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'Bloodlands' — everything you need to know about the thriller

Bloodlands stars James Nesbitt.
Bloodlands stars James Nesbitt. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Bloodlands is a new crime thriller that's currently airing on BBC1 — and is already proving to be one of the best BBC dramas of 2021. 

Written by first time TV writer Chris Brandon and executive produced by Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio, it is the first drama from newly formed production company HTM Television, which is co-owned by Mercurio and Hat Trick Productions.

Set in Northern Ireland, there's an impressive cast attached to the series with Cold Feet actor James Nesbitt playing the leading role of police detective Tom Brannick.

Jed Mercurio says: “HTM Television is honoured such a prestigious cast will bring to life Chris Brandon's thrilling, thought-provoking series Bloodlands.”

Here's everything we know so far about the series...

Bloodlands release date on BBC1

The first episode of Bloodlands aired on BBC1 on February 21 at 9pm. Episode four is being shown on Sunday March 14 at 9pm. The episodes are going up weekly on iPlayer.

What is Bloodlands about?

Bloodlands with Charlene McKenna as Detective Sergeant Niamh McGovern.

Charlene McKenna stars as Detective Sergeant Niamh McGovern. (Image credit: BBC)

According to the BBC, the official synopsis for Bloodlands is: "When a car containing a possible suicide note is pulled out of Strangford Lough, Northern Irish police detective Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt) quickly connects it to an infamous cold case with enormous personal significance. 

"Bloodlands follows his hunt for the legendary assassin known as 'Goliath', an explosive cat-and-mouse game where the stakes have never been higher."

What happens in episode one of Bloodlands? Contains spoilers!

James Nesbitt in Bloodlands

Can Tom find Goliath? (Image credit: BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill)

DCI Tom Brannick is called to a crime scene that resembles the work of a mysterious assassin called Goliath. Tom believes Goliath is the one responsible for his wife’s murder and launches a reinvestigation into the case that’s been unsolved for over 20 years. Along the way, he discovers quite quickly that his newest case threatens to bring all-out war back to the streets, and it becomes a race against time to find Pat Keenan before its too late.

What happens in episode two of Bloodlands? Contains spoilers!

Jackie Twomey (LORCAN CRANITCH) in Bloodlands

Jackie Twomey is causing trouble. (Image credit: BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill)

Amid growing interference from former colleague DCS Jackie Twomey, Tom continues the investigation into Goliath whilst he waits to find out whether one of the bodies found is his missing wife. His investigation leads him to believe Adam Corry, the brother of one of the victims, is hiding something from the police. Meanwhile, Pat Keenan’s boys begin to show they won’t tolerate Tom poking his nose into their business by targeting his daughter.

What happens in episode three? Contains spoilers!

Tom has to work hard to cover his tracks as the Goliath case is blown wide open by news of Adam Corry’s disappearance. We find out what connects Tori Matthews to the Goliath case and the DNA match for the woman in Pat Keenan’s car has finally been found.

Meanwhile, Tom, Birdy, Jackie and Niamh start to compile evidence that suggests Goliath must be serving on the very same force as they are. Tom allies himself with Tori, and they start working together to point the finger at another officer.

Who stars in Bloodlands?

There's an all-star cast attached to Bloodlands, with plenty of great names starring opposite James Nesbitt. Speaking about the opportunity, Nesbitt said: “It’s great to be back making a drama in and about Northern Ireland, which now has a film and television industry as good as any in the world.

"We have compelling scripts from a brilliant young writer who was raised in County Down, which are very exciting and psychologically complex. I can’t wait to start.”

Here's the rest of the cast...

  • James Nesbitt (The Missing, Cold Feet) 
  • Lisa Dwan (Top Boy, Trust)
  • Lorcan Cranitch (Fortitude, The Dig)
  • Charlene McKenna (Ripper Street, Vienna Blood)
  • Ian McElhinney (Derry Girls, Game Of Thrones) 
  • Lola Petticrew (My Left Nut, Come Home) 
  • Chris Walley (The Young Offenders, 1917) 
  • Michael Smiley (Luther, Death and Nightingales) 
  • Kathy Kiera Clarke (Derry Girls, The Pale Horse)
  • Susan Lynch (Happy Valley, Save Me).

Is there a trailer?

Yes, and it's tense!