Sarah Greene and Killian Scott star as Detectives Cassie Maddox and Rob Reilly in BBC One's Dublin Murders series 1

Dublin Murders series 1 review

Episodes: 8

Premiered: 2019

Duration: 1 hr

Set in Dublin at the turn of the 21st century and based on the books by Tana French, Dublin Murders series 1 stars Sarah Greene (Penny Dreadful, Ransom, Noble) and Killian Scott (Trespass Against Us, Strike, Ripper Street) as Irish police detectives Cassie Maddox and Rob Reilly. The duo work for the elite ‘Murder Squad’ and are tasked with investigating the gruesome murder of a young ballerina found ritualistically killed in the woods. Things soon get complicated when the murder gets linked with another.

Against his better judgment and protected by his friendship with Cassie, Rob is pulled back into another case of missing children and forced to confront his own darkness. As the case intensifies, Rob and Cassie’s relationship is tested to breaking point and when Cassie is sent undercover for another murder case, she is forced to come face to face with her own brutal reckoning…

Dublin Murders episode 1 review

Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 1? Take a first look at Dublin Murders here.

Ask any chef and they’ll tell you that to make a great meal, you need great ingredients. Of course, Raymond Blanc could probably rustle up something tasty from even the saddest and most bereft of fridges, but give him free reign of Borough Market and you can fully expect a delicious culinary feast heading your way. It’s the same with TV.

It’s all well and good assembling a crack team of writers, directors, producers and editors for a series, but if the source material is no good, it’s unlikely to satisfy the hungry audience at home. Luckily here, the basic components – novelist Tana French’s In The Woods and The Likeness – are fresh, hearty and tasty.

The eight-part crime drama Dublin Murders comes to us thanks to Sarah Phelps, one of the television industry’s most talented screenwriters. Phelps is the scribe behind some of the BBC’s most outstanding dramas over recent years, bringing Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution, Ordeal by Innocence and The ABC Murders to our screens, as well as an adaptation of J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy back in 2015. She’s a TV chef that knows the value of high quality ingredients – which explains her involvement here in adapting Tana French’s tremendous Dublin Murder Squad books.

This first course – episode 1 – begins with an amuse-bouche which is hardly light on the palette. Sat across from each other are our two lead characters. They’re in a dingy police evidence room looking tired, stressed and more than a little traumatised. Detective Rob Reilly (Killian Scott – Ripper Street, Strike, ‘71) poses his partner Detective Cassie Maddox (Sarah Greene – Ransom, Penny Dreadful) a rather disturbing question after a deep, dark monologue: ‘What if the killed are really the lucky ones…?’

It’s a heavy-going opener, but then we are dealing with a series that’s focused on that most cheery staple of modern television drama, child murder.

Set in the Irish capital some 13 years ago, we open with a fairly cut n’ dry murder case which establishes our two leads as a tight unit that not only work well together, but get results. It’s their next body that we’re to be more concerned with though – that of a 13-year-old girl who has been left on a stone altar deep in the woods. So far, so True Detective.

It wouldn’t be a child murder in a TV crime drama without an eerily similar case some years before to confuse and beguile investigators. Here, there’s the shocking tale of three children that went missing some 21 years previously from the very same wooded area. Is there a connection between the two crimes? It’s something that locals, the media and Reilly and Maddox’s amusingly un-PC boss Superintendent O’Kelly – played with some panache by Game of Thrones’ very own Lord Varys, Conleth Hill – are curious to find out.

Hill’s almost cartoon-ish performance provides a little comic relief to an otherwise quite gloomy affair, allowing us the odd guilty chuckle at his dinosaur attitudes and smutty one-liners. Outside of that though, there’s very little to smirk at here.

This opening episode was extremely promising. True, we’ve broken very little new ground as yet; we’ve mostly walked a familiar path – dead kids killed ritualistically in woodland, shifty peripheral characters, whiskey-drinking and nightmare-plagued detectives with dark secrets, unnecessarily creepy pathologists, smart Alec colleagues, clapped-out old police chiefs on the verge of a heart attack… Yet there’s a real quality to all of it. Dublin Murders features the tropes of the genre, but it deftly avoids clichés as it does so.

This opening hour certainly whet our appetite and tickled our taste buds. Bring on the next course, we say.

Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 1? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Dublin Murders series 1 consists of eight episodes and is being shown on BBC One on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9pm. Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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Dublin Murders episode 2 review

Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 2? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.

People are rarely who they claim to be when it comes to complex and serpentine mystery stories. Be they on the page or screen, characters in crime fiction have a habit of hiding their true identity.

We mean this in something of a metaphorical sense, with most crime dramas worth their salt knowing that a line-up of suspects isn’t much use if everyone is telling the truth. We also mean it in a far more literal sense too. Take BBC One’s new Tana French adaptation, for instance. Both of the lead detectives in Dublin Murders are hiding actual identities.

Detective Rob Reilly (Killian Scott), we’ve discovered, is young Adam – the only child to survive the 1985 disappearance in the Knocknaree woods. Taking his middle name after being sent away to boarding school in England, his newly-learned plummy accent is enough to now help him hide in plain sight while working the case. His proximity to the case seems to be his driving force, as well as his potential Achilles’ heel. Surely his secret can’t remain that way for very long…?

dublin murders episode 2

Whatever happened – and is due to happen – is certain to take a toll on Reilly. After all, let’s not forget his monologue to his partner Cassie Maddox (Sarah Greene) that we glimpsed at the beginning of the opening episode

‘The dead are chosen. And the rest of us aren’t lucky at all. We’re not blessed. Not watched over by some kind of angel. The ones who get left, they’re just too slow, too stupid, too muddy, too dull. The gods don’t want them. They’re lumps. They’re rejects. We all are. Rejects. What if the killed are really the lucky ones?’

Yikes. It has to be something truly traumatic to led to that kind of Rust Cohle-style musing.

Cassie also has an alternate personality and name she’d rather keep hidden. Tied in with her work as an undercover officer before her assignment to the Dublin Murder Squad, Maddox was – and perhaps still is – someone called Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Madison. We saw a glimpse of Cassie as Lexie here, speeding down a country lane in an old Mercedes. Or did we? Things aren’t exactly crystal clear at this quarterway stage.

It’s not just Rob/Adam that connects the 1985 disappearances to the 2006 murder, either. It seems as though Jonathan Devlin (Peter McDonald) is tied to both events. He is, of course, the motorway-opposing father of the murdered aspiring ballerina Katy. He was also, we learn, known to hang around with Adam, Peter and Jamie. Putting him firmly in the frame for everything. Especially give his seemingly rather abusive nature.

Also raising suspicions are ballet school cleaner Sandra Sculley, who also has a link to 1985. There’s something a little fishy about student archaeologist Damien too. And maybe even Katy’s sister Rosalind… What? Dismiss no one as a suspect at this stage. You know the rules.

So far, so complicated. But then again, we like complicated, don’t we? It gives us more of a mystery to untangle and solve.

Two episodes in and we’re fully hooked. This is a classy affair that’s patient, involving, stylish and packed full of extremely watchable performances. Sarah Greene is particularly good.

With episodes on Monday and Tuesday evenings, it did look as if the eight-part Dublin Murders was going to bring us four self-contained stories. That’s not to be the case, however. With all that’s going on, it looks as though we’re going to need all eight hours to fully explore and explain what exactly has been happening in the woods.

Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 2? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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Dublin Murders episode 3 review

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!

Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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Dublin Murders episode 4 review

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 Cathal 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!

Read Steve’s review of episode 5 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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10 Comments

    I watch it once. Have the internet explain what’s going on then – I watch it again. lol

    Dialogue can be difficult to follow at times, so I use subtitles.?

    Certainly complex, with the various plots and sub-plots, but am really enjoying it.

    Too hard to follow. They speak too quick given the complexity of the plot means that these two features mean that the series fails. Shame.

    I can barely hear a word for the constant melodramatic music humming in the background.
    Then the plot..? So many holes, it’s laughable.
    I’ve given up on this time-waste.

    Unfortunately at times it’s hard to hear what the characters are saying which adds to the confusion. Enjoyed your report on it though thanks.

    I find that the dialogue extremely difficult to understand, especially the conversations of the main female detective. I find myself lip reading to try and follow the plot. Not quite as bad as “Jamaca Inn” but almost. When there are complex storylines as this, understanding the dialogue is even more important.

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Dublin Murders episode 5 review

Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 5? Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.

