An interesting new sleuth with a complex background set in late 50s/early 60s Australia… one that raises images of post-war Foyle’s, actually. However, for all his forensic brilliance, our Dr. Blake is hemmed in by his time and culture so tightly that many of the mysteries feel like he’s avoiding solving them rather than seeing the evidence. And that evidence is often hidden until they are ready to reveal the solution, making the mysteries feel more Holme’s-like at times. But the mysteries are only a small part of why the show works as it does. It is more about the characters, culture, and the journey of Blake. On this final point the show does a good job of keeping it all interesting.
The cast is a collection of solid player from down under, most of whom you’ve probably never seen before. While McLachlan (The Great Raid) sells the main character, in many ways it is Garner (The Book of Revelation) as his receptionist that gets most of the glory. She has mastered “the look.” Her facial expressions and side-glances tell volumes and add a wonderfully playful aspect to the death and mayhem around them. Tobeck (Sons of Anarchy, Cleopatra 2525) as the Super, and Donald as the young officer, fill out the law side of the equation with a Ripper Street-like approach to law, but with a reluctant willingness to fulfill justice, no matter where it takes them. And, finally, Wolfe provides another young complication in Blake’s life as the district nurse with a personal drive that helps set her apart. Each have their moments and arcs through the 10 episodes.
These aren’t brilliant mysteries, in most cases. However, they are intriguing and relatively short in a one hour format so they never feel too long either. Much like other period dramas, they provide an intriguing mirror on the world of its time and a reminder of some of the changes (or not) that have occurred. In this case it is also fascinating to see it all through the lens of another culture that is similar, but just different enough to give it a new perspective.