Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 4? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.
Last Monday’s opening chapter of Sarah Phelps’ adaptation of Tana French’s Dublin Murders was extremely promising. Its second episode built on that and introduced plenty of intrigue. And episode 3 cemented the new BBC One crime drama as a quality addition to the schedules. This fourth instalment, however, really upped the ante.
Dublin Murders episode 4 might well be the single best hour of television of 2019 so far. In a year that’s seen Chernobyl, as well as the return of the likes of Fleabag, Succession and Killing Eve, that’s saying something.
Some viewers may be slightly put off by the at-times quite complex plotting involved here, but while there’s plenty going on, the information is drip fed. So if you find yourself furrow-browed and scratching at your scalp – it’s okay. You’re not alone. But stick with it and all shall be revealed. In some style too.
This fourth slice of 2006-set murder n’ skulduggery begins with Detective Cassie Maddox looking into the cold, dead eyes of, well, Cassie Maddox. At least a corpse that looks very much like her, anyway. It’s not her though, of course. It belongs to Lexie Mangan. Well, okay, it doesn’t. Because Lexie is made up; a fiction created by Cassie as a child to help her cope with the trauma of losing her parents in a car accident. An alter ego that she’s carried around with her for decades and turned into an undercover identity some years back to help infiltrate the Dublin underworld. One that was then stolen by this mysterious dead girl.
Hmmm… Maybe we were underselling it with ‘quite’ complex. Still, stick with us.
Cassie and her former boss Frank (the excellently snide Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Avengers: Endgame) suspects the head of the mob she grew intimately close to in her big undercover operation is behind the hit, but a quick visit to him in The Big House soon puts paid to that. Someone else offed Cassie’s befringed twin. So a new covert mission is devised, one where Cassie will become Lexie once again and move into Lexie’s huge house with her old student pals, one of which Frank is rather suspicious of…
…That’s right. The Dublin police are going to pretend that a dead girl who looks like one of their detectives – and was pretending to be one of their detectives’ undercover identities – isn’t dead. By making that detective assume the dead girl’s/her old identity in order to try and flush out the murderer. Keeping up? Good.
A haircut, a nose ring and some pretend amnesia is all it’ll take, apparently. We’ll have to see how that pans out next week.
The highlights here came in the perfect moments of arrogantly delivered passive-aggression. Detective Rob Reilly’s confrontation and humiliation of smarmy bearded suspect Colin Mills, Cassie’s cruel reveal of her controversial past to ‘farmer faced’ beau Sam (Vikings’ Moe Dunford) and even Rob’s cruel rejection of Cassie after their hook-up (our two sexy lead characters just couldn’t resist each other), his spurning showing us just how incapable of emotional attachment he is and how easily Cassie can be pushed from smart professional to risk-taking renegade.
As for the investigation into young Katy Devlin’s murder, no new leads presented themselves here. Mills remains Detective Reilly’s main suspect.
We’re looking forward to the resolution of Dublin Murders, of course. But in the meantime, we’re enjoying the mystery. Not only of who killed Katy and ‘Lexie’ and what happened in 1985, but what’s going on in those woods exactly. There’s an esoteric element to proceedings that’s yet to fully reveal itself. Not only that but there’s something being said about identity, with all these twins, alter egos and former lives that just might prove to be significant and insightful.
Yes, the writing is superb and the performances are top notch. Yet this particular episode of Dublin Murders stood out for its direction. We’ve John Hayes to thank for the style, patience, confidence, pace and drama that these sixty minutes treated us too. Hayes was behind the camera for the entire first series of ITV1’s Bancroft, a four-part crimer you may remember from Christmas 2017. Good news too – Hayes returns to direct the final two parts – episodes 7 and 8.
There’ll be plenty of twists and turns before then, though. Don’t you worry about that.
Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 4? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!