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Death in Paradise casts Anna Samson as new detective in spin-off Return to Paradise – details

Home and Away star Anna Samson will play DI Mackenzie Clarke

Ralf Little and Anna Samson split image
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
Updated: 9 April 2024
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Death in Paradise has announced the cast of its upcoming Australian spin-off series, Return to Paradise, as filming commences Down Under. 

The drama follows London Met star Mackenzie Clarke, who returns to her hometown of Dolphin Cove in Australia after an incident at work. But having left the town – and her ex-fiancée – six years earlier, she doesn't receive a warm welcome back. After joining the team at Dolphin Cove Police Station, it's not long before she's faced with her first murder case.

Leading the cast as Mackenzie is former Home and Away actress Anna Samson. She stars alongside Lloyd Griffith (Ted Lasso), Tai Hara (Home and Away), Catherine McClements (Total Control), Celia Ireland (Wentworth), Andrea Demetriades (The Artful Dodger) and Aaron McGrath (Gold Diggers).

Anna Samson as DI Mackenzie Clarke in Return to Paradise© John Platt
Anna Samson star as DI Mackenzie Clarke in Return to Paradise

Filming is underway in various locations across Sydney and the idyllic Illawarra coastal region, with a release date yet to be announced for the six-part whodunit.

The full synopsis reads: "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 (Tai Hara) at the altar, Mackenzie is not welcome here."

Death in Paradise series 13 cast© Red Planet Pictures/Denis Guyenon
The upcoming series is a spin-off of the hit murder-mystery drama Death in Paradise

It continues: "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."

Co-creator and executive producer Peter Mattessi said of the series: "I'm beyond excited to welcome Producer Di Haddon and our two fabulous directors Mat King and Tenika Smith who are coming together with our amazing cast to bring the world of Return to Paradise to life. 

Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker in Death in Paradise © Red Planet Pictures/Denis Guyenon
Ralf Little recently left his role as DI Neville Parker in Death in Paradise

"We are having so much fun creating this brand-new mystery series that brings an Australian twist to one of the globe’s most successful television franchises.  We think audiences in Australia, UK and around the world are going to fall in love with our wonderful characters, our delicious whodunits, and our gorgeous coastal Australian locations."

The announcement comes just weeks after Ralf Little stepped down from his role as lead detective DI Neville Parker in the flagship drama, Death in Paradise.

WATCH: Ralf Little announces departure from Death in Paradise

 Revealing the reason behind his departure during an appearance on ITV's Lorraine last week, Ralf explained: "This last series was always going to be my last series. I spoke to the BBC and Red Planet, the production company, and we all agreed.

DI Neville Parker preparing to board a plane © BBC
Ralf felt it was time for Neville's happy ending

"If it was just a heart decision I would have wanted to do it for 20 more years. But just for the show and for my character Neville it just sort of felt like his story was finished and his journey deserved to be completed. He deserved a happy ending and it just felt right ."

Death in Paradise is available on BBCiPlayer. 

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