Mark Coles Smith will lead the Jay Swan origin story.

Mark Coles Smith is set to take the baton from Aaron Pedersen and play a young Jay Swan in Mystery Road: Origin, ABC/Bunya Productions’ latest instalment in the crime drama franchise.

Set in 1999, the series will see Constable Jay Swan as young charismatic officer at his new station. Fresh from the city and tipped for big things, Jay might be the new copper, but he’s not new to this town. His estranged father Jack lives here, as does the woman who will change his life forever, Mary. 

Mystery Road: Origin will explore how a tragic death, an epic love, and the brutal reality of life as a police officer straddling two worlds, form the indelible mould out of which will emerge Detective Jay Swan. 

“Audiences have long been intrigued with the enigmatic detective,” said producer Greer Simpkin.

“Now we peel back the layers of Jay Swan, to discover what made him the man and the outback detective we know and love. Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road franchise has come full circle.”

Sally Riley, ABC head of drama, entertainment and Indigenous, said: “The ABC is excited to bring this new phase of Mystery Road to our audiences. The world and tone remain the same but we will unpick Jay and his enigmatic journey to becoming a detective. Who knows, we even may see him smile!”

The series, set to begin production later this year, will once again shoot in Western Australia, this time in the Goldfields region, specifically Kalgoorlie.

Taking the director reins this round is Dylan River; his father, Warwick Thornton shot the last series with Wayne Blair, while Rachel Perkins helmed season one.

Penny Smallacombe joins the producing team with David Jowsey and Simpkin, with scripts by Blake Ayshford, Steven McGregor, Kodie Bedford and Timothy Lee.

Lensing Mystery Road: Origin will be cinematographer Tyson Perkins, who worked with River on Robbie Hood.

Screen Australia has provided major production finance via the First Nations department, in association with Screenwest and support from Screen NSW.

All3Media International is once again on board handling international sales.

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