- TV Series
- 2021– 2021–
Northern Irish police officer DCI Tom Brannick connects a kidnapping with an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance.Northern Irish police officer DCI Tom Brannick connects a kidnapping with an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance.Northern Irish police officer DCI Tom Brannick connects a kidnapping with an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance.
Top-billed James Nesbit is the gnarled old detective who returns to his homeland on the trail of a serial killer who twenty years ago threatened to derail the Good Friday Peace Agreement between the United Kingdom and Ireland by disappearing prominent persons of both political persuasions, one of whom happened to be his wife. The affair was hushed up at the time under political expediency and the believed perpetrator, code-named Goliath, never caught.
Now, an ex-IRA chief has been honey-trapped and abducted and Nesbit and his team race to rescue him, but when they do, they find at the crime scene a calling-card identical to that used by Goliath at the scenes of the old disappearances. Working under his old friend and colleague Lorcan Cranach, another who worked on the original fruitless investigation, Nesbit is forced to revisit his past, darkly, confront his present and fear for the future, this in the form of his doted-upon daughter as he leads his team in this new investigation.
It's impossible watching this not to do a read-across to "Line Of Duty", from the brooding background music, a plot to frame a DCS, including a particularly intense interrogation by a female Internal Affairs supremo, the serpentine twists in the ever-deepening tale and an "L.O.D."-type "didn't-see-that-coming" moment which in this series occurs at the end of episode two. Even the personnel seems naggingly familiar at times, none more so than Vicky McClure lookalike Charlene McKenna as Nesbit's intuitive second-in-command.
Besides that shocking scene, there were several other tense set-piece extended sequences, like the chase to find the kidnapped victim, the excavations of a burial site on a remote island, the abduction of Nesbit's daughter, the fitting-up of Cranach's character and the final denouement which included another dramatic shooting.
I appreciated the relative concision in reducing the story to four as opposed to the more usual six episodes of this type of fare and also welcomed the Northern Ireland casting and settings. In the end though I found the narrative a bit too impenetrable and far-fetched to fully connect with what I was seeing. At times, I was too actively conscious of being manipulated by events as well as never quite escaping the familiarity of certain characters and tropes from that other show.
James Nesbit acted with a sort of nervous energy I didn't always think sat well with his rather one-dimensional character but Lorcan Cranach was better as his boss, who gets reluctantly sucked into events and I was also impressed by McKenna, slightly underused as the perceptive D.S. McGovern, Chris Walley as the keen-to-impress, geeky young lapdog cop and Lisa Dwan as the mysterious woman who links the past and present crimes. At one point too, I half-expected to see the rest of the "Derry Girls" cast make an appearance but that settled down about halfway through.
A credible, creditable drama, not quite one to get obsessed by, but better than much of what passes for entertainment on television these days, although I suspect it will fade in the memory as series 6 of you-know-what gets underway..
- Mar 15, 2021