Part of the enjoyment to be had from BBC One’s newest flagship crime drama Dublin Murders so far has been in the subtle chemistry between the show’s two lead detectives. Sarah Greene’s Cassie Maddox and Killian Scott’s Rob Reilly were, seemingly, a perfect fit. Both whip smart, both intuitive and both willing to ignore the rule book when needed, they’ve been quite the team so far.

The trouble is, they’re also both rather beautiful. So, somewhat inevitably, things got a little steamy between them in a previous episode and now here we are – a short while afterwards – with the two of them having fallen out and working different cases. Shame.

It was a bold move. We started with a strong pair of bonded and quite likeable pals as our guides through the story. We’ve since seen them wrenched apart and totally transformed. In Rob’s case, the investigation into Katy Devlin’s murder has dragged up his dark past and pushed him into unstable bully territory. As for Cassie? Well, her new undercover assignment is quite literally changing her into an entirely different person.

Rob’s unpleasant behaviour towards his (now former) partner isn’t his only crime. Here, The Detective Formerly Known as Adam was throwing his weight around in a sustained bid to make the evidence fit his main suspect, Cathal Mills. And that ain’t good detectiving no matter how sure you are of someone’s guilt.

Rob’s not likely to give up his theory that Cathal and Katy’s father Jonathan are involved after we were treated to a particularly beautiful and almost supernatural scene as our now solo detective finally overcame his fear and trudged back ‘In the Woods’ by himself. There, he retraced his steps as a child and went a little Swampy, hugging a tree and allowing the grand ol’ king of the forest to gift him back some of his lost memories…

He recalled being small and watching Cathal and Jonathan raping young Sandra Sculley while he and his two soon-to-be-disappeared friends watched on. They were witnesses to a crime Cathal would – understandably – not want exposed. So, Rob figures, he must be behind all of the nastiness in the woods.

Naturally, things won’t be quite as simple as that.

Tuesday evening’s sixth episode looks set to focus on Cassie’s infiltration of the student pile Whitethorn House, over in Wicklow. We’re all but guaranteed tension and style from this Lexie storyline that uses Tana French’s novel The Likeness as its source material. Detective Maddox is primed and ready to find out who killed Lexie, while pretending to actually be Lexie. With a gun strapped to her leg and two dozen bullets secreted in a box of Always Ultra.

Of course, it’s a plot development which requires the audience to suspend their disbelief just a wee bit. At least at this stage, anyway. But who knows? It may even turn out that Cassie is able to ape the personification of her alter ego so well because Lexie is, in fact, her real-life twin. Or maybe not, we’re not sure. That’s the thing about Dublin Murders – it keeps you guessing.

We’re certainly looking forward to part six, which looks set to be almost Agatha Christie-like – a detective enters an old country house to sift through a line-up of suspects and snaffle the killer, and luckily for us all, we’ve got Christie-adapting maestro Sarah Phelps on screenwriting duties here. Again, we’re sure the plot won’t be quite as simple as it sounds though, of course…

Because if we’ve learned anything from this confident, intriguing and unique Irish crime drama, it’s that investigating murders in Dublin is rarely ever straightforward.

Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 5? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of episode 6 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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3 Comments

    I have not read the books but this was recommended to me. Well it ain’t The Wire or True Detective or Cardinal. The first four episodes seemed to be shaping you well as a detective thriller but then we entered reality suspension mode in episode 5 with the unbelievable “Lexi” sub plot. the acting is good but any plot credibility is shot through. i guess I will watch the last couple of episodes to see how they tie it up. 6/10

    In the Woods and The Likeness were brilliant books. What a shame that the TV adaption has made such a pigs ear of them.

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Dublin Murders episode 6 review

Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 6? Read Steve’s review of episode 5 here.

We’re now some three quarters of the way into the twisted, complex and eerie world of Dublin Murders and it’s still not remotely clear how this tale of trauma, memory loss, identity and obsession will tie together in the end. If we have to keep this level of head scratching up for the final two parts next week, we’ll draw blood.

Given that the two major plot threads in Dublin Murders are taken from two separate books in the Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French, it seems unlikely that they’ll merge too smoothly to create one over-arching storyline. So don’t expect Lexie’s murder to directly relate to young Katy’s. Or vice versa.

That said, there is one connection between them… the motorway. It’s not often we can say that murders in dark and grisly TV crime dramas are linked by motorways. The Knocknaree woods in which Katy was discovered are the subject of controversy, given that developers want them flattened to build the road. And Whitethorn House – where Cassie is pretending to be the murdered Lexie – is the sole plot left holding up the motorway-inspired development of Wicklow. Much to the ire of their neighbours.

