'Return to Paradise' Starts Filming Down Under, Officially Kicking Off 'Death in Paradise's Next Spinoff

Anna Samson as Mackenzie Clarke with a dingo in her jeep in 'Return to Paradise'

Anna Samson as Mackenzie Clarke in 'Return to Paradise'

John Platt/BBC

First, there was Death in Paradise, a little slice of sunshine froth set in the Caribbean on the island of Saint-Marie, where poor DI Richard Poole (Ben Miller) was sent to spend a couple of miserable seasons on a glorious paradise-like island solving murders until he himself was murdered in Season 3. Then there was Beyond Paradise, which began after Poole's replacement, DI Humphrey Goodman (Kris Marshall), who took over his position for the next three seasons, suddenly quit to follow his beloved Martha (Sally Bretton) back to Devon in the U.K. and set up shop solving mysteries in their version of paradise in the little town of Shipton Abbott. Since Goodman left, two more detectives have shipped out to Saint-Marie, DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O'Hanlon) and DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little), the latter of whom just exited the series. So it's not surprising there's now a new spinoff, Return to Paradise.... except it doesn't star either of them or anyone from Saint-Marie at all.

The new series, which is Death in Paradise's second official spinoff and the third series overall in what the BBC is insisting on calling the "Para-verse," is not related to the residents of Saint-Marie because it is not set on that island or in the U.K. Instead, it is set down under, in the wild paradise of Australia's Sapphire Coast in New South Wales, just about as far as you can get from Saint-Marie as it is from the U.K. The new series is less a direct spinoff of the parent series than a spiritual one, refashioning the show's original premise for a new location, that of a fish out of water detective forced to solve cases in one of the most beautiful places on Earth when in reality, they'd rather be just about anywhere else.

But the all-new cast does mean the series will do one thing the parent show has not managed thus far: the lead for Return to Paradise is the franchise's first female detective, with Anna Samson (Jack Irish) as DI Mackenzie Clarke.

The show’s synopsis is as follows:

Return to Paradise follows DI Mackenzie Clarke, an Australian ex-pat who’s made a name for herself in London’s Metropolitan Police for cracking uncrackable murder cases. When she is accused of tampering with evidence, Mackenzie returns to Australia, back to the last place she ever wanted to be – her hometown of Dolphin Cove. Having fled the town six years ago, infamously leaving her ex-fiancée Glenn at the altar, Mackenzie is not welcome there. But with no other job options and a unique talent for solving a mystery, no matter how challenging, a reluctant Mack joins the team at Dolphin Cove Police Station. Once a case lands on her desk, she can’t rest until she’s figured it out, and the killer is in handcuffs. It’s that tenacity and work ethic that might just, over time, help Mackenzie win over her new colleagues and the people of Dolphin Cove.

Samson co-stars alongside Lloyd Griffith (Nolly), Tai Hara (Colin From Accounts), Catherine McClements (Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries), Celia Ireland (Wentworth), Andrea Demetriades (The Artful Dodger) and Aaron McGrath (Gold Diggers). Guest stars will be announced closer to the show’s premiere. Filming is currently underway in various locations across Sydney and the idyllic Illawarra coastal region, with the plan for the new series to have “a distinctively Australian flair, while paying homage to the “Paraverse.” 

The series is co-created and executive-produced by Peter Mattessi, James Hall, and Robert Thorogood. The producer is Di Haddon. Executive producers for BBC Studios Productions Australia are Kylie Washington and Warren Clarke, for Red Planet Pictures, are Belinda Campbell and Tim Key, and for ABC are Rachel Okine and Brett Sleigh.

Return to Paradise will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK, and on ABC and ABC iview in late 2024. No word if the show will come to BritBox like the other “Paraverse” shows or if the Australian setting will cause it to land on Acorn TV.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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