As the cast discusses in the Interviews special features, this season has a slightly different feel to it than the first, primarily because the characters have gotten to know each other better and are more comfortable working together. While Mike Shepherd (Neil Rea) is still new to the area, his detectives, Kristin Sims (Fern Sutherland) and Breen (Nic Sampson) know that he is good at his job and tend to know that if he wants one of them to dig through a pile of trash or present a set of underwear to the old ladies in the sewing circle, there is a reason for it, even if those awkward jobs usually fall to Breen to do.
Another interesting note about this season is that I feel like the town of Brokenwood itself is starting to really develop its own character. While the show has local jack-of-all-trades, Jared Morehu (Pana Hema Taylor), in every episode to help the detectives out, there are other characters and locations that have started appearing multiple times. It adds a bit more continuity between the episodes that Midsomer Murders doesn't quite have.
In the season's first mystery, "Leather & Lace," the coach of the local rugby team is found tied up and dead on the field. Since Breen is a member of the team, Mike has to ask the detective to takes some vacation time in order to make sure no one can claim there is a cover-up going on. As Mike and Sims dig into the case, they start to find a lot of pieces that don't add up. For one, everyone feels like the victim isn't a very good coach, as is evidenced by the team "celebrating" their 50th straight loss the night the coach is killed, and while some alibis are sketchy, no one really seems to have had the opportunity to do the deed. This, coupled with the fact that the victim and his wife have been separated, but not divorced, for several years and that it looks like the coach might have had a new lady in his life really start to paint an odd and confusing picture for the detectives.
The second episode, "To Die or Not to Die" kicks off with a local theater group putting on a production of Hamlet with Jared as the titular role. When one of the other actors dies on stage in front of the crowd, everything from props to poisons to the possibility of an asthma attack have to be taken into consideration. While Jared himself isn't a prime suspect in Mike's eyes, he does seem to be behaving a bit oddly, and the other members of the acting troupe appear to be treating him unusually.
In "Catch of the Day," a cray-trap washes ashore with a hand in it, but with no recent missing persons, the team is having a hard time trying to determine who it belongs to. The trap itself is associated with a fishing family that is apparently very territorial, but when the local fisheries officer's body (minus a hand) is pulled up in the nets of a mussel-farming corporation, Mike and his team find themselves trying to determine what kind of bad blood exists between the two groups and which group might benefit the most from the official's death.
The Brokenwood Mysteries: Series 2 wraps up with "Blood Pink." Mike's love for country music takes center stage in this episode as a well-renowned New Zealand country singer makes her way to Brokenwood. Just before her last song, she announces that the band is breaking up and she is moving to Nashville. When her body is discovered electrocuted in her tub the next morning, and the detectives realize that the rest of the band didn't know about the change of plans, everyone becomes a suspect, even, as oddly as it might seem, the young daughter of two of the band's members.
Strangely enough, the first hurdle Mike's team has to work out is finding all of the band members. A cleaning lady discovers the body, and while the room is trashed, it isn't easy to tell if it was from a fight or just from a bunch of drunken musicians partying all night. The first band member to reappear is the drummer, but she doesn't seem to have any clue of the night's events. When the violinist shows up, she is desperately looking for her daughter. She claims that the little girl went to go spend the night with her dad, who just happens to be the victim's lover and one of the missing band members. As the episode progresses, the team slowly finds each person, though not everyone they find is still alive. Mike's team has to work extra hard to narrow down the night's timeline in order to figure out who they can rule out and who still had the opportunity to commit the crime.
The Brokenwood Mysteries: Series 2 not only contains the four episodes and a cast and crew interview, but it also has a photo gallery. While these don't amount to a whole lot of added extras for the release, the feature-length episodes themselves are great stories that are sure to suck any mystery fan in quickly. If you didn't catch the first season of the show, it isn't necessary in order to enjoy this one, but that season did do a lot of foundation work, especially between the main characters, and there will be a few references to earlier mysteries as some characters from those earlier episodes make one or two appearances.