The year in local television docos gets off to a grim start with the three-part The Trouble With Murder. The series hopes to examine how the country's justice system has dealt with killers in its history, having had the death penalty from 1840 to its abolition in 1961.

And it talks to legal experts, law and order pundits alike - and some witnesses to murder - hoping to deliver what its makers say is "a balanced view and unique perspectives on a contentious, controversial and hotly debated subject."

But among the familiar talking heads - including Justice Moore, former Minister of Justice and Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Peter Williams QC, and the Sensible Sentencing Trust's Garth McVicar among others - the series also delves back into some pivotal local murder cases.

It includes cases that have caused public outcries and subsequent political pressure to change sentencing laws.


The first episode, Life for a Life, looks at sentencing today and what might have happened to today's convicted murderers in the time of capital punishment. It looks at what it means to be a "lifer" and what a supposed "life sentence" really means to those given it, but later paroled.

Second episode Passion, Power and Provocation looks at why people kill and who murderers are, while the third, The Cost of Murder, investigates parole and the real cost of murder on families of victims and for New Zealand society.

Also ... If you are a fan of shows featuring the letters "NCIS" in the title, good news - three of them are back on in the coming week. The relative squad newbie NCIS:New Orleans (starring Scott Bakula, pictured) heads back tomorrow night (Prime 8.30pm) with the team investigating the murder of a retired SEAL. That's followed by the 12th season of the original NCIS (TV3, Tuesday 8.30pm) and the sixth season of its Californian offshoot NCIS: LA (TV3. Tuesday, 9.30pm).

When: Mondays 8.30pm
Where: Prime
What: Dealing with the country's killers

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