This sixth instalment mainly focused on Cassie’s undercover operation and her rather tall order of having to pretend to be the woman who assumed her old identity, Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Mangan. The mission itself is a rather unlikely one – it’s tricky to buy into the idea that four very close friends wouldn’t spot an entirely different person professing to be their close pal just because she looks similar, has a nose piercing and knows where the spoons are kept in the house. But Dublin Murders is more than good enough to allow us to overlook that slight flight of fancy.

Cassie’s successfully sussing out her new student housemates and while she’s not quite sniffed out exactly what happened as yet, we’re sure she will by next week. Although in a crumbling pile full of lies, secrets, knives and stashed firearms, don’t expect it to go off without a little drama. Especially given the results of that pregnancy test.

Of course, anyone who’s read French’s In the Woods will know just what happened with the forest-based killing of the young girl. For the rest of us, some six episodes in and we know as much as lead detective Rob Reilly (Killian Scott). With just two parts left of Dublin Murders – to be aired next Monday and Tuesday – Rob is still putting all of his investigative eggs in one basket. A basket from 1985. Here’s hoping for his sake, he’s right about the disappearance of ‘Jamie!’ and ‘Peter!’ being directly connected to the 2006 case.

Normally with these kinds of twisting and dark dramas, I like to have a punt on a killer nice and early. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong (mostly I’m wrong). Such is the murkiness and drip feed of information here though, I’ve kept my counsel so far. Well, alright – I’ve just not had a clue, if I’m honest. That said, I’ve finally developed some theories…

Here they are (don’t laugh):

Jamie and Peter are still alive somewhere. And so is Katy. She and Rosalind (who may well actually be Sandra Sculley’s child) accidentally killed Katy’s twin sister instead and Katy took the opportunity to escape the pressure of her future life in ballet and swapped identities with her twin.

As for Lexie’s killer? Perhaps I’ll formulate a theory around that next week. No obvious suspect stands out as yet. Perhaps they all had a hand – or at least a finger – in Lexie’s fatal stabbing. Or is that just a little too Murder on the Orient Express? We’ll see.

How are you getting on with cracking the case(s)? Are you scrabbling around like me, Rob and Cassie? Or do you think you’ve worked it all out? We’d love to hear your speculation and hunches…

Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 6? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of episode 7 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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2 Comments

    Is it possible Katy’s mentally challenged twin Jessica killed her, and their sister Rosalind and Miss Simone, Katy’s dance teacher, covered it up to protect Jessica? Jessica has shown she has a bit of a temper, like when she yelled “You’re stupid” at her mother for mistaking her favourite colour — blue — for Katy’s.

    As for who killed Lexie, that’s even more of a puzzle. I suppose Daniel March makes for too obvious a suspect, although Justin was awfully close to revealing to Cassie something that seems to be nagging at his conscience about what the group really thought when Lexie didn’t come home from her walk. Also, Daniel insisted Lexie was dead right after the group had been to see her (well, Cassie as Lexie) in the hospital. But it will turn out to be someone else entirely, I’m sure.

    Meanwhile, I wonder who Cassie’s baby daddy is: farmer-face Sam or emotionally troubled Rob?

    I think Katy’s murderer is much closer to home. And it’s someone that we would least expect. I’m more interested in Rob’s demons from the past, and what happened to his two friends all those years ago. As far as Cathal is concerned, Rob’s obsession with nailing him as Katy’s killer is a bit, “methinks thou dost protest too much.” I wonder why. It wasn’t Cathal — way too obvious.

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Dublin Murders episode 7 review

Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 7? Read Steve’s review of episode 6 here.

‘You know what happens when doppelgängers meet each other, don’t you? The world ends.’

If that’s true, then luckily for Detective Cassie Maddox – and the rest of us – ‘Lexie Mangan’ (or whatever her real name was) is dead. And luckily for Detective Rob Reilly – and the rest of us again – his doppelgänger is effectively himself…

We trust you’ve been keeping up with BBC One’s Tana French adaptation. Only if not, none of what we just said will have made much sense to you at all.

