The Gone: Kiwi/Irish crime show comes to BBC Four

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The Irish / New Zealand  crime show The Gone season one

While the Irish broadcaster RTÉ may not have the resources of the BBC or HBO, it has canny knack for collaborating with producers in other countries to jointly invest in high-quality crime shows. Hidden Assets was surprisingly good, given the unlikely linkup between an Irish fraud squad and a Belgian counter terrorism unit. North Sea Connection dealt with drug smuggling between Sweden and the wild west coast of Ireland. Now you can add The Gone to your watchlist – with episodes one and two arriving on BBC Four in the UK from 9pm on Saturday 16 March.

Created for RTÉ and TVNZ, The Gone begins with the disappearance of Irish couple Ronan Garvey and Sinéad Martin from a remote town in New Zealand. Garda detective Theo Richter, played by Richard Flood of Shameless and Grey’s Anatomy, travels to New Zealand to assist young Māori cop Diana Huia (Acushla-Tara Kupe) with the case. The couple happen to have disappeared from Diana’s home town, to which she is reluctant to return, while Theo has sworn that he’s leaving the police following this case.

There are signs of a struggle where the couple were living, and immediately local people believe there’s a connection to the murder of another pair of tourists years earlier. The killer was never caught. However, this case might not fit the same pattern. One angle involves drugs and a possible link between the missing couple and Irish organised crime. As a search takes place for Ronan and Sinéad, investigative journalist Aileen Ryan (Carolyn Bracken) arrives and starts digging, putting herself in danger.

The Gone crime show Ireland New Zealand
Irish gangster Fallon (Aaron Monaghan) threatens journalist Aileen (Carolyn Bracken).

All the while, conflict is bubbling up in the town between Māori people, who want to protect their sacred land, and a major business interest. When hope emerges that Sinéad may be alive, appeals are made and the hunt for her intensifies, however bodies are discovered and there’s a renewed possibility that the Mountain Murderer is back, or that a copycat killer has struck. Perhaps the town is threatened by something bigger, and Theo and Diane need to confront their demons at the same time as facing down that danger?

New Zealand Irish crime show The Gone
Buster Huai (Wayne Hapi) won’t watch sacred land destroyed.

Like everything from The Lord of the Rings movies to Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake, The Gone makes the most of New Zealand’s unspoilt mountain scenery, with filming in Auckland and in Te Aroha. It’s an inclusive production with 40 per cent of the crew from the Māori community and five per cent of the dialogue in te reo Māori. Each episode is 55 minutes long and will be available on BBC iPlayer from broadcast date. A second season is in production, with rumours that part of the story is to take place in Dublin.

New Zealand crime fiction author Michael Bennett was one of the writers and developers of The Gone. If you enjoy it or want to find out more about Kiwi crime fiction, see our review of his debut Better the Blood, here.

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