Accompanied by haunting memories of his service time in World War II, Dr Lucian Blake returns home to Australia after 30 years to take over his deceased father's medical practice. As he deals with his own personal loss and changed by his war experiences, the wry, personable doctor performs his other role as police surgeon with gusto. His unconventional and unpredictable manner unnerve some, but it becomes clear Dr Blake is ahead of his time in his use of forensic science, and in his own understanding of the human heart, to help solve murder mysteries in the country town of Ballarat.
When a young woman’s body is found floating in Lake Wendouree, Dr Blake can’t help digging deeper into the mystery. There is more to the case than meets the eye. Blake is certain the deceased girl - a runaway from the local reform school - was dead before she was dumped in the water. The autopsy proves his theory but finding the killer is more complicated. As the murder case unfolds, Chief Superintendent Lawson seems certain the local teenage rebels and the burgeoning drug trade in pills are to blame. Dr Blake senses some sort of connection and he pieces together the puzzle in his own unconventional way by bluffing his way into the reform school to question the ‘bad’ girls, and then later swallowing illicit pills to determine their content. In a classic whodunit, Dr Blake sifts through suspects including the young male teacher at the girls’ reformatory, Pip Morrissey and local hoon Ricky Arnott, before revealing the culprit..
On the eve of Anzac Day, Dr Blake (Craig McLachlan) bumps into a former British Army colleague at the police station, Major Derek Alderton (Neil Pigot). Alderton is in town, trying to track down two army deserters believed to be hiding out in the area. But before they can reminisce, Dr Blake is called to the morgue where the body of the attendant, Bert Prentice, lies with shocking injuries in a pool of blood. Chief Superintendent Lawson (Joel Tobeck) immediately suspects the obvious culprit, the former morgue attendant Ron Jackson (Jamieson Caldwell). Ron was sacked to make way for the new boy, Hugh (Brendan Bacon), and it appears Ron has also done a runner...what more evidence do you need? But when Constable Parks (Rick Donald) finds lowlife Gordon McRae (Patrick Kelleher) snooping in Bert's bachelor pad, he adds him to the list of suspects. Meanwhile on the home front, tension is growing between Dr Blake and his housekeeper Jean (Nadine Garner). Convinced he doesn't need her, Jean threatens to leave. Blake responds by wishing her well with a job interview! The mystery deepens when a local woman starts bothering Dr Blake with fake symptoms - even though she looks fine. Blake wonders whom she is protecting
When a travelling salesman dies in a single car accident on a quiet country road, Chief Superintendant Lawson (Joel Tobeck) labels it a drink driving case. But when Constable Parks reveals the corpse's face was blue, Dr Blake (Craig McLachlan) is intrigued. Although the victim's clothes reek of alcohol, Blake concludes that the salesman was not drunk and certainly died before the crash. But how? And why is the face blue? Dr Blake and Jean (Nadine Garner) head to the boarding house where the dead salesman had been staying. In town for the appliance fair, the state's top vacuum salesmen pitch their new vacuum cleaners to Jean - who is desperate for a new machine. With everyone distracted, Blake snoops around the boarding house and finds a locked basement. Lawson considers the obvious culprits however Dr Blake follows his own hunches until he makes an alarming discovery that shocks everyone.
When a delirious prisoner on death row tells Dr Blake he is innocent of the police shooting for which he is soon to hang, Blake is stunned - and believes him. But no one else seems interested in uncovering the truth. Irish immigrant Sean McBride is accused of shooting a policeman, Clive Cooper. Sealing his fate on death row, Sean originally pleaded guilty to the crime and refused to defend himself in court. The town is divided over the rights and wrongs of capital punishment. The police rally around their own, determined to get 'justice'. District Nurse Mattie O'Brien is vehemently against capital punishment and finds herself at loggerheads with friend Danny Parks. Constable Parks arrived at the crime scene just minutes after the shooting that fateful day and Sean McBride even shot at him. Danny desperately wants to back his copper mates but starts to doubt the evidence as Dr Blake asks more and more pertinent questions. The closer Blake gets to the shocking truth, the tighter the circle closes.
