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Single Handed: Set One

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features

Text interview with the producer and production notes
SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Owen McDonnell, David Herlihy, Ruth McCabe, Brian Gleeson, Sean McGinley
  • Writers: Barry Simner, Rob Pursey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: February 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 278 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004AV5H3U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,795 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Single Handed: Set One" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on December 16, 2010
Edge-of-the-seat suspense. Scenic Irish coast makes the eyes salivate. Fresh new star, fantastic series. Irish country crime is just as riveting as London's. I was astounded and surprised.
Filmed in the Tully Cross & Connemara, arguably the most beautiful part of Ireland, you can smell the peat burning as you view bogs, mountains, lochs, pubs, Guinness, Connemara ponies, & rainbows. But the crime in this deliciously visual district is far from pleasant. An emotional suspense with intrigue as high as the Cliffs of Moor. You'll love the filmed rural beauty and be shocked by the corruption.

3 episodes, each 92 min., YES they DO include SUBTITLES
1- Home
Sgt. Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell, a real Galway lad) is transferred back home from the Dublin Garda. He replaces his da. A carbon monoxide death investigation leads to suspicious findings. Further evidence leads to more sinister activity. There is a web of secrets & deceit that Jack discovers. A surprise end.

2- The Stolen Child
A small child is missing and 2 violent uncles may make their own law. Jack's Dad is subject to a tribunal for past "police work." There is yet many local secrets that hinder investigations. Jack's new 1-month sleep-in romance is Dr. Maggie (Caroline Catz-'Doc Martin'& `The Vice') Excellent work by Catz.

3- The Drowning Man
Jack is too late in pulling 17 year old O'Malley from the bay. As always, one investigation leads to something bigger. And, as always, another romantic involvement of Driscoll becomes an issue. That issue involves yet another. High-high suspense finale! So peaked, it becomes a thriller.

Ian McElhinney (Little Dorrit) plays Jack's dad, the former Garda Sergeant Gerry Driscoll.
Read more ›
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Desta Elliott on December 3, 2010
Single-handed is gripping drama that puts most US TV to shame. This one definitely goes on your must see list.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By BNBOD on February 5, 2011
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Having traveled in Ireland, it made me want to pack my bags! Beautiful scenery!
I love the character, Jack, and all the "goings on" in the small town atmosphere. All the personalities make this a rich and compelling series. It is a wonderful series and I hope there will be more dvds to watch!!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By GEORGE RANNIE on February 7, 2011
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In this season one (1) of this wonderful series of "Single-Handed, the protagonist Sergeant Driscoll (intently and fabulously played by Owen McDonnell) leaves the big city of Dublin with its big city crimes to return to his smaller home on the picturesque West coast of Ireland. Here he replaces his retired father as the chief law-enforcer. In a very beautiful locale he is faced with loads of debauchery that includes murder, incest, adultery, kidnapping, police corruption, marital unfaithfulness, etc., too only it seems to be happening at a little slower pace and seemly with everyone (including his own family) involved somehow. Sergeant Driscoll takes his position very seriously and plays "by the book" which tends to upset the inhabitants that are use to his father who tended not to be stickler to the rules throughout his long career. The differences in the two men and their approach to "law enforcement" leads to some intense conflicts.

This is a very fine series that is intelligently and intriguingly well written and acted on three (3) discs covering three mysteries running about an hour and one-half each. This series is "new" to me; however I found it to be most engrossing with each of the mysteries keeping me "spell-bound" I look forward to further releases and diffidently will buy them because it's really very good.

Since I have a little difficulty understanding "Irish accents", I used the provided subtitles which helped me immensely.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful By PartlyCloudy on February 4, 2011
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Well acted, beautiful scenery, very strong story lines. However: the stories (especially the first and second episodes) are of the type that really irritate me: too many questionable characters among the "good guys", too much moral ambiguity, etc.

For comparison, I had this issue with some of the Inspector Lynley series episodes as well. I am more of a true "Cozy" fan: Inspector Lewis, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, etc.

So, dropping by one star was a personal preference. Many folks would love it, I am sure! I felt I should at least provide the input. The 3rd episode was a bit more to my liking.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ref on September 24, 2011
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The first thing you notice about this show is the landscape. This must be one of the most beautiful places on earth. The stories and characters are wonderfully rendered.

These are Irish stories. Not American stories. Do not expect everything to be all better at the end. It's much more realistic than that. Bad things happen to good people, and everyone is not what they seem. Just like real life. People make the best of things and get on with it.

These are adult dramas, not with nudity or violence, but with content. They are about the underside of life and the real monsters that go bump in the night. They are well-written and well-acted using adult words and discussing things that people really do to each other.

Get your bio-break out of the way and any snacks you might need to get you through 2 hours, because you will NOT want to stop once you start the show.
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