Slow-burn crime dramas are everywhere in Europe and the latest emerges from Ireland in the form of Dublin Murders.
Set in 2006, this is based on two books by Tana French, and hauntingly adapted by Sarah Phelps (The White Princess, Ordeal by Innocence, The Casual Vacancy).
It centres around two young detectives, Rob Reilly (Killian Scott) and Cassie Maddox (Sarah Greene), tasked with solving the murder of a young child found near an archaeological dig site deep in a forest.
The site also brings back memories of a mysterious incident in which young children disappeared years earlier.
But while both are skilled at their work, this case rattles them…
“We cant do this. Not this one,” says Cassie. “We’re passing on it…. you know why you can’t do it.”
Alongside flashbacks to past mysteries is another subplot in which a homeless man is seen harassing a businessman over a secret both share. There’s also a nurse who can’t bring herself to hear the TV news, and hints of a future motorway development under protest.
But through it all our sympathies lay with hero detectives as they try to uncover this most immediate crime without full disclosure. Such procedural is progressed with painful observation of a family in grief, a misogynist police chief, and a strange, arousing liaison between Rob and his housemate …..it’s all rather entangled, if only one could put together these jigsaw pieces.
The tone is moodily underplayed, with strong performances from Killian Scott and Sarah Greene, displaying little emotion, and the visual palette is largely subdued. The story unfold amid a time of change as Dublin clings to the past (the misogynist cop being a key example).
Unlike the brilliant The Fall with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan this doesn’t necessarily land with the same shocks or edge-of-seat jeopardy, but Dublin Murders is smart and satisfying if you’re ready for your next crime mystery.
Dublin Murders screens 8:30pm Wednesday on SBS.