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‘A different journey’: Australian detective covers new ground in second season of ‘Mystery Road’

Aaron Pedersen as Jay Swan and Jada Alberts as Fran Davis in “Mystery Road, Series 2.” (Courtesy of Bunya Productions and All3Media International)

Aaron Pedersen is always eager to step into the shoes of Jay Swan.

It has a sense of comfort for the Australian actor.

Pedersen reprises his role as the gruff, hardworking indigenous homicide police detective in “Mystery Road, Series 2.”

In the new season, which premiered Oct. 12, Swan takes on a grisly new case in a coastal Australian community ridden with corruption.

Swan enters a world where secrets past and present run deep and dark and deception is king.

“It’s a different journey,” Pedersen says in a recent interview. “Jay is obviously married to his work, and his family structure seems to have collapsed.”

Two episodes were released on Oct. 12. An episode will be released each Monday through Nov. 9 on Acorn TV.

The new season finds Swan in pursuit of a drug syndicate boss he’s been chasing for years, as he arrives in the coastal town of Gideon to investigate the case of a decapitated body washed up in the mangroves.

Swan teams up with a rookie constable with deep ties to the community, Fran Davis, played by Jada Alberts, to look into the murder, when he determines the killing is drug-related.

While a suspect, a truck driver, stews in the cells, Swan and Davis search for enough evidence to charge him.

Sofia Helin as Sandra in a scene from “Mystery Road, Series 2.” (Courtesy of Bunya Productions and All3Media International)

Later, they encounter a community protesting a dig by a visiting Swedish archaeologist, Sandra Elmquist, played by Sofia Helin. The local Natives object to her quest to uncover indigenous cultural artifacts to rewrite their history.

Elmquist suffers a crisis of conscience when she finds an unidentified modern grave only 10 years old at the archaeological survey site that jeopardizes her work, yet it could also solve a murder.

Swan also crosses paths with his ex-wife, Mary, played by Tasma Walton, who moved to Gideon to rebuild her life and is seeing a retired cop, Simon, played by Callan Mulvey.

“I love the intricacy and the intimacy of the family stuff,” Pedersen says. “I believe that is what suffers when you are working as a detective. We know Jay is all about his work, and for me, that’s been the most interesting aspect.”

The series is filmed in Western Australia’s picturesque Dampier Peninsula and Broome.

It is directed by Warwick Thornton and Wayne Blair.

Mark Mitchinson, Aaron Pedersen and Jada Alberts in a scene from “Mystery Road, Series 2.” (Courtesy of Bunya Productions and All3Media International)

The cast is rounded out by Mark Mitchinson, Rob Collins, Tasia Zalar, Stan Yarramunua, Ursula Yovich and Joel Jackson.

The series is a spinoff from Ivan Sen’s internationally acclaimed and award-winning films “Mystery Road” in 2013 and “Goldstone” in 2016.

Pedersen has spent seven years portraying Swan through TV and film.

He’s had the time to learn exactly who Swan is.

“The important thing about Jay is that he gets lost in every aspect of his life,” Pedersen says. “Whether it’s personal or professional, Jay tries to give everything his all. He wants to accomplish everything, and he will try his best to do so.”

Simon Lyndon as Emilio in a scene from “Mystery Road, Series 2.” (Courtesy of Bunya Productions and All3Media International)

“Mystery Road” also looks into the dynamics of colonization in Australia and how it displaced indigenous people.

“This is a complicated subject,” Pedersen says. “The series brings an awareness that usually isn’t talked about in TV or film. To be indigenous, it’s a deep generational divide. The show talks about what has taken place. It’s a tainted position to start with. He finds himself as a person of Australia and then as a police officer.”

Pedersen says Swan comes to the defense of the original inhabitants of Australia.

“It’s our chance to tell our story,” he says. “There’s a real truth to it all. The actors are proud of it. Australia is being represented from the correct side of history.”

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