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Season 1: Solid drama even if it falls short of its "The Wire" aspirations (but what doesn't?)
Twenty-three immigrants are found dead in a shipping container. Aspiring Taoiseach Miles Carrick seeks to capitalise on it to give him yet more media exposure in the run up to the election. As a result of the story journalist Terry Corcoran gets involved with Albania woman Satya, who believes her sister is either one of the dead or has been trafficked to Ireland to work in the strip clubs and brothels. Meanwhile his ex, Maureen Boland is offered a career move from press secretary for the Guardia to work directly for Carrick's campaign. It is not long though, before Carrick's search for a missing girl starts to merge into a web of lies, corruption and murder.
With only one comment on this title at IMDb (from Australia at that) and all four episodes rushed out over two very late night slots on BBC I must admit that I was sort of assuming that this show would be terrible. However on the contrary I found it to be quite enjoyable as it builds an effective if obvious story from the beginnings of a simple case up into the realms of political corruption. On paper it offered the intelligence of HBO's The Wire with a plot that extends from crime in the shadows and on the streets up to those in the highest offices. Once it comes to the delivery though it turns out that, like pretty much everything else on earth, it falls far short of The Wire's greatness but what this leaves the viewer with is still a competent enough dramatic thriller.
It goes where you expect it to but it does it in a comparatively straightforward fashion. The build is nice but it is not shocking or insightful as I would have liked. That said it did engage me and the decision to end on a downbeat, defeatist note (not unlike The Wire) did please me in a rather morbid way. The cast don't get to the heart of their characters as much as I would have liked but they still do what is asked of them. Lynch leads the cast well and he produces an effective relationship with his co-stars including Brady, O'Toole, Qureshi and others. The direction and cinematography allow for the Dublin the tourists don't see to be presented in a gritty and convincing fashion.
Overall then a solid drama series that develops in an engaging arch from dead immigrants to the highest office in the land. It is not just the echoes with season 2 that makes me compare it to The Wire because the approach (if not the end product) is similar and, had I not already seen how good the HBO show was then maybe I would have been won over more by this. That aside though, this is still an engaging and short Irish drama and, while not brilliant, certainly deserves to be seen by more people than IMDb suggests it has been.
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