When the Begonia Festival's head judge is found incinerated in his own glasshouse, all eyes turn to two feuding contestants. Nick Manos and Charles Griffiths are lifelong rivals at everything, thanks to a family argument that started back in 1870. They are also fierce competitors in the flower festival. The day before the head flower judge died, Manos publicly accused him of taking bribes and threatening him. Charles Griffith also has motive. It is an event also marred by the sudden collapse of another judge, heiress Angela Waterston. Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson suspects it could be either of the men. The autopsy reveals how the professor was murdered however vested interests want to keep it quiet until after the festival. Lawson agrees and Dr Lucien Blake reluctantly takes Professor Ormond's place on the judging panel. Entrant Maria Manos thrills locals by publicly demanding pageant host, Charles Griffith, shake hands and end the family feud with her father. She then announces her engagement to Griffith's son, Oliver. Meanwhile Dr Blake is asked to walk the terminally ill heiress, Angela, down the aisle and do the bridal waltz, to which he agrees despite loathing dancing. Back at Dr Blake's surgery, an airmail letter arrives from Singapore, giving him hope of finding his missing wife and daughter. Are people really murdering over their prize winning begonias - or is there something more sinister going on?
The death of a foreman at a shoe factory looks like a hideous industrial accident. The body of Polish migrant Giulio Mosca is found mangled in a press, with his hand amputated. It's the fourth accident in nine months. Police Surgeon, Dr Lucien Blake, is furious the factory has such a lack of safety measures and calls for its immediate closure. The owner, local businessman Patrick Tyneman, admits there was no safety guard on the press despite Blake's previous two reports calling for it to be added. Things get physical and Chief Superintendant Matthew Lawson has to intervene. Dr Blake leaks a story about the industrial accident to a reporter, hoping the pressure will force Tyneman to improve safety. Meanwhile, Blake's housekeeper, Jean Beazley, auditions for the town's play even though she knows the lead will go to the usual actress. She rehearses and eventually succeeds in securing a part in The Importance of Being Ernest. The deeper Dr Blake digs into the foreman's death, the more suspicious he becomes about the veil of silence between the migrants at the shoe factory. What exactly are they hiding?
A psychiatric inmate, David Hoyle, is the clear culprit in the fatal stabbing of a nurse at Blackhill Asylum. When Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson and Police Surgeon Dr Lucien Blake arrive at the crime scene, Hoyle is having electro convulsive therapy. Still confused after the shock treatment, Hoyle tells Blake and Lawson he thinks he killed nurse Violet Ashby but cannot recall the incident. Lawson says Hoyle was found crouched near the body holding a large kitchen knife. However Dr Blake is not convinced. A voluntary patient at the institution, Oriel Vogel, surprises Dr Blake when she turns up unannounced at his surgery with a painting she's done of him. She has also done a moody portrait of David Hoyle, which interests Blake. Back at the asylum Blake tests his theory in a rather unorthodox manner. At home, Blake consoles his ego with a bottle of Scotch whisky and ends up terribly drunk. When Jean helps him to bed late at night, she takes the opportunity to read his private letters from Singapore. She finds a photo of Blake with his family, dated September 1940.
Handsome challenger, James Holbrook, takes out the jackpot, all the prizes and £1,000, on the popular TV quiz show Game of Champions and is then found dead from what appears to be a heart attack. However Chief Superintendent Matthew Lawson and Dr Lucien Blake find evidence of sabotage. When the locals make deaths threats against a suspect, Blake takes him home like a lost animal, much to Jean's annoyance. Simon tells Blake every detail about the patterns in people's movements on the quiz show, giving Blake useful insights. The number of suspects is growing, as are the motives. Dr Blake turns to Jean, Mattie and Daniel to help him make sense of the baffling case. He gets them to role-play a whodunnit version of the quiz show with a surprising answer.
A prospector announces to a crowded pub that he has struck gold, and later that night is found dead at the bottom of his mine shaft after showing off the nugget in the pub. When he examines the crime scene, Police Surgeon Dr Lucien Blake is overcome with anxiety in the claustrophobic mine - a result of distressing war memories. Even in this state, Dr Blake spots clues no one else sees. Chief Superintendent Lawson and Dr Blake break the news to the dead man's landlady, Margaret Reid, although her reaction makes Blake immediately suspicious. Back home, Jean is fitting Mattie for a red bridesmaid's dress for her best friend Eadie's wedding. When Eadie's fiancé, Russ, gives her a ruby and diamond engagement ring, Mattie wonders where he got the money. Later that night Eadie, and Russ sweaty with fever and an injured hand, turn up at Dr Blake's practice for medical assistance. Dr Blake doggedly follows other clues and hunches, and it turns out the prospector may have picked a very unlucky place to find his gold.
The suicide of the local hospital’s first female doctor shocks the community. Dr Blake suspects foul play and sets out to find the murderer amongst the staff and board of the hospital. Meanwhile, another letter from Singapore arrives for Lucien. It takes him days to work up the courage to open it. His reaction to the news about his missing wife and daughter shocks Jean, Mattie and Danny.