Lewis, Hathaway and Maddox must delve into the worlds of social media, drugs, taxidermy, alternative art and the homeless East European community. Meanwhile, Hathaway confronts his father and sister, with whom he does not have a good relationship.


Again, a plot that changes and shifts, never leaving clues as to the actual murderer. Is it about drugs, taxidermy ?

Turns out it was all about the Stanford prison experiment. Who saw that coming ? Only the writers.

And Then There Were None

 

And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song, which serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until December 1939; its American reprints and adaptations were all re-titled And Then There Were None, the last five words in the original American version of the nursery rhyme (“Ten Little Indians”).

The book was adapted in 2015 to a television serial that was first broadcast on BBC One from 26 to 28 December 2015. It was adapted by Sarah Phelps and directed by Craig Viveiros.

Cast

  • Douglas Booth as Anthony Marston: Accused of killing two children, John and Lucy Coombes, by reckless driving, which he acknowledges.
  • Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave: Accused of murdering an innocent man by sentencing him to hang.
  • Maeve Dermody as Vera Claythorne: Accused of murdering Cyril Hamilton, a boy in her care, having encouraged the child to swim out further in the hope that he would drown so her lover, the boy’s uncle, would become heir to the family estate.
  • Burn Gorman as Detective Sergeant William Blore: Accused of murdering a homosexual in a police cell. The actor was also in the Dr Who Torchwood Series.
  • Noah Taylor and Anna Maxwell Martin as Thomas and Ethel Rogers: Accused of murdering a previous employer.
  • Sam Neill as General John MacArthur: Accused of murdering a fellow officer having an affair with his wife.
  • Miranda Richardson as Emily Brent: Accused of being responsible for the suicide of her maid by abandoning her when she became pregnant.
  • Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard: Accused for killing 21 men in Eastern Africa for diamonds.
  • Toby Stephens as Doctor Edward Armstrong: Accused of killing a patient during surgery while drunk.

Review
This starts very slowly, intense shots of scenery and faces, every word seeming to have meaning. Then the killing starts, and the viewer it invited to work out who did it. It’s not until part two that the intensity increases and the body count mounts. A lot of the story is told in flashback, sometimes unnecessarily repeating. Then, at the end just when we think it’s all worked out and we know who did it – a final twist of the knife before all is revealed. Then it becomes apparent why this is considered Agatha’s best story.

Lewis 8.30

Lewis Series 8
30 “Beyond Good and Evil”

(Originally Aired in UK 7 November 2014)

Thirteen years ago, Lewis successfully apprehended hammer killer Graham Lawrie. Now Lawrie is on the verge of freedom thanks to new evidence. Lewis fears the worst, but nothing can prepare him for a string of murders resembling the original case. With his mentor’s reputation in jeopardy, Hathaway races to catch the killer.


Review

The last of the season and best of the season. This is due to the simplicity of the story. It’s a basic did-he-do-it plot. Was Lewis wrong in his original arrest of Lawrie. Is there someone else and who will die.

Alec Newman plays Graham Lawrie and gives a great portrayal of a psychopathic killer.  Hathaway finally gets to show some leadership as Lewis is fading into retirement.

 

 

Lewis 8.29

Lewis Series 8
29 “The Lions of Nemea”

(Originally Aired in UK 24 October 2014)

Lewis, Hathaway and Maddox’s abilities as a team are severely tested when they investigate the brutal stabbing of an American classics scholar. The bizarre case that follows takes in the cocaine trade, astrophysics and ancient drama, but the truth is hidden in plain sight: a heartbreaking tragedy made possible by the most ordinary of secrets.


Review
The body count mounts in this twisting tale. Trouble is, it involves so many people things get confusing near the end. I did guess that the lost play was a fake. Unfortunately there are no clues early on to point you the real killer. It’s all up to the Police to lead us along as numerous co-incidences lead them to an inevitable arrest.

Lewis 8.28

Lewis Series 8
28 “Entry Wounds”
(Originally Aired in UK 10 October 2014)

Hathaway starts work on his first murder case as an inspector with the help of a new partner, DS Lizzie Maddox. But as the pair delve into the worlds of neurosurgery, blood sports and animal rights, Hathaway’s theories are challenged by alarming new developments. He realizes he needs the insight of the retired Lewis to close the case.


Another good crime story from the BBC. The story successfully navigates between multiple suspects until a final revelation that catches the killer. As usual there is little violence (apart from the murders) and everything is would up in a very British way. Interesting use of Indian actors, who I suspected were never the killers and got what was probably their best acting parts in years.