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Mystery Road is an Australian crime TV series spun off from the films Mystery Road and Goldstone and also featuring Aaron Pederson as Aboriginal police detective Jay Swan.

The first season, broadcast in 2018 and according to Word of God set between the two films, has Jay sent to an isolated cattle-raising community in the outback to investigate the sinister disappearance of two young jackaroos, one a local Aboriginal youth and the other a white backpacker. The second season sees Jay visiting a small town on the coast to investigate the case of a drug-dealer found decapitated in a mangrove swamp, although he also becomes involved in a local Aboriginal police officer's attempts to solve the mysterious disappearance of her sister a few years before.

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This series includes the following tropes:

  • Arranged Marriage: In the second season, Fran's missing sister Zoe was unhappily awaiting an arranged marriage, and is thought by some to have run away from it. In fact, her fiance was a laidback sort who was happy to let her back out of it, but the tyrannical local Aboriginal leader who brokered the engagement was so angry at having his authority disrespected that he murdered her and her boyfriend.
  • Artifact Title: The title Mystery Road comes from the original movie. Neither season of the TV series takes place anywhere near the eponymous Mystery Road.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Both seasons pair Jay with a female local cop partner, although they're very different: Emma in the first season is a middle-aged white Sergeant who is related to other important people in the community, while Fran in the second season is a young Aboriginal woman who is alienated from most of her relatives due to them disapproving of her being a cop.
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  • Clueless Deputy: Muller comes off as this. He is even accused of being a mole because of how much he hinders the investigation in the first season.
  • Cop Hater: Larry although justified as he had been arrested for a crime he did not commit, and then found guilty because he was ill-advised by the police.
  • Cowboy Cop: Jay is not too worried about standard police procedure. In both shows, local cops call him out over his tendency to do his own thing and not respect their own responsibilities.
  • Defective Detective: Jay is a stoic and unhappy man whose family life is an utter wreck.
  • Dirty Cop: The second season has Owen, the corrupt local Sergeant, and Simon, a corrupt former cop who turns out to be the boss of the drug gang.
  • Doomed by Canon: Subverted with Crystal in the first season. A line in the previously-released but later-set Goldstone suggested that she might be dead, and a scene in the final episode has her confronted by the villain in a way that implies he might kill her. But he doesn't actually commit any violence on her.
  • Due to the Dead: In the second season, Sandra places the recent skeletons she found in her archeological dig on the church doorstep in a muddled and drunken effort to pay respect to them without becoming involved in the case.
  • False Rape Accusation: What turns out to be at the root of the first season's events — Keith raped and tried to kill Shevorne and when she survived forced her to accuse Larry, who was his political rival.
  • Gangland Drive-By: In the first season, while Jay is taking Marley to prison, a truck pulls up alongside them and the passenger opens fire on both of them with a shotgun.
  • Good Old Ways: Subverted in the second season in which it turns out that the traditionalist Aboriginal leader Jimmy Two murdered Zoe and her boyfriend in an honour killing. When this comes out, the local people show nothing but contempt for it.
  • It's Personal: Happens to Jay in both seasons. In the first season his disturbed daughter turns up in the town hoping to reconcile with him, but then gets involved with some of the suspects, while in the second season his wife turns out to have moved to the town and to be dating one of the suspects who ends up being the Big Bad. In the second season, Fran is the sister of a young woman who disappeared years before and is suspected of having been murdered, and her determination to solve the case interferes with Jay's main investigation.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: In season 1, one suspect is Larry, the uncle of the Aboriginal young man who disappeared, and a recently released convict. He was framed though.
  • Just Keep Driving: In a pivotal incident in the first season, a road train collides with a motorbike, kills the rider and keeps going. It turns out that the driver genuinely didn't notice due to his high position and the flimsiness of the bike meaning that he wasn't aware of the impact.
  • Married to the Job: Jay, according to Mary. He neglected and walked out on his family to pursue his career.
  • Meaningful Look: Jay and Mary exchange a few of these now she has someone else.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Larry is not guilty. Season 1 does not go into the court case as much but he does prison time because of it.
  • Minority Police Officer: Season 1 has Jay Swan and Sharma. It's a diverse cast in general.
  • The Missus and the Ex: A particularly angsty one when Jay follows the sound of laughter to find Mary and Simon together.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: The first season involves the simultaneous disappearances of both a black teenager and a white one (although both are male), with many Aboriginal characters feeling this trope is in play during the investigation.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: Emma comes off as this, especially when she doesn't step away from an investigation that involves her family property. She says no one else is going to care about "an aboriginal kid and a drug dealer.. no offence". She does however appear to have a change of heart as the season progresses.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the second season, Mary realises that Simon is probably the Big Bad while having a romantic dinner with him at his isolated house.
  • One Degree of Separation: In the first season, the local sergeant Emma is the sister of the owner of the local cattle station, who is one of the suspects, and the ex-wife of the local Amoral Attorney who ends up representing practically everyone she arrests. Justified by the smallness of the town.
  • The Place: Also an Artifact Title. Mystery Road was an actual location in the original movie, but it does not appear in the series.
  • Police Brutality: Jay a little with Marley in Season 1, when he is sick of not getting any answers out of people who are clearly lying.
  • Pseudo Crisis: At the end of one episode of the first series, it's suggested that Shevorne's house has been broken into by Larry, who was sent to jail for raping and attempting to murder her. In the resolution to the cliffhanger, it turns out to be a different and much less threatening character.
  • Rats in a Box: Used in the first season by Jay and Emma to persuade Keith's two accomplices to confess, by making each of them think that the other is ratting them out.
  • Robbing the Dead: A major plot element of the second season is a conflict between the local Aboriginal people and a white archeologist excavating a site. The Aborigines see it as desecration of their ancestors' graves, while the archeologist sees it as expanding human knowledge and producing evidence of the past that could potentially be politically helpful to them.
  • Suppressed History: In the first season Emma discovers that one of her ancestors murdered a number of local Aborigines by poisoning the local spring. It turns out that the Aborigines remembered it, but Emma and her brother were left ignorant by their ancestors.
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