Bloodlands is a moody, powerful thriller for Line of Obligation admirers


hanks to the colossal rankings successes of our pals in AC-12, just about every new law enforcement drama introduced above the past 5 years or so has attempted to move by itself off as the new Line of Duty.

Bloodlands, a new 4 element collection from initial-time screenwriter Chris Brandon established all over Belfast, can make a far more convincing participate in for that title than most. The drama has Jed Mercurio’s seal of acceptance, for a single point: the Line of Duty showrunner was so taken with Brandon’s script, he snapped up the drama as the to start with job for HTM Television, the production business he shares with LoD producers Hat Trick.

It is not difficult to see what drew him to this intriguing story. When a auto belonging to a former IRA male named Pat Keenan is pulled from the h2o of Strangford Lough, DI Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt) is speedy to hook up a clue to a notorious chilly scenario dating again to the time of the peace system. An assassin code-named Goliath, a nod to one particular of the huge shipbuilding cranes that dominate the Belfast skyline, qualified figures associated in each sides of the negotiations, and with entry to crucial police intelligence, the killer could only have been an within male (or a bent copper, as Ted Hastings would unquestionably put it).

The revelation that “a member of the police was picking off targets at will,” as Brannick clarifies to his sidekick DS Niamh McGovern (Charlene McKenna), would have jeopardised the tough-received peace arrangement, and the investigation was buried.

<p>The cold case has deep significance for Brannick (James Nesbitt) </p>

The chilly case has deep importance for Brannick (James Nesbitt)

/ BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill

The Goliath situation has painful own significance for Brannick – his spouse, a armed service intelligence operative, was the killer’s ultimate sufferer two decades on, her overall body and all those of the other targets are nonetheless to be identified.  Keenan’s disappearance hands the detective a last likelihood to unmask the assassin who has haunted him all this time.

His colleagues, such as former pal DCS Twomey (Lorcan Cranitch), surely a wrong’un centered on how substantially time he spends glowering by means of windows, are concerned that churning up outdated grievances will ignite tensions that are never ever way too considerably from the area. Will Brannick’s dogged attempt to get justice for Goliath’s victims jeopardise this tentative peace? It definitely appears so – and Keenan’s paramilitary connections only serve to complicate the situation further more (what a pleasure to see Derry Girls’ Kathy Kiera Clarke crop up as Keenan’s inscrutable spouse Claire, who is the icy polar reverse to dippy Aunty Sarah and manages to interpret the most innocuous concern as a private insult).

Brannick and McGovern’s investigation threatens to open up old wounds

/ BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill

Brandon’s drama is infused with the type of area depth that can only genuinely be obtained by osmosis about a period of time of several years (he put in his formative yrs residing in Strangford with his grandparents) and regardless of the superficial similarities, it is this feeling for position that sets his exhibit aside from Line of Duty, which can take position in an unnamed location somewhere north of the M25.

Bloodlands is also a slower, moodier beast, and at times leans a little seriously into noirish detective drama tropes. Nesbitt and McKenna get to do a whole lot of staring into the center distance – but faced with landscapes as stark and striking as these,  I’d possibly do the exact.

Brandon’s script is tightly manufactured, and a shocking discovery in the initially episode’s closing times will go away you truly intrigued as to in which he will choose us upcoming.  Some collection are created to be gobbled down in a single sitting down, but Bloodlands feels like event tv in the most effective way – this is one particular to savour over the coming months.

Bloodlands airs Sundays on BBC A person at 9pm and is out there to stream on BBC iPlayer.