The penultimate episode of Dublin Murders mostly focused on the conclusion of the plot thread inspired by French’s The Likeness. We rejoined Cassie in the grounds of Whitethorn House with Daniel, Rafe, Justin and Abby. The four students – specifically their almost cultic leader Daniel March – had seen through Cassie and Frank Mackey’s rather ambitious plan of ‘attrition and sedition, with some rather unexpected ketamine turning Cassie’s sedition into sedation.

With his new foe drugged, Daniel was able to regain control of the house and the narrative. But Cassie’s a wily old dog and soon manipulated the situation back to her liking. Her verbal duel with a gun-toting Daniel and his acolytes proved to be one of the best scenes of the series so far. It was tense, thrilling and genuinely unpredictable. There have been some top performances here, but Sarah Greene absolutely dominates Dublin Murders.

We find out which of the students was – technically – responsible for Lexie’s untimely death. Although, given it came under the totalitarian regime of Daniel, the situation was almost forgivable. Whether Lexie will stay true to her promise to speak for the killer in court remains to be seen.

Dublin Murders episode 7 review

Over on Katy’s investigation, we have a new suspect. Well, we’re led to believe that we actually have the killer – dozy kid Damien, the student archaeologist. Rob had one of those epiphanies that only TV detectives have. While eating a chocolate digestive. It’s a proven technique, of course. That’s why you see so many biscuit barrels in police stations.

We’re not buying it, though – not with a full hour left of the series. We think it’s much more likely that there’s something in what Rob/Adam’s mother was saying to him about his unreliable memory. By all accounts, he was bullied by his ‘friends’ Jamie and Peter. Might Adam/Rob himself be behind their vanishing somehow? It’d certainly explained why his subconscious has been so determined to block out memories of what happened. It’s self preservation.

The revelation came during another powerful scene, one in which Rob’s current identity fractured for a moment, with his voice temporarily reverting back to an Irish brogue. It was the second truly stand-out scene of the hour and, again, it was driven by one of our lead actors shouting at someone while sat on a chair. Sometimes simplicity is key.

The final instalment, episode 8, airs on Tuesday night. There’s plenty to tie up too. Including, but not limited to:

● Katy’s killer (surely it’s not actually Damien?)
● What happened to Peter and Jamie
● Are the 1985 disappearances and the 2006 murder connected?
● Why Adam can’t remember?
● What’s up with the three tears in Adam’s old shirt?
● What’s happening with Cassie’s pregnancy?
● Who’s the father?
● All that ‘He rises’ stuff… does that have any significance?
● What’s going on with that bloody wolf?!
● Is there anything supernatural going on in those woods?
● Just where does O’Kelly get all his one liners from?

There are six books in the Dublin Murder Squad series so far, with the first two being the focus here. That’s not to say that Cassie and Rob have to survive unscathed here, though. Books three to six all feature other lead detectives. So there’s every chance that our theory surrounding Rob’s guilt holds at least some water.

We’re not quite sure how Rob can arrest himself, though. Even if the English Detective Reilly isn’t quite the same person as the Irish Adam. Only you know what happens when doppelgängers meet each other, don’t you…?

Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 7? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of episode 8 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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Dublin Murders episode 8 review

Still catching up on Dublin Murders episode 8? Read Steve’s review of episode 7 here.

The following review contains spoilers

‘What’s that old saying? “It’s the hope that kills”?’

‘Blunt force trauma and strangulation kills, Rosalind.’

‘Well, if you’re going to be pedantic…’

The confident, mature and thoughtful first series of Dublin Murders was all about identity, facing the traumas of the past and moving on from them while retaining a true sense of self. Okay, it was also about a little murdered girl and the lives of some police detectives and locals, but eight hours allow for more than a little subtext and storytelling, doesn’t it?

With the finale now aired, viewers who prefer more linear and neatly-packaged drama may have been left a little wanting as the end credits rolled. But those of us that are happy to draw a few of our own conclusions, read between the lines and accept that life rarely spells out everything in detail, it was a near perfect ending to what’s been essential viewing these past four weeks.

So it was a resolution that didn’t quite resolve everything. Some things are never entirely clear, no matter how much we’d like them to be. What happened to Jamie and Peter back in 1985 wasn’t fully revealed, but there was an implication. Had those ’80s detectives figured it out originally, they’d have had to work out how to write up a report that concluded that ‘an ancient tree god sort of ate them’.

