New Plymouth actor and cop team up for murder mystery television show
When Fern Sutherland got cast as a detective in a murder mystery show she asked an old school friend for insight into the world of crime fighting.
Although she had never really talked about what it was like deal with the harsh realities of being in the police force, New Plymouth constable Catherine Preston agreed to lend a hand,
"I don't like to take it home because I don't think its fair on my family and friends," Preston said.
"I choose to do this job and be exposed to what I am exposed to and I don't like my friends being exposed to that side of the real world. They live in their bubble...they don't need to see what we see."
Sutherland, who went to New Plymouth's Sacred Heart Girls' College with Preston, said she wanted to see that side of the job so she could play her part well.
So before filming for the first season of The Brokenwood Mysteries started, the television star went for a ride-along with Preston.
"It was hugely eye-opening. I guess we are conditioned to...think cops are gun toting, get stuff done, kind of people, who are always dealing with sexy things like murders and burglaries," Sutherland said.
"But I found that...they are more like social workers who are solving real problems and listening to people. There was a lot more of a human aspect that I hadn't really appreciated."
Sutherland also spoke to Preston's mentor, constable Julie Douglas, a cop who instilled a real sense of community-focus in her.
In return Sutherland was determined to play the part of a detective as close to the truth as she could.
Douglas thinks the Brokenwood team achieved that and judging by the rave reviews from the five countries the show has screened in, many share her view.
Sutherland and fellow Brokenwood lead actor Neill Rea, who is also from New Plymouth, were in town on Friday and called in to see the two cops who helped them with the show.
The duo have finished filming the second series of The Brokenwood Mysteries, which will air on Prime from the end of September. Season one begins re-screening on Saturday September 5 at 7.30pm.
* Sutherland, Preston, Douglas and Rea spoke to the Taranaki Daily News about what their jobs are really like. The full interview will be published as a feature in next Saturday's paper.