Fern Sutherland and The Brokenwood Mysteries


Fern Sutherland and co-star Neill Rea

Why would I post an article about Fern Sutherland and The Brokenwood Mysteries television show on my crime fiction author’s blog? For one thing I simply think The Brokenwood Mysteries is such a great show that I like telling others about it. After all, those who enjoy a good crime fiction novel often like great detective drama on television too. But I’m going to go a bit deeper than that by sharing a little about one of the characters in the show that I’ve come to admire.

Truth be told, even though I’ve on occasion crossed paths with a few of them, I’ve never been much impressed with movie or television celebrities.

I don’t read celebrity magazines or tune into Entertainment Tonight. I don’t watch the Oscars or the Emmy Awards. I don’t follow who the stars marry, what they do, where they live, what they drive, or who they hang around with. Same goes for musicians and famous athletes.

It isn’t that I don’t respect the talents of movie and television stars, or that I don’t appreciate the value of the entertainment experiences that they provide. It’s just that in my own general experience, the more you learn about a celebrity away from their big screen or small screen character roles, the less you find them to be people you would actually choose as friends, much less find a reason to admire.

A photo or an autograph from a celebrity has always been about the last thing on earth I would ever want. I can’t even imagine spotting a celebrity in public and then running up to them fawning and screaming their name. They are just people, right?

I’ve always felt that too many people put actors on pedestals when they have really done nothing for the world that is deserving of such hero worship. What’s all that fascination and appeal about anyway?

The real heroes, those most deserving of our admiration I believe are those who protect us and who put themselves at risk to protect and help others; like soldiers, firemen, police officers, and EMTs.

But then I discovered Fern Sutherland.

Fern Sutherland is a New Zealand actress, increasingly best known for her role as Detective Constable Kristin Sims in the hit New Zealand television police procedural series, The Brokenwood Mysteries, where she is part of a truly stellar cast

In addition to Sutherland, the cast includes Neill Rea as Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd, Nic Sampson as Detective Constable Sam Breen, and Cristina Ionda as Dr. Gina Kadinsky, medical examiner. Pana Hema Taylor as Jared Morehu, a Maori local who has many friends and interests and often finds himself involved in the murder investigations, rounds out the regular cast.

Just confirmed for its fourth season, The Brokenwood Mysteries, produced by South Pacific Pictures, has not just had a successful run inside New Zealand. The show has also achieved international recognition and acclaim as well, picking up a bronze world medal at the New York Festival International Television and Film Awards and fast becoming one of the most-watched television series in France.

Giving credit where credit is due, I was immediately impressed with Fern Sutherland’s acting abilities. As a retired police officer with more than 20 years service, I can be quite critical of television police procedural dramas which often requires one to suspend belief because they can be so unrealistic and technically deficient. But Kristin Sims is a very believable character. Sutherland has in my opinion even mastered the “look” and demeanor of a veteran police officer.

Yet I haven’t come to admire Fern Sutherland for her considerable acting talent or even for her good looks, although she is a strikingly stunning woman. I’ve come to admire her because of the person she is.

No, I haven’t met her personally and know her only vicariously through the articles I’ve read that have been written by those in the media who have interviewed her. But in all of the articles, I’ve seen a common theme that smacks of authenticity.

Fern Sutherland is a real person, where real in part is defined as one with a great sense of humor and who doesn’t take herself too seriously. I discovered that quite by chance when I stumbled across her social media accounts and read the amazingly witty things she shares with her friends and followers.

I was also impressed with the frankness with which Sutherland spoke to a Woman’s Day interviewer about her decades-long struggle with anxiety that produced not only stage fright but full-on panic attacks that even made her doubt her ability to continue acting. Where admiration comes in here for me is how instead of giving up the profession she was so passionate about, she persevered. She worked hard to learn and develop some coping mechanisms that helped her channel the anxiety into excitement and focus.

Finally, Fern Sutherland is a person of ethics and principles. This I think is no better exemplified than by her decision to join her flatmate and friend, fellow Kiwi actress, Michelle Langston, in a pact to embrace vegetarianism. Fern explains that her choice not to eat meat or dairy is “a little thing I do every day that makes me feel like I’m making a difference.”

Fern Sutherland it seems is destined for greatness as an actress. But I think she has already achieved greatness on a personal level, and that’s the reason I admire her. I admire her for the discipline she imposes on herself to achieve her goals. I can conceive of no higher praise than to say she is definitely someone I’d like having as a friend.

While I discovered Fern Sutherland and The Brokenwood Mysteries during the first season of the show while visiting New Zealand with my Kiwi partner, happily I’ve been able to continue watching the show here in the States via a subscription to Acorn TV. Apart from the fact that it is an amazingly entertaining show to watch with a super cast, another thing I like about the show is that much of it has been filmed in and around my partner’s New Zealand hometown, so I get to see a lot of familiar sights.

If you enjoy watching television detective drama shows like Midsomer Murders, you’ll love The Brokenwood Mysteries. You will also enjoy getting to know the very talented cast that includes Fern Sutherland in her role as Detective Constable Kristin Sims, a celebrity I find most worthy of admiration.





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