Why we’re dealing with mysteries – specifically the enigma of who the murdered ‘Lexie Mangan’ was – there were no firm answers there, either. She was either a lost soul who was never meant to be found or the actual personification of the Irish folklore ‘fetch’ mentioned earlier in the series. If she was the latter, again, that’s a tricky conclusion for Cassie to type up for O’Kelly. Probably best she sticks to the more straightforward ‘Jane Doe’ explanation.

‘Shane used to say it was our fault,’ Jonathan Devlin tells Rob near the end here. ‘We raised the darkness with what we did to Sandra. And we did… Rosalind.’

There were firm answers to the question of what happened to Katy Devlin…

Episode 7 revealed that archaeological dig assistant Damien was responsible for her murder. We were a little sceptical about that being the full story and we were right to be. Only it turns out that Damien was driven to kill Katy by her scheming older sister Rosalind – played here by an excellently off-key Leah McNamara.

Not to blow our own trumpets too much, but we (rather tentatively) called the killer(s) back in our review of episode 2, when we said:

‘There’s something a little fishy about student archaeologist Damien. And maybe even Katy’s sister Rosalind.’

Okay, so we also eyed up a few other suspects in later write-ups, but never mind any of that.

Why would Katy’s sister manipulate a vulnerable young man into killing her much-loved sibling? Well, that’s exactly it – it was all about the love. As the unwanted and unloved one, Rosalind hated her parents and wanted to take away the one person that they truly did adore. It was an act committed purely out of spite. Poor Katy was merely collateral damage.

Rosalind wasn’t going down without a fight, either. Not content with ruining her family’s lives, she decided to take down Cassie and Adam too. Calling the former in to interview her, Rosalind confessed in full before dropping the Adam bomb on everyone.

Rob’s true identity – and Cassie’s complicity in his covering it up at work – saw both of them pushed off the team. And probably for the best. Cassie took the ferry to England to end her pregnancy and ended on something of a sweet note, with her head on ex Sam’s shoulder. While Rob/Adam simply left.

Adam left the Knocknaree woods while they were being flattened, off to a nothing job in the middle of nowhere. Like his lupine spirit in the hour’s final seconds, he’d been forced to run off and leave the trees behind. It was at least a relief of sorts for him and a touching and fitting end.

So, then. Where does that leave us for a second series? Well, earlier in our coverage of Dublin Murders, we pointed out that Tana French and Sarah Phelps’ world seems to exist in the same metaphysical universe as True Detective. Not only that but both detective series are anthologies too. At least Dublin Murders has the ability to be one, anyway.

This first run focused on French’s opening novels in the Dublin Murder Squad series, In the Woods and The Likeness. The next novel, Faithful Place, doesn’t see Rob or Cassie heading up an investigation – it’s Cassie’s unorthodox undercover boss Frank that’s the focal point. So are we gearing up for a second series? Well, it would explain Tom Vaughan-Lawlor’s Frank hanging around for the final scene here…

Let’s hope so, anyway. Even if it is the hope that kills. Well, that along with blunt force trauma and strangulation, of course.

Did you catch Dublin Murders episode 7? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Dublin Murders series 1 consists of eight episodes and available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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5 Comments

    Loved Rob & Cassie as team detectives and their finally understanding they can’t be lovers but can continue to work as friends because they are compassionate about keeping their secrets. Rob has at last has reached a healing as has Cassie.
    Episode 7 ending has Rob solving Katy’s killer and Cassie solves Lexie’s killing and it’s ok to return to force. I was to believe nothing more needed to be revealed , Katy’s killer probably also killed Peter & Jamie. A Good ending. But I read episode 8 and it shatters everything, Too bad, because Rob and Cassie and others on the police force made for a great police series in Dublin.

    Have got/read all of Tana French books, all excellent.
    My favourite is The Likeness.
    However, I feel that two such detailed and complex novels were spoilt by running them into one series- plenty of materials for two separate ones! The characters were not developed properly, especially re the second book, “The Likeness”. However, I did enjoy the series !
    Judith Scott.

    I agree 100%. I fell in love with Tana’s books over late summer and quickly blew through all of them. She’s excellent. I did think it was too much material for a series and that The Likeness suffered because of that, it was too compressed with little information. It was also one of my very favorite novels. I did enjoy the series and thought it was wrapped up well still. I hope they will add another series. I also hope Ms. French is working on her next novel!

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