Discovery Channel’s “Dark Woods Justice” (airing 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 7) focuses on law enforcement at work not on the streets, but in the gloomy damp interior of the Olympic Peninsula.
Discovery Channel’s “Dark Woods Justice” (airing 10 p.m. Tuesday) plays a little like a deep woods “Cops” with better visuals, thanks to the show’s scenic Olympic Peninsula setting.
Produced for Discovery by Seattle-based PSG Films, “Dark Woods Justice” filmed primarily in Mason, Grays Harbor and Jefferson counties, according to Kyle Wheeler, the show’s executive producer for Discovery.
The premiere episode introduces and focuses on the work of Adam Newman of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Mason County Deputy Jason Sisson and Detective Jeff Rhoades, and Sgt. Don Kolilis of the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office.
‘Dark Woods Justice’
10 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, Discovery Channel.
Newman tracks thieves who cut maple trees and sell the wood, which can fetch thousands of dollars. One thief who’s interviewed — his identity disguised by a mask and the producers’ blurring — says he and a buddy made $45,000 for selling the wood from just one maple tree.
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“If you’re stealing, it’s 100 percent profit unless you go to prison,” says one criminal.
The show’s narrator talks a lot about the dark woods as an “untamed wilderness in America’s Pacific Northwest,” and the cloudy vistas and some spooky visuals do give the show a “Twin Peaks”-like vibe.
“In an effort to find locations that we as a network had previously not explored, we identified several regions of North America that were particularly intriguing, and the Olympic Peninsula really stood out,” Wheeler said. “One of the many things the producers of this series did so well was [to] capture the stunning, natural beauty that the peninsula has to offer. The photography is just remarkable.”
Deputies are shown tracking down a man who shot up a van, following up on a decades-old cold case, chasing a tip about unearthed human remains and going after maple thieves.
“The underbelly of our community feeds off the theft,” says one deputy. “They’re feeding off the forest.”
With a coverage area stretching thousands of square miles, Jefferson County offers plenty of terrain, but in the series premiere, Newman is just one of six deputies on patrol.
“What makes this show really unique is that a lot of the officers live in or around the counties they work in. Because they are all so personally connected to the peninsula, their drive and passion for the job is remarkable,” Wheeler said. “The resource cases [Newman] was working shed light on a darker side of the forest, a story we felt was important to share with the world. Resource crimes not only affect the communities of the peninsula, but when these criminals strip our protected state and national forests they are stealing from the American people.”
Production on “Dark Woods Justice” began last August and continued through April with three crews filming (one in each county covered). The first season comprises six episodes.
“It was a very long shoot because we wanted to dedicate the time to tell unique, compelling and intriguing stories,” Wheeler said. “This is not your average law-enforcement series, and the stories in this series are unlike ones most people have seen. We were not able to predict when we would get interesting stories, so that meant waiting for the right calls to come in.”