Did you spot the shark in Dublin Murders? - Liam Rudden

I LOVED Love Hate, the Dublin set crime drama set in the underbelly of the Irish Capital, and Red Rock, the closest thing an Irish TV company has come to producing a police procedural like The Bill, rocked.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 5:28 pm
Updated Friday, 8th November 2019, 5:38 pm
Dublin Murders
Dublin Murders

In recent years, Irish dramas have come into their own. Gritty, and true to life they have boasted a visceral appeal and proved so much less self-aware than much of the output from ITV and the BBC these days. So it was with some anticipation I sat down to binge on the recent BBC/RTE drama Dublin Murders.

Adapted from novelist Tana French’s bestselling books, Dublin Murders is described as ‘a darkly enthralling new drama.’

It blends the first two novels in the Dublin Murder Squad series (In The Woods and The Likeness) to produce an eight-part series laced with ‘psychological mystery and darkness’.

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It’s ‘roots’ are ‘sunk deep in Ireland’s past’, warns the blurb. If I’d read that before watching, I might have spotted the hokum that lay ahead.

Still, the casting proved an attractive prospect Killian Scott, of Love Hate fame, Sarah Greene and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, another favourite from Love Hate, are all big-hitters well known for their intelligent choices.

For those who have missed all the hype, Dublin Murders - which is released as two-disc DVD on 18 November - is set in the summer of 2006, at the height of the Celtic Tiger financial boom. ‘Two driven detectives Rob Reilly (Scott) and Cassie Maddox (Greene), are called in to investigate a child’s murder in Knocknaree, Dublin, but there’s more to this disturbing case than meets the eye.

‘On an altar in the middle of an archaeological site lies the body of a local teenage girl, a talented young ballet dancer, Katy Devlin. Knocknaree is an area blighted by poverty and unemployment for generations. The historical site is under threat from developers looking to build a new motorway.

'This is the not the first loss to afflict the community... 21 years earlier, in a very different Ireland, three children went missing. Only one came back alive and the crime was never solved... could this horrendous new crime be connected? The murders devastated a community and as the investigation deepens, old wounds that never properly healed are about to be ripped open...’

All very dramatic. Maybe I made a mistake watching the eight episodes back to back, or maybe doing so just highlighted the mish-mash of ideas being thrown around in the mix all in the name of mystery and suspense.

Even that the actors concerned remained fully truthful in their roles couldn’t conceal the sheer ridiculousness of some strands being shoe-horned together. Muddled story-lines that were never fully developed or explained did them no justice, and as for the supernatural elements, well they proved a jump too far... a wolf featured in some shots, it should have been a shark.