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Bloodlands season 2: next episode air date, cast, plot, trailer and everything we know

Bloodlands season 2
Bloodlands season 2 again stars James Nesbitt. (Image credit: BBC)

Bloodlands season 2 is back on BBC One following on from the first series, which drew in a whopping 8.2 million viewers. Now the thriller, which is set in Northern Ireland, returns for its second nail-biting series.

Last year fans couldn't get enough of Bloodlands season 1, starring James Nesbitt as tormented detective DCI Tom Brannick, and they found themselves on the edge of their seats as a twisted cat-and-mouse game ensued with Brannick seemingly more determined than ever to seek justice for Goliath’s past crimes. But there was an almighty twist in the tale and now the series is back for more drama. 

Here's what we know so far about Bloodlands season 2...

Bloodlands season 2 release date

Bloodlands season 2, created by Line of Duty's Jed Mercurio, began on Sunday, September 18 at 9.05 pm on BBC One. New episodes are airing on a weekly basis, with the next one slated for Sunday, October 2 at 9 pm.

There is no news yet on a US release date but we will update this page if one is announced. 

Bloodlands series 2 cast: who's starring?

James Nesbitt as DCI Tom Brannick in Bloodlands

James Nesbitt as DCI Tom Brannick in Bloodlands. (Image credit: BBC)

James Nesbitt reprises his role as tormented detective DCI Tom Brannick. Also returning for the second series are Charlene McKenna (Peaky Blinders, Holding) as DS Niamh McGovern, Lorcan Cranitch (The Last Kingdom, The Dig) as DCS Jackie Twomey, Lola Petticrew (Tuesday, Dating Amber) as Brannick's daughter Izzy and Chris Walley (The Young Offenders, 1917) and DC 'Birdy' Bird.

Bloodlands James Nesbitt, Lorcan Cranitch, Charlene McKenna

Lorcan Cranitch and Charlene McKenna reprise their roles of Jackie Twomey and Niamh McGovern. (Image credit: BBC1)

"I love working with Lorcan, Charlene and Chris but I find those scenes very painful because of who Brannick is and because of how his lies, his duplicity and his manipulation of them goes against what he and the force stand for and how he has, in a sense, sold his soul. Brannick projects a lot of his self-hatred and self-loathing onto them," says James. 

Bloodlands: are there any new stars joining for season 2?

There are indeed. Victoria Smurfit (Marcella, Once Upon a Time) joins the cast as Olivia Foyle, an enigmatic widow at the center of Brannick’s latest case.

Victoria Smurfit as Olivia

Victoria Smurfit joins the cast of series two as Olivia Foyle, who's central to the case. (Image credit: BBC1)

"Victoria and I first worked together on Cold Feet over 20 years ago. We had chemistry back then and that chemistry is still there on Bloodlands," says James Nesbitt on his new co-star. "Olivia is incredibly disarming, sexy, intelligent, frightening and cold. She prods away at Brannick’s vulnerability, creating little chinks in his armour in a way that he might be falling for her and how that weakens him. Olivia demonstrates to Brannick a lot of the things that exist in him but doesn’t want to admit. Victoria was brilliant because I never really knew what would be happening with her - but then Brannick doesn’t know what’s happening with Olivia."

Bloodlands series 2: What's the story so far?

*Warning season one spoilers below!*

Series one began with DCI Tom Brannick (Nesbitt) being called to investigate after a car is pulled from the river at Strangford Lough. As a postcard boasting an image of Belfast’s iconic Samson and Goliath cranes is found hidden in the wing mirror, Brannick tells senior officer Jackie Twomey (Fortitude’s Lorcan Cranitch) that he fears legendary serial killer — codenamed Goliath — has returned. It’s then revealed that one of Goliath’s victims was Brannick’s own wife, Emma…

What followed was a twisted cat-and-mouse game with Brannick seemingly more determined than ever to seek justice for Goliath’s past crimes. But there was an almighty twist in the tale as, in the final episode, viewers learned Brannick WAS Goliath!

Bloodlands

Brannick was hell-bent on tracking down serial killer Goliath. There were shocks when his identity was finally revealed. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Bloodlands series 2: Where do we pick up the story?

When the murder of a crooked accountant unravels a trail of greed that threatens to expose his identity as the legendary assassin, Goliath, DCI Tom Brannick (Nesbitt) and the accountant’s widow, Olivia Foyle (Victoria Smurfit) must keep each other dangerously close.

As they try to solve the riddle her husband left behind, and become more and more immersed in the puzzle of each other, Brannick and Olivia draw in his fellow officers DS Niamh McGovern, DCS Jackie Twomey and DC 'Birdy' Bird, as well as Brannick’s daughter, Izzy, until deceit and betrayal force Brannick to question just what lengths he will go to in order to keep his legacy intact.

"Revealing Brannick was Goliath in the first series almost felt like a confessional - but just to the audience, not the other characters," explains James. "The responsibility of holding onto this secret without even the audience knowing was quite difficult, so it now feels quite freeing in a way. It means that the tightrope I now have to walk as Brannick gets very narrow at times - but that's key in being able to navigate the complicated chess game Brannick plays with all the different characters."

