Bloodlands season 2 has finally arrived for US viewers having already returned to BBC One.
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 you need to know about Bloodlands season 2...
Bloodlands season 2 US release date
Bloodlands season 2 is available now on Acorn TV in the US.
UK viewers can still catch up on the action on BBC iPlayer.
Bloodlands series 2 episode recaps *spoilers ahead*
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.
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"...
Bloodlands season 2 episode 3 recap
In episode 3, Tom has Birdy trace Rob Dardis' fuel card to see if they can learn more about his whereabouts leading up to the murder; secretly, he records Birdy's login details for his own usage, as he's started working off-the-record with Olivia Foyle to track down the missing gold.
At Colin's funeral, his children make it clear that they do not trust Olivia, and point to her shady history in New York as evidence that she was doing wrong. Olivia reveals that Dardis used to also drive Colin for business, and one of the locations picked up on Dardis' GPS was a jeweler who was one of Colin's clients. Searching the premises reveals that the jeweler, Lauren Fitzpatrick, has been manufacturing bullets and connects her to Colin's murder.
Tom uses Birdy's log-in to request a trace on another of Rob Dardis's vehicles, a silver Mercedes. One of the locations on that car's GPS is a yacht club, but Colin didn't own a boat. Olivia gets a list of all the members, and together she and Tom identify Colin's solicitor, Noel Timoney, on the list.
Tom visits Noel. He tells Tom that Colin had his will amended the day he was murdered; a conversation with Colin's kids sees Tom learning that Olivia has been entirely written out of the will. Suspiciously, she agreed to this arrangement herself.
The forensics team breaks into a safe at the jeweler's workshop and finds one of the missing gold bars. The team interviews Lauren again, who reveals that the gold bar belonged to Goliath, who was one of Colin's clients. Armed with this new info, Niamh goes to see Jackie Twomey and posits a theory that Goliath could still be out there.
In the background of the main investigation, Niamh continues to try and identify who attacked Rob Dardis' home, though they have very little evidence to work off save for a bootprint and a photograph of a hand throwing the petrol bomb.
Bloodlands season 2 episode 4 recap
A member of the Savage crime family travels to demand the gold back from Olivia; she tells him she doesn’t have it, but is working with Tom to recover it, and he gives her until the end of the week to recover it.
Tom learns that Colin Foyle was a Covert Human Intelligence Source (a CHIS) at one point during an investigation into Hugo McNamara. McNamara was one of Colin’s clients who operated businesses in Castlewellan.
One of the businesses in question was a mine, which Olivia and Tom broke into, but the gold wasn’t there. Meanwhile, Niamh continues to look into the potential Goliath connection in secret, despite receiving a new warning about it from Jackie Twomey.
Birdy spots Tom on a neighbor’s surveillance camera the night Rob Dirdas’ home is petrol bombed. He decides to try and put some distance between himself and Izzy whilst he starts compiling evidence against Tom. One night, he begins a covert surveillance operation on his boss and follows him and Olivia to a graveyard.
There, the pair recovered the other seven gold bars from Michelle Foyle’s grave. Birdy photographed the pair together with the gold, but Tom spotted and confronted him. Just as Birdy tried to arrest him, Olivia shot Birdy through the windscreen of the car with the gun she’d recovered from Tom’s house.
Bloodlands season 2 episode 5 recap
Tom rushes to Olivia’s home to demand where she’s kept the gold. Furious over Birdy’s murder, he places her under arrest, though she convinces him not to bring her in as they recognize they need one another. She tells him where to find the missing rifle, and in exchange, Olivia asks Tom to help get all suspicion off her back.
Birdy’s car is located near the church where Tom and Olivia recovered the gold; once the scene is investigated, Tom gets as many resources as possible pulled off the Colin Foyle case to help locate Birdy. Meanwhile, Olivia goes to Ryan Savage and asks for more time to get him the gold.
Later, Olivia heads into the station with new evidence against her husband and informs Tom and Niamh that she is considering taking out a harassment claim against the police. At the golf club, Ryan Savage is attacked by an unknown assailant.
Back at the church, the forensics team realizes that the gold was stashed in Michelle Foyle’s grave. Distraught over Birdy’s death, Niamh tells Twomey she blames herself for Birdy’s disappearance as he found her Goliath evidence board and she warned him off.
Izzy goes to the police station to ask about Birdy, and Tom breaks the news about his disappearance to her. She asks to go to his house to get her own stuff, and Tom goes with her, recovering Birdy's laptop in the process. Meanwhile, Olivia finds two boxes in her home; one is a new burner phone; the other is revealed to contain body parts from the killer she sent after Ryan, who calls her on the phone.
Ryan demands to know everything about Tom, and she tells him about his daughter. At the end of the episode, Ryan is seen watching over Tom and Izzy as he promises to Izzy that he’s going to find, and kill, whoever got to Birdy.
Bloodlands series 2 cast: who's starring?
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.
"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 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 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: 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...
James Nesbitt returns as the enigmatic Detective Brannick in Bloodlands Season 2. Mark your calendars for the premiere of this gripping Irish thriller on February 6. pic.twitter.com/hJ60efHUrIJanuary 27, 2023
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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!