Mystery Road (TV series)

Australian television series

Mystery Road is an Australian television neo-Western-crime mystery series whose first series screened on ABC TV from 3 June 2018. The series is a spin-off from Ivan Sen’s feature films Mystery Road and Goldstone, taking place in-between the two. Indigenous Australian detective Jay Swan, played by Aaron Pedersen is the main character and actor in both the films and in the two TV series, each of six episodes.

Series 1 was directed by Rachel Perkins. Swan is brought in to solve a murder, with his sidekick, the local police officer, played by Judy Davis. In Series 2, directed by Warwick Thornton and Wayne Blair, which began airing on ABC on 19 April 2020, Swan is brought in to solve a murder in a different location, with the “local copper” this time played by Jada Alberts. Both series were shot in northern Western Australia.


  • 1 Plot
    • 1.1 Series 1
    • 1.2 Series 2
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Episodes
    • 3.1 Series 1 (2018)
    • 3.2 Series 2 (2020)
  • 4 Filming
    • 4.1 Series 1
    • 4.2 Series 2
  • 5 Critical Reception
    • 5.1 Series 1
    • 5.2 Series 2
  • 6 Accolades
  • 7 References
  • 8 External links


Series 1[edit]

Taking place between the events of the films Mystery Road and Goldstone,[3] Mystery Road Series 1 tells the story of Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), assigned to investigate the mysterious disappearance of two young farmhands on an outback cattle station, one a local Indigenous football hero and the other a white backpacker. Working together with local police sergeant Emma James (Judy Davis), the investigation uncovers drug trafficking in the town, and a past injustice that threatens the fabric of the whole community.[4]

Series 2[edit]

Swan has to unravel the mystery of a decapitated body which turns up in the mangroves. The plot involves drug trafficking and an archaeological dig.[5][6]


  • Aaron Pedersen as Jay Swan
  • Judy Davis as Emma James
  • Deborah Mailman as Kerry Thompson
  • Wayne Blair as Larry Dime
  • Aaron McGrath as Marley Thompson
  • Tasma Walton as Mary Swan
  • Madeleine Madden as Crystal Swan
  • Meyne Wyatt as Cedric Thompson
  • Colin Friels as Tony Ballantyne
  • Rohan Mirchandaney as David Sharma
  • Anthony Hayes as Ryan Muller
  • Ernie Dingo as Keith Groves
  • John Waters as Travis James
  • Kris McQuade as Liz Rutherford
  • Tasia Zalar as Shevorne Shields
  • Ningali Lawford Wolf as Dot
  • Connor Van Vuuren as Reese Dale
  • Ben Oxenbould as Vince Pearce
  • Benjamin Hoetjes as Eric Hoffman
  • Jessica Falkholt as Genevieve Leclaire


Series 1 (2018)[edit]

Series 2 (2020)[edit]

Series 2 began screening on ABC in April 2020.[12] It had its world premiere at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival in late February, in the new Series section devoted to longform television series, along with another ABC series, Stateless.[13][14]


Series 1[edit]

The first series was made on location in and around Wyndham, a town in northern Western Australia. Other scenes were shot at Kununurra and on Aboriginal lands belonging to the Miriuwung, Gajerrong and Balanggarra in the Kimberley.[16] Location shooting took approximately 10 weeks.[3]

Series 2[edit]

The second series was filmed in Broome, and in the Kimberley in northern Western Australia, taking 10 weeks. It was Thornton’s first time directing for television, and he said that Blair’s experience in this medium was vital. He also said that Sen and Perkins had done the hard work creating “this unique world”, which gave the directors of Series 2 a strong foundation, so they could focus on the performances.[17]

Critical Reception[edit]

Series 1[edit]

Series 2[edit]

The Guardian reviewer Luke Buckmaster praised the “extraordinary breadth” of the show, in the way it portrays the country “only just beginning to come to terms with its past”. He praises Pedersen’s performance, which “simultaneously [projects] great strength and great sorrow”, as a man “caught between traditions, between worldviews, between laws and lores”.[6]



  • ^ Knox, David (27 February 2018). “Funding for Seachange, Mystery Road”. TV cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}
  • ^ “Airdate: Mystery Road”. TV Tonight. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  • ^ a b Pederson, Aaron; Davis, Judy (2018). “Bonus: Cast interviews”. Mystery Road. Series 1. Episode 7. Acorn TV. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • ^ Mystery Road: press kit: A film by Ivan Sen
  • ^ a b Ghosh, Joydeep (22 April 2020). “Index of Mystery Road Season 2 and Episode Schedule”. OtakuKart News. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  • ^ a b Buckmaster, Luke (15 April 2020). “Mystery Road season two review – a new riddle for Aaron Pedersen’s troubled detective”. The Guardian. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  • ^ a b c d e f g “Mystery Road Episode Guide”. Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  • ^ “Sunday 10 June 2018”. TV Tonight. 11 June 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  • ^ “Sunday 17 June 2018”. TV Tonight. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  • ^ “Sunday 24 June 2018”. TV Tonight. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  • ^ “Sunday 1 July 2018”. TV Tonight. 2 July 2018. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  • ^ “Mystery Road series 2: 2020”. Screen Australia. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  • ^ Zhou, Debbie (27 February 2020). “‘People are starting to wake up’: Berlin film festival spotlights Australia’s ‘unfinished business'”. the Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  • ^ “World premieres for Stateless and Mystery Road at Berlin International Film Festival”. ABC. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 January 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  • ^ “Mystery Road – Listings”. Next Episode. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  • ^ Credits/Acknowledgments: ‘Mystery Road’ Episode 6
  • ^ Russell, Stephen A. (15 April 2020). “Mystery Road season 2: Warwick Thornton on Australia’s outback 007”. The New Daily. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  • ^ “Winners & Nominees”. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  • ^ “Logie Awards 2019: winners”. TV Tonight. 30 June 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  • ^ Maddox, Garry (6 May 2019). “Sweet Country wins top prize at the Directors Guild Awards”. Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  • ^ Knox, David (7 May 2019). “Australian Director’s Guild Awards 2019: winners”. TV Tonight. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  • External links[edit]

    • Mystery Road on IMDb
    • “Mystery Road series 2 (2020) – The Screen Guide”. Screen Australia.

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