Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar excels in spell-binding Irish TV drama Blood - Liam Rudden

THE best thing about being late to the party is that by the time you get there it’s already in full swing, allowing you to dive straight in.

That’s what happened when I was invited to check out the digital and DVD box set release of the Irish drama Blood - released earlier this week by Acorn Media International.

Blood stars Adrian Dunbar, best know to millions of TV viewers as Superintendent Ted Hastings, the chief of police anti-corruption unit AC-12 in Line of Duty. A psychological thriller by Sophie Petzal, the first series of Blood tells the story of Jim Hogan, a much respected local doctor who finds himself placed under suspicion for the death of his wife by his youngest daughter Cat - a mesmerising performance by Carolina Main.

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In the second series, with the Hogan family still a long way from finding peace, the death of another loved one finds the finger pointing at another family member. Either way, with a dead body to contend with, someone has Blood on their hands.

Knowing none of this when I popped the DVD in the player, the plan was to watch an episode and see what all the fuss was about - the brother in law had raved about the series when he watched it on Channel 5. That plan quickly evolved when, gripped by the first instalment, I let the second episode run on, and the third.... six hours or so later the credits rolled on the end of the first series of the saga - so gripping was the tale.

The TV equivalent of a book that can not be put down, Blood is a beautifully crafted piece of drama. There’s not a weak link in the cast; Dunbar is worryingly threatening and loving in equal measure, Grainne Kennan as elder daughter Fiona gives a nicely layered performance and Ingrid Craigie, as the family matriarch turns in a remarkable and blisteringly emotional turn, that is quite breath-taking.

Not a huge TV fan these days, there are few modern dramas that can entice me to watch more than one or two episodes let along binge watch a whole series or two at a time. Blood does just that.

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It’s an often used cliché that the most gripping tales have unexpected twists and turns, Petzal ramps that concept up to another level. From episode to episode, minute to minute, characters’ motives are almost impossible to nail down as the action ebbs and flows then twists and switches until, just when you think you have it sussed, Petzal pulls the rug out from under your feet once again.

Television doesn’t come much better than this, but then when you have a cast as faultless as the one assembled here, that shouldn’t really be a surprise.

The problem with being late to the party, however, is that having thrown yourself into the action, it always feels like you’re the first to leave when you then have to wait for another series.

Blood Series 2 (15) is now available on DVD priced £24.99 with the Series 1 and 2 Box Set also on sale priced £34.99. Blood is also now available on digital download


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