Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 3? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.
For decision makers in the television industry, adapting a popular book into a drama is a tried and tested way of producing something that audiences will love. There are a couple of big reasons why it makes sense: the story has been proven to captivate an audience and there’s a pre-existing fanbase to aim for and expand upon.
The challenge isn’t always easy, but it’s usually fairly clear… Turn the book into a series. Producer and screenwriter Sarah Phelps had somewhat of a trickier task ahead of her when she sat down at her laptop to adapt Dublin Murders, however. Only ‘Dublin Murders’ isn’t a book – it’s two different books.
Adapting Tana French’s much-loved and wildly popular works of crime fiction In the Woods and The Likeness into one eight-part production is no mean feat, but – naturally – the talented Phelps (The Witness for the Prosecution, Ordeal by Innocence and The ABC Murders) pulls it off with aplomb. Whatever one of those is.
Here, in this third episode, the biggest development connected to the In the Woods plotline saw the rather unhelpful and obtuse site archaeologist Dr Mark Hanley (Jonathan Forbes, who you may recognise as the equally unsympathetic Fergal from Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe) dug up and then buried as a main suspect by the end of Monday’s instalment.
What made him look suspicious in the first place? Well, as Detective Reilly put it, ‘dancing around stark b*ll*ck naked, covered in cut-price Merlot, around an altar where a murdered 13-year-old girl was found is not exactly a good look…’ A sentiment it’s tricky to argue with, you have to admit.
Luckily for Dr Hanley and his ritualistic ‘offerings’ to the pagan gods at the woods in Knocknaree, he was soon cleared when it was discovered that any DNA evidence at the crime scene could be explained away by his affair with a married colleague.
As if that wasn’t unsettling and occult-y enough for us, a letter emerged (only to find its way in – and the out – of the Murder Squad’s shredder) from a detective who fruitlessly worked the 1985 case. It read, ‘There’s something here and it hates us. It is malevolence. Those children were taken as a tithe. A reckoning. To settle an account. You are never going to find them. This place is laughing at us…’
Again, it’s all very True Detective series 1. The reality of the murders and disappearances, we suspect, is much more down to earth, though. Land grabs, money, corruption and gangsters are much more likely to be behind it all. Think True Detective series 2, instead. Expect to hear more about the man in the royal blue tracksuit in episode 4.
As for the story-line drawn from French’s The Likeness, we didn’t see a huge amount from that. But we were treated to the oddness of Cassie being called to an abandoned cottage only to come face to face with her alter ego/doppelgänger, Lexie. It’s a case of so far, so confusing for that story-line, but – again – we’re certain we’ll find out more about that side of things in the next gripping hour.
It’s not just us that’s been tuning in and enjoying Dublin Murders. At its peak, some four millions viewers were glued to their screens for last Monday’s debut episode. Those are bigger viewing figures that the opener of Line of Duty series 5 got earlier this year…
Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 3? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!