The first season of Starz compelling “Dublin Murders” is based on a series of books of the same name, written by Tana French. The eight part mystery, that comprises season one, combines the first two books of French’s series, “Into the Woods” and “The Likeness.” Leading a very competent cast is Killian Scott, who portrays Detective Rob Reilly and Sarah Greene, who plays Detective Cassie Maddox. The two are part of the murder investigation division of the Garda (Irish Police).
Set in 2006, in Dublin, Ireland, at the start of the series, the detectives are investigating the killing of a convenience store employee. The duo work well together and the case is quickly solved, but the pair won’t be so fortunate with their next case. Superintendent O’Kelly, portrayed by Conleth Hill, who many viewers may know as Lord Varys from “Game of Thrones,” assigns the duo their next case, which is what the season centers on.
Katy Devlin, (Amy Macken) a thirteen year old, who had tremendous promise as a ballerina, has been found murdered. Her body has been discovered at the sight of an archaeological dig. There is significance as to where she was found. Twenty-one years earlier, in 1985, in the same location, three children had gone missing; of the three, only one boy, Adam (Michael D’Arcy) was found. The two other children, Peter (Niall Jordan) and Jamie (Ellie O’Halloran) were not only never found, but no evidence of foul play or clues as to their possible whereabouts has ever been discovered. For reasons I won’t disclose, for those of you who’d like to watch the series, the detectives know that they shouldn’t take the case. Rob and Cassie initially agree to take it as far as the Devlin family identifying Katy’s body, but that is soon forgotten, as the duo gets more invested in the case.
The Devlin family consists of the father, Jonathan (Peter McDonald); the mother, Margaret (Kathy Monahan); and two daughters, Katy’s twin sister Jessica (Amy Macken) and her older sister, Rosalind (Leah McNamara). There is something seemingly off about the family. The father has enemies, because he is attempting to impede the building of a motorway, that will bring jobs and money to the area. Margaret is mostly withdrawn, however on occasion, she’ll have an outburst. Jessica is autistic and because of that, occasionally says inappropriate things and Rosalind seems to be the family member who is holding everything together. What if anything, is the Devlin family hiding?
Rob and Cassie set out to capture Katy’s killer, but to also learn if there is any connection between what happened to Katy and what took place in 1985. O’Kelly has instructed the duo to look through the evidence from the incident in 1985, to see if there are any similarities. As the detectives delve into the murder investigation, their inquiries bring to the surface unpleasant memories and repressed trauma, for a number of individuals. Further complicating matters, is that a doppelgänger, who Cassie created as an imaginary friend during childhood, to deal with a tragic loss, has surfaced for real. The woman’s appearance prompts Cassie’s former boss, Frank Mackey (Tom Vaughn – Lawlor) to place Cassie undercover at the home of four students, whose leader, Daniel (Sam Keeley), is hiding something. Cassie’s assignment puts her life in real danger.
“Dublin Murders” was directed by John Hayes (The Girl); BAFTA nominee Saul Dibb (NW), and Rebecca Gatward (Traces). Tana French’s writing was adapted for the series by Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations) and Chandni Lakhani (The Job Lot). Oscar nominee Volker Bertelmann (Lion), composed the soundtrack, which sets the right tone for what is being shown to the viewer. The atmospheric cinematography by James Mather (Prey Alone), Benjamin Kracun (Beast), and Tim Palmer (Breathless), helps to capture the dark mood that permeates the series.
I am not going to get into any more specific plot points, so as not to give too much away. I was engrossed from the start of the series until the closing moments of episode eight, and finished the series in a few watches. For those of you who like well done crime drama, that should keep many viewers guessing as to what happens until the end, this is one that you will more than likely find worth your time.