Aaron Pedersen returns as Jay Swan in season two of Mystery Road.
Aaron Pedersen returns as Jay Swan in season two of Mystery Road. Supplied

Australia’s favourite cowboy detective in unfamiliar waters

Best mates Wayne Blair and Warwick Thornton were more than happy to share directorial duties on the second season of Mystery Road.

The ABC's Logie and AACTA-winning outback crime drama follows Detective Jay Swan, played by Aaron Pedersen, as he investigates a series of crimes and struggles to reconnect with his estranged family.

"I've done two films with Warwick and he's one of my best friends. I said 'I suppose I can hang out with him for eight months," says Blair, who also had a supporting role in Mystery Road's first season.

Mystery Road directors Wayne Blair and Warwick Thornton. Supplied by ABC-TV.
Mystery Road directors Wayne Blair and Warwick Thornton. Supplied by ABC-TV.

"Warwick would be the director of photography in the episodes I was directing. We trust each other, so there's no fear. just Doing it with a mate is actually really great; it's the way you should do things - with people you want to work with."

Shifting settings to the fictional coastal town of Gideon in Western Australia presented unique new challenges, including muggy nights filming in mangrove swamps with spotters on the look out for crocs.

"Those unideal places to shoot are the worlds you want to share with the rest of Australia," Blair says.

"We had to shoot late at night and it was all tide dependent … you can't do any overtime in the mangroves. The tide will come in and say 'see you later'. It's hard to get into, so you've really got to be fully pragmatic and do what you've got to do and get out.

Season two follows Swan as he takes on a grisly new case with the help of local indigenous police officer Fran (Jada Alberts).

Aaron Pedersen (as Jay) & Jada Alberts (as Fran), Mystery Road 2 - Photograph by David Dare Parker
Aaron Pedersen (as Jay) & Jada Alberts (as Fran), Mystery Road 2 - Photograph by David Dare Parker

"Our Jay Swan is the archetypal detective cowboy who everyone loves, so for him to meet this impressionable, young, just-come-out-of-police-school officer who's from that community, that dynamic we loved straight away," Blair says.

"He a silent type, but during the series Fran gets that human side out of Jay and gets him thinking about his own relationships and also what's right for his community."

Season two of Mystery Road premieres Sunday at 8.30pm on ABC-TV.


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