Bloodlands Is The New Irish Noir Rivalling The BBC’s Bodyguard

Alicia Lansom
·2-min read

If you’re someone who enjoys nail-biting primetime thrillers, you might well consider the BBC’s Bodyguard a vanguard of the genre. An emotional rollercoaster surrounding a fictional home secretary and her private security guard, the series fast became the BBC’s most watched drama in a decade. While fans have been waiting with bated breath since 2018’s record-breaking finale, there’s still no official word on whether we will get a sequel to the much discussed thriller. Thankfully, to tide us over in the meantime, the show’s creators have a new crime drama heading to BBC One on 21st February.

Starring James Nesbitt (The Missing) as Detective Tom Brannick, Bloodlands tells the story of an Irish assassin returning to haunt a small community. Set in and around Belfast and County Down, the series begins as Detective Brannick and his partner DS Niamh McGovern (Charlene McKenna) investigate a sunken car in a nearby loch. As they inspect the vehicle, they discover a postcard taped to the inside of the window, a detail which is alarmingly reminiscent of an old cold case. Concealing the information from the wider team, Brannick reveals that the same calling card was used during a string of unsolved missing person cases in 1998, including one with major personal significance.

Concerned by their discovery, Brannick takes the information to an old colleague, Jackie Twomey (Lorcan Cranitch), who warns him not to pull at old threads. But the stark similarities between the two cases become too much to ignore, causing Brannick and McGovern to go hunting through old case files. It turns out that the original investigation was halted by police for fear of upsetting peace negotiations, with the crimes happening just weeks before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. Hiding the case from public view, the suspect was never caught, remaining a faceless figure known only as ‘Goliath’ among the police force. But with the staged suicide at the loch showing signs of the mystery criminal’s work, Brannick decides it’s time to seek justice for the victims, as well as gain some much-needed closure for himself and his daughter.

Although it starts off slow, Bloodlands soon immerses itself in the dark and sticky history of the Goliath case. From the amount of information missed by the police during the original investigation to the eerie similarities connecting it to the car in the loch, we are left unsure where the show can take us next. But with the hive mind behind Bodyguard, Line Of Duty and Bloody Sunday at the helm, we’re sure that the three remaining instalments will keep us guessing until the end.

Bloodlands starts at 9pm on 21st February on BBC One

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