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NZ Detectives Series 1 - In Pursuit of the Truth



Now available on Vimeo to download and stream

Who are the tenacious detectives solving New Zealand’s most serious crimes?

This three part documentary series gives viewers a privileged glimpse into the gritty world of the Detectives of the CIB – The Criminal Investigation Branch of the NZ Police.

Handpicked and highly trained, the Detectives target killers, rapists, robbers and crooks and deliver them to justice. NZ Detectives – In Pursuit of the Truth asks: who are the unheralded investigators responsible for cracking our most baffling and notorious crimes? How do they do it? Above all, what drives their determination to dismantle a crime, piece by painstaking piece, in their dogged quest to unlock the truth?

It’s a giant jigsaw puzzle that gets thrown up in the air and you’ve gotta put it all together again.

Detective Inspector Mike Arnerich

Produced with the complete co-operation from the NZ Police, NZ Detectives – In Pursuit of the Truth celebrates the painstaking work that this dedicated team undertake day-in and day-out.

Former and current Detectives shed light on the challenges of dealing with the very worst elements of our society, in interviews that are surprisingly frank and in equal parts amusing and chilling.  Dramatisations bring to life the ‘whodunnits’ that they deal with and paint a picture of the worlds of violent crime.

NZ Detectives – In Pursuit of the Truth explores the untold stories behind some of the key moments in our nation’s war on crime, as told by the men and women who must pick-up the pieces.  


This three part documentary holds a magnifying-glass up to the detectives, taking the viewer inside the heads of these elite police officers. Renown for being highly sceptical of the media, here the detectives finally let down their guards and speak openly about poignant or significant moments in their careers.

What kind of person puts their hand up to deal with the swinging pendulum of serious crime? What drives these people to front-up, ask the hard questions, present un-wanted realities and ultimately take risks to get the truth? What are the residual damages? How on earth do they cope, dealing with death and desperation day in and out?

Despite huge advances in science and technology and the sophisticated suite of tools detectives use, this series celebrates the “D’s” famous persistence, grit and devotion to justice.

Across the 3 episodes, current and former members of the CIB talk about their work. The candid interviews are unexpected, challenging and all-too human.  The tone swings from wry and witty, to suddenly pragmatic and blunt – after all the business of crime is ‘Tough. You are dealing with some of society’s worst bloody human beings.’ (Former Detective Inspector Steve Rutherford).

The series brings to life extraordinary cases in New Zealand’s criminal history – cases that touched and changed a nation. Here they are embedded with a deeply personal twist, directly from the mouths of the detectives who solved the cases.

One detective likens being invited to join the CIB as ‘being asked to join a secret society’, and the overall impact of this 3 part documentary echoes that sentiment. NZ Detectives – In Pursuit of the Truth goes behind closed doors – beyond the official media strategy and the strict formalities normally displayed by cops on television.

The’ war stories’ are powerfully complemented by dramatised sequences of the twists and turns of the unfolding case – both the offending itself and the investigation that follows.  The weaving of the drama and documentary strands makes the stories rich and compelling. 

The use of archival footage serves to anchor the stories in different eras of our recent history, bringing the reality of the situations home. Nostalgia can soften the blow but NZ Detectives – In Pursuit of the Truth is undeniably about New Zealanders dealing with distinctly New Zealand crime.

From parcel bombs to executions, mince pies and nightmares, kidnaps, multimillion dollar drug busts – the range of stories is staggering. NZ Detectives – In Pursuit of the Truth leaves no stone unturned.

In making the series, Gibson Group appreciated the support of the New Zealand Police and the generosity of the detectives and experts who bravely shared their stories, allowing us a glimpse into their worlds. It was a privilege.  


The Detectives of the CIB are intensively trained police officers tasked to investigate serious crimes such as homicides, aggravated violent offending, drug offences and fraud.

Their targets are often hardened, recidivist, organised criminals. Outsmarting them means employing a sophisticated suite of techniques but above all, it demands an unflinching commitment to each case. Without the relentless tenacity and gut instinct of the Detectives, many serious offences would go cold and unanswered for decades.

New Zealand got its first national civil police force in 1886 and the CIB was there from Day One, as an inherent and necessary part of the force.

Because crime is fluid and constantly evolving, the CIB has an intelligence-driven approach which dismantles crimes. When a murder is discovered, a GBH reported or armed robbery called-in it is the men and women of the CIB who must figure out ‘whodunit.’ They are tasked with the sometimes impossible mission of soliciting the truth.

Many consider it to be the intellectual pinnacle of policing – mystery and intrigue with the ultimate in job satisfaction. As one detective puts it ‘if you enjoyed it – you loved it.’ For another it was what he joined the police for – solving the mysteries and getting the most exciting cases, it ‘was my passion, the reason I joined the police and I never wanted it to fail.’ After two years on the beat a constable may apply for a transfer to the CIB. However, like other elite squads within the police – it’s invite-only. Certainly there is both a formal and informal veto process. Formally, acceptance not only depends on general qualifications, but a proven a high level of zeal and intelligence in policing to date.

The CIB have ready access to firearms – most carry their own – and though they operate in squads depending on where the specific crimes fall, the work often demands that they covertly work in pairs. Three Detectives have been killed on the job since 1963 while many have suffered injuries that they consider ‘go with the job.’

Technical Specifications

TV Production

3 x 1 hour for TV One

First aired: Ep 1 Monday 8th Nov 2010, Ep 2 Monday 15th Nov 2010, Ep 3 Monday 22nd Nov 2010

M+E available

international Distributions: Crime Down Under: The Detectives

Represented by TVF International

Contact will.stapley@tvf.co.uk

Senior Sales Executive