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Series / Bloodlands (2021)

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The past will catch up to you.

Bloodlands is a British TV drama produced by HTM Television and aired on BBC One. The first episode aired throughout the UK on February 21, 2021. In North America and other terriories, Acorn is the licensed distributor of the show. Chris Brandon is the creator of the show while it's directed by Pete Travis and Jed Mercutio served as the executive producer. It stars James Nesbitt, Charlene McKenna, Lorcan Cranitch, Peter Ballance and Lisa Dwan. Two seasons have aired as of 2022.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Brannick and Detective Sergeant Niamh McGovern of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), assigned to the PSNI Dunfolan Police Station, are tasked on work on a case involving a missing person when a SUV is fished out of the waters of County Down. The PSNI learns that the victim is ex-PIRA leader turned businessman Pat Keenan, who was supposedly kidnapped by a covert assassin named Goliath. Tom, along with a few officers in the former Royal Ulster Constabulary, were secretly told that Goliath may be a Killer Cop working for the powers that may be against the Good Friday Agreement after it became official in 1998, kidnapping people who were known to be active in the Troubles.

Among those alledgly kidnapped or killed by Goliath included Tom's wife, Emma, who was involved in intelligence operations in the British Army.

Bloodlands provides examples of:

  • Big Bad: Goliath, the mysterious contract killer who apparently killed 4 people over the north-south divisions in Ireland during the troubles, with their bodies never being found, and then vanished without a trace. Amongst his presumed victims was Tom's wife. Except not. Goliath is revealed to actually be Tom himself, who took on the role in an attempt to rescue his wife after she was apparently kidnapped by a pro-republican group, an attempt which went horribly wrong. The plot is instead about Tom trying his best to obscure his past whilst finding out who's digging up the Goliath case, but it's still Tom's actions that drive the plot, albeit he has sympathetic reasons to do so.
  • Cop Killer:
    • The hooded pro-Republican teenagers almost killed a PSNI officer after they used molotovs on a squad car that was about to enter Dunfolan Police Station. At the same time, the PSNI had to start investigating the Goliath case after Tom raised the issue that he could active in the force.
    • The first season showed that Goliath was a cover Tom had to do because he was supposedly threatened by someone from a pro-Republican guerrilla group that he would kill his wife. Turns out that his wife was having an affairs with said man.
  • Didn't Think This Through: When the pro-Republican teenagers firebombed a squad car, they did so in front of a heavily guarded PSNI police station. Truth in Television as this is the PSNI's SOP due to the threat from a few Republican and Loyalist groups that have publicly refused to disarm over refusing to acknowledge the Good Friday Agreement.
  • Shown Their Work: The PSNI is a fully armed force, which is correct due to Northern Ireland's current security situation.
  • Tragic Villain: 'Goliath' is actually Tom Brannick himself, who came home one day to find his wife apparently kidnapped by a pro-republican group, who threatened him to allow a secret shipment of weapons into the country with her hostage. Rather than allow the dangerous weapons to be distributed to domestic terrorists, Tom staged a one-man rescue attempt to ambush the kidnappers, only to find out that his wife was actually in league with them the whole time. Despite killing everybody else involved in the event, Tom didn't have it in him to kill the mother of his child, and instead threatened Emma to leave Ireland forever and never return, going on to try his best to raise his daughter alone in her mother's absence, unable to tell the truth to anyone. Despite killing Adam Corry and endangering Claire, it's made clear he's deeply reluctant to go to such extreme lengths, and only does so because neither will stop trying to discover who Goliath was to get justice for his past victims.
  • Wham Episode:
    • The first episode suggested that the kidnapping of Pat Keenan was masterminded by Goliath.
    • Tom whips out a pistol and kills Adam Cory on an island somewhere in Strangford Lough in the second episdoe.