Bloodlands series 2: So Brannick is investigating the case while manipulating it at the same time?

"That's right,' says James. "I think Brannick gets off on the power. I'd like to say he doesn't but I actually think he can't help it, particularly with this storyline in series two. It’s impossible not to be, not only corrupted, but rather empowered and almost sexualised by it."

Bloodlands series 2 episode recaps *spoilers*

Bloodlands series 2 episode one recap

Season 2 opens with a flashback to 1998, where we see Tom (presumably as Goliath) kill two people and recover cases containing rifles and gold bars. Then, we jump forward to the present day, and the investigation into the death of local accountant Colin Foyle gets underway.

After viewing the scene of the crime, Tom returns home to retrieve a burner phone containing messages from Colin about gold; he goes to the last location Colin mentioned to Tom, but finds the drop-off empty.

Later, he and Niamh visit Colin’s wife, Olivia Foyle to inform her of Colin’s death. Jackie Twomey arrives to pay his respects to Colin’s previous wife, Michelle, and reveals to Tom and Niamh that he used to be a client of Colin’s. 

Jackie broke the relationship off after Colin was questioned about money laundering in connection with an £11 million robbery from the Irish Savings Bank in 2006. A car is spotted outside the estate, and Olivia lies and says that she didn’t know who it was, leaving the officers to race after the driver (later revealed to be Robert Dardis).

As the investigation deepens, it becomes clear that Olivia is withholding info about the case; as it turns out, Olivia had been a client of Dardis’ for several months, and Colin was thought not to spend his money on things and she was due to fly to New York the morning after Colin was reported missing. Dardis could also be involved, as the weapon used to kill Colin is suspected to be intended for military use, and he’s an ex-soldier, plus he works at a club alongside some other bouncers who have done time for robbery and has made it clear that he’s interested in Olivia.

A ledger is subsequently uncovered in a secret compartment in Colin’s vehicle. It contains a secret code that Tom later susses out points to a storage unit during a search of the Foyle property. After she’s brought in for questioning, Tom follows Olivia to the unit. She finds the same cases we saw in the flashback, but they’re empty save for one of the rifles. Outside, Tom uses the burner phone to text her asking for the gold back.

Victoria Smurfit as Olivia Foyle in Bloodlands season 2

What else could Olivia be hiding? (Image credit: BBC/HTM Television)

Bloodlands series 2 episode 2 recap

Tom and Niamh join the police as they raid the house where Rob Dardis is hiding; he tries to escape, but is apprehended. Tom finds and conceals Dardis' pistol and has him charged for Colin's murder. Later, he reveals that he'd sent the text about the gold to Olivia when he goes to question her about Dardis.

Jackie Twomey tells Niamh to stop pursuing the Goliath connection, even though the date in the ledger is the same day the first Goliath disappearance was reported. During questioning, Tom threatens that social services could take Dardis' son away from him, allowing Dardis' solicitor to request he be released from custody due to coercion.

Dardis is returned to his family under surveillance. Shortly thereafter, someone sets fire to his shed, and they are moved to a new location, though Niamh separates Dardis and takes him to a different safe house as he's the one being targeted.

Under cover of night (and sporting a pair of boots that match those prints found at the scene of Colin's murder), Tom approaches the safe house. He takes Dardis away after saying he believes there's a leak in the force and he's not safe. 

Tom tries to provoke Dardis into revealing the location of the gold; during their conversation, Dardis confesses to killing Colin after he "lost his nerve" and susses out that Tom was Goliath all along, prompting Tom to kill him and dump the body in a nearby lake.

Tom hides Dardis' phone and gun in his home. Someone from the storage facility calls Birdy about Unit 174. They go down to the facility and crack open the unit, finding the two rifle cases. The other sniper rifle is still there, but it is confirmed not to be the one Dardis used to shoot Colin.

After Olivia is spotted on the storage facility's cameras, she's brought in for questioning. Tom turns off the cameras in the interview room and goes to see her. He guess she doesn't know where the gold is being kept, but she smiles and says she can still offer something as she's "very good at keeping secrets"...

Tom Brannick (James Nesbitt) checks a phone in the boat in Bloodlands season 2

Tom covered his tracks by killing Robert Dardis in episode 2. (Image credit: BBC/HTM Television)

Bloodlands series 2: Is it still filmed in Northern Ireland?

Absolutely. And proud Northern Irishman James relishes the opportunity to return to  his motherland for the crime drama.

"I’m very much drawn to working in Northern Ireland," he reveals. "Tackling The Troubles is like the ‘King Lear’ moment for a Northern Irish actor. Bloodlands has the exciting aspect of a cat-and-mouse thriller with the complexity of a character like Brannick. Someone who, at his core, was on the good side of an evolving Northern Ireland and who had suffered a great deal as a result of The Troubles. Someone who, as we know, had to pay some terrible prices and do some terrible things to find peace. It was just wonderful to be so grounded again in the environment of Northern Ireland, which becomes another character in our show."

Bloodlands season 2: Is there a trailer?

Yes, and it looks great...

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!