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Anna Samson in Return to Paradise© BBC

Death in Paradise spin-off Return to Paradise gets major update – details

Anna Samson stars as the franchise's first lead detective, Mackenzie Clarke

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
July 1, 2024
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Filming for the upcoming Death in Paradise spin-off series, Return to Paradise, has officially wrapped. 

The highly-anticipated six-parter is set in Australia and follows the franchise's first female lead detective Mackenzie Clarke, a high-flying Met Police officer. After being accused of tampering with evidence, Mackenzie returns home Down Under and it's not long before she's investigating her first murder case. 

Taking to Instagram in June, leading star Anna Samson revealed that filming had ended on the series. Alongside a selfie with her cast mates Lloyd Griffith, Tai Hara, and Aaron McGrath, the Home and Away actress said she was "heartbroken" that shooting had finished. "I got to spend the last three months with these three lads," penned the 34-year-old. "I love them more than I can say. We wrapped our show this week and my heart is broken that they will no longer be contractually obliged to spend time with me."

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Filming on the series began back in April, taking place in various locations across Sydney and the idyllic Illawarra coastal region. While a release date has yet to be confirmed, the show will arrive on BBC One and iPlayer later this year. 

Anna stars as DI Mackenzie Clarke, who returns to her hometown of Dolphin Cove six years after leaving her fiancée at the altar. 

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

The full synopsis reads: "Return to Paradise follows DI Mackenzie Clarke (Anna Samson), 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 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."

Anna Samson will play Mackenzie
Anna Samson is known for her roles in Home and Away and Dead Lucky

Starring alongside Anna, Lloyd, Tai and Aaron are Catherine McClements, Celia Ireland, and Andrea Demetriades.

The update comes just months after the end of Death in Paradise series 13, which marked Ralf Little's final turn as DI Neville Parker.

Ralf Little as DI Neville Parker on Death in Paradise © Red Planet Pictures/Denis Guyenon
Ralf Little played DI Neville Parker on Death in Paradise for four years

Explaining his decision to leave the drama after four years, Ralf said he felt Neville's story had finished and that his "journey deserved to be completed".

WATCH: Ralf Little breaks silence over Death in Paradise exit

Actor Don Gilet, known for his roles in EastEnders and Shetland, has taken over as the new lead, playing Detective Inspector Mervin Wilson in the upcoming Christmas special and season 14. 

 Ralf Little’s replacement on Death in Paradise is Don Gilet© Philippe_VIRAPIN
Don Gilet has replaced Ralf as the new lead

On landing the iconic role, Don said: "Being offered the new lead role in Death in Paradise feels like a deeply loved and incredibly precious jewel has been placed in my hands. This is a big show, with a big heart and the love continually grows for it. 

"It is my intention to never lose sight of that and to remain grateful, humbled and dedicated. Even during those testing times when every sinew is screaming at me to run off the set and dive into the sea, swimming pool or an ice-cold beer – whichever happens to be closer at the time!"

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