‘Bloodlands’: Acorn TV Sets ‘True Detective’-Inspired Thriller in Northern Ireland

James Nesbitt plays a Northern Irish detective in this four-part thriller from Jed Mercurio, the creator of "Line of Duty" and "Bodyguard."
James Nesbitt as Tom Brannick- Bloodlands _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Steffan Hill/AcornTV
James Nesbitt in "Bloodlands"
Steffan Hill/Acorn

Fans of James Nesbitt (“The Missing,” “Cold Feet”) can soon enjoy a heavily-accented dose of the stone-faced Northern Irish actor, as he leads a gripping four-part Irish crime thriller from executive producer Jed Mercurio, the force behind police thrillers “Line of Duty” and “Bodyguard.” Written by Chris Brandon (“Red Rock), who cites “True Detective” and “The Killing” as inspiration, “Bloodlands” follows a veteran detective who must plumb his own dark past to try and solve a cold case. It will premiere this spring on Acorn TV.

Here’s more from Acorn TV’s official synopsis: “When an expensive car containing a suicide note — but no body — is pulled from the sea, veteran Northern Ireland police detective Tom Brannick (Nesbitt) instantly sees the connection to an infamous cold case that holds enormous personal significance for him — a notorious and long-buried series of mysterious disappearances. ‘Bloodlands’ follows Tom Brannick’s obsessive campaign to identify and unmask the semi-mythical figure behind these events, a figure code-named Goliath, after the giant shipyard cranes, Samson and Goliath that dominate the Belfast skyline. It’s a case that comes from Tom’s, and his country’s, dark past.”

Speaking to the Television Critics Association at the virtual CTAM Winter 2021 Press Tour for AMC Networks on Thursday, Nesbitt was grateful for the chance to work with Mercurio and Brandon in his place of origin.

“What first drew me to [the role] was Chris Brandon’s writing,” Nesbitt said. “The writing and the plot were so arresting, it was a character that I felt an affinity with, coming from Northern Ireland, feeling that rage…Northern Ireland has alway been the backdrop to my life in many ways.”

Though the show is set in Northern Ireland and alludes to the IRA, the entire team seamed eager to leave the more violent elements of the country’s painful past behind. Brandon said he wanted to show the beauty of Northern Ireland, as well as the vibrancy of the place as it exists today.

“[‘Bloodlands’] speaks about where Northern Ireland is now, and those not familial with Northern Ireland will hopefully come away with a sense of a place that finds itself thriving and booming and looking to move forward,” Brandon said. “But also carrying the profoundly tragic memories of a violent past and trying to deal with those two things at the same time, which is a conflict I wanted to centralize in James’s character.”

“Bloodlands” premieres on Acorn TV on March 15.

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