A lone cop fights crime and corruption in rural Ireland
"Don’t miss it." --The Observer (U.K.)
"Absorbing . . . multilayered and intelligent" --The Irish Times
"Powerful, charismatic performances" --Evening Herald (Ireland)
Murder and intrigue on Ireland’s remote coast
When Garda Sergeant Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell) returns home to the windswept west coast of Ireland, his father—and predecessor at his new post--warns: "Out here, it’s a team of one." As chief law-enforcement officer in this insular community, Jack soon learns the hard truth in those words. Small-town life presents challenges he never faced in Dublin--among them, winning the respect of the villagers and escaping the shadow of his father (Ian McElhinney, Little Dorrit), whose methods relied more on pragmatism than principle.
In these three feature-length crime dramas, Jack investigates a beautiful immigrant’s murder, a child’s abduction, and a teenager’s baffling drowning. Complex characters rife with moral ambiguity and internal conflict populate this gritty series set against a landscape of epic beauty and isolation.
Single-Handed: Set One includes three 90-minute episodes, "Natural Justice," "The Stolen Child," and "The Drowning Man," of this alluringly debauched crime series. While it doesn't have the retro flair of Britain's George Gently, this Irish drama banks on the stoically calm heroism of Garda Sergeant Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell) as he unravels extremely complex and secretive murder mysteries that are as incestuous, sordid, and ugly as his Irish landscape setting is pastoral. Episode one, "Natural Justice," grounds the viewer, as Jack returns home to the countryside from the Dublin Garda, to take over the head cop position from his dad, Gerry Driscoll (Ian McElhinney). With the rather incompetent Finbarr Colvin (David Herlihy) as the only other policeman patrolling the region, Jack finds himself as a "team of one," investigating a woman's carbon monoxide poisoning in a remote trailer. In this introductory episode, the plot involving his own father and his dad's best friend, Tommy Gallagher (Liam Carney), not to mention Jack's crush, Saoirse Brady (Laura Murphy), leaves one wondering what twisted stories could possibly follow up. Not to fear, as in episode two, "The Stolen Child," a child goes missing, and his kidnapper forms a kind of common-law outfit, while Jack's dad is in danger for sketchy past police work. In this episode, Jack, the handsome and morally upright single man, meets Dr. Maggie Hunter (Caroline Catz) for yet another budding romantic opportunity. Indeed, in each episode Jack seems to meet some gorgeous catch, such as Detective Brede O'Malley (Catherine Byrne) in "The Drowning Man." But oddly this romantic bent never detracts tension from the sleuthing to solve the brutal crimes. Throughout Single-Handed, Jack's mother, Eithne (Ruth McCabe), is the undyingly loyal policeman's wife, and she becomes increasingly important as Jack, towards the end of his first three cases, begins to feel the wear and tear of his stressful job. With the lovely scenery and glimpse into Irish culture, Single-Handed is entertaining enough, but with Owen McDonnell's convincing performance throughout, this is one of the best crime-drama series going. Chilling and fiery, all rolled into one. --Trinie Dalton