A classic game of cat and mouse lies at the heart of BBC1's new crime thriller Bloodlands. Peter Gray reports.

Image Credit: BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill

With Cold Feet star James Nesbitt heading up the cast and Line of Duty creator Jed Mercurio serving as Executive Producer, BBC1’s Bloodlands looks set to wow armchair thriller fans when it debuts on the channel later this year.

Described as “a classic Jed Mercurio thriller” by Nesbitt, Bloodlands tells the story of Belfast detective Tom Brannick’s twenty year struggle to bring ‘legendary’ assassin Goliath to justice. 

Part criminal investigation and part personal crusade, Brannick will stop at nothing to bring his foe down. 

Here’s everything you need to know about BBC1’s Bloodlands:

The plot of Bloodlands

When DCI Tom Brannick (Nesbitt) discovers a suicide note in a car fished out of the Strangford Lough, he quickly connects the message to a cold case he worked on many years before.

 Everything about the case bears the hallmark of legendary criminal nicknamed Goliath.

Once a serving police officer, Goliath vanished into thin air 20 years ago, before embarking on a crime spree that would lead to the death of Brannick’s wife.

James Nesbitt in Bloodlands

Image Credit: BBC / HTM Televison / iStock/ Steffan Hill

Realising that there is still an opportunity to bring him down, Brannick, alongside his partner, DS Niamh McGovern, vows to bring the killer to justice before he has a chance to kill again…

The series is set in modern day Northern Ireland and presents a modern and southward looking city. However, Bloodlands also touches upon the city’s past and the infamous Troubles.

“It is a cat-and-mouse thriller” says Nesbitt of the series. “But the fact that it has the legacy of the Troubles brings an added depth to it. It’s also a story about a father and daughter, and of loss, so there are real human stories attached to it. At its key it’s really about relationships, I think it’s something that audiences will invest in, invest in the characters! “

Jed Mercurio, meanwhile, describes Bloodlands as “a contemporary thriller series with one foot in Northern Ireland’s emotive past” in an interview with the Radio Times.

“The present-day hunt for a suspect opens up the cold case of a legendary serial killer, codenamed Goliath, who evaded capture during the Troubles.

In addition to being a gripping police thriller, Bloodlands explores the dilemma of whether seeking justice for Goliath’s long-dead victims should jeopardise the fragile and hard-won peace of present-day Northern Ireland” he adds. 

Bloodlands cast

James Nesbitt stars as DCI Tom Brannick in the series. Ripper Street’s Charlene McKenna plays Brannick’s partner, DS Niamh McGovern, while Lola Petticrew plays the detective’s teenage daughter Izzy.

The cast also includes Lorcan Cranitch as Jackie Twormey and Lisa Dean as Tori Mathews.

Who’s behind the camera on Bloodlands?

Bloodlands was written by first time Screenwriter Chris Brandon who is best known for his work on Endeavour and Red Rock.

The big news, however, is the inclusion of Jed Mercurio as executive producer. The writer has a slew of TV credits to his name but it’s his BBC1 blockbuster Line of Duty that has really established Mecurio’s name.

The show, which will begin a sixth season in March 2021, has made stars of its three lead actors, Martin Compton, Adrian Dunbar and Vicky McClure, as well as becoming one of the most watched TV shows of the decade.

Charlene Mckenna in Bloodlands

Image Credit:BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill

Bloodlands filming locations

Principal photography on the drama was done in and around Belfast in early 2020. Mercurio has in depth knowledge of the area from his time shooting Line of Duty as all six seasons of the show were filmed in the city.

Is there a Bloodlands trailer?

Yes. Here it is:

Bloodlands start date

Bloodlands will premiere on BBC1 at 9pm on Sunday the 21st of February 2021.

More information about the series can be found here.

For information on other forthcoming TV shows, please click here.


-London's Best Events-
What: new drama
When: 21 Feb 2021 9pm
Where: BBC1
Website: IMDB