21/02/2021 08:06 GMT

Bloodlands Is The Explosive New Drama From The Makers Of Line Of Duty – Here's What You Need To Know

James Nesbitt leads the cast of the four-part BBC series, executive produced by Jed Mercurio.

If you love Line Of Duty or were blown away by Bodyguard, chances are you’re going to enjoy the BBC’s new drama Bloodlands. 

The show is executive produced by the man behind two of the UK’s biggest hits in recent TV history, Jed Mercurio.

Ahead of its debut on Sunday night, here’s everything you need to know about the thrilling new show...

James Nesbitt in BBC drama Bloodlands

What is Bloodlands about?

Much like Line Of Duty and Bodyguard, Bloodlands is a tense, high-stakes thriller that has a habit of leaving you on the edge of your seat. 

An official synopsis for the series describes it as one man’s “dogged hunt for a legendary assassin” in what’s described as “an explosive cat-and-mouse game”. 

It begins as a car containing a possible suicide note is pulled out of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, DCI Tom Brannick quickly connects it to an infamous cold case when the name Goliath – an assassin possibly in the police force – comes up, after he evaded capture during the Troubles.

He has a deeply personal connection to the case, as we soon find out that one of Goliath’s victims was Tom’s wife Emma. 

Line Of Duty boss Jed Mercurio has executive produced Bloodlands

Set in Northern Ireland, the legacy of the Troubles still haunt Tom, who is unable to move on from the tragedies of the past. 

Writer Chris Brandon explains: “As a veteran detective he has a foot in both the past and the present.

“He has hope for the future in the potential of his daughter, but he is stopped from moving forward by the resurrection of an assassin myth; a symbol of police collusion in past violence that holds deeply personal significance.”

Je Mercurio adds that the show “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”.

Who is in the cast?

James Nesbitt (Cold Feet, The Missing) takes the lead as DI Tom Brannick. He has been a police officer for over 20 years and is father to Izzy, who he is very protective over.

DI Tom Brannick

“He’s a decent man, someone who has known real tragedy during the Troubles,” James says.”I think as he’s coming to the end of his career, the idea of this old case rearing its head again is terrifying to him and everyone in the force – lots of suspicions, paranoia – and there’s great danger of what this means for the peace process.”

Lisa Dwan (Top Boy, Rock Rivals) plays Tori Matthews, a bright and friendly doctor who has returned to Belfast after living abroad for several years to look after her ailing mother.

Tori Matthews

“She begins teaching at Queen’s University, where she runs into to Tom’s daughter,” Lisa explains. “She is smart, inquisitive and resourceful with a painful past.”

Charlene McKenna (Ripper Street, Whistleblower) plays DS Niamh McGovern, a colleague of Tom’s who works with him to solve the mystery of a car pulled from Strangford lough.

DS Niamh McGovern

Lorcan Cranitch (Rome, Ballykissangel) appears as Jackie Twomey, who works with Tom and Niamh and has been in the police force all his professional life.

“When he joined, it was known as the Royal Ulster Constabulary. As a young recruit from the catholic, nationalist community, it was a brave step,” Lorcan says. “But Jackie believed and still does, that the way of peace is best served by seeing things from another side.”

Jackie Twomey

Also among the cast are Ian McElhinney (Derry Girls, Game Of Thrones), Chris Walley (Young Offenders) and Kathy Kiera Clarke (Derry Girls, Bloody Sunday). 

Why should I watch it?

James says that, in classic Jed Mercurio style, there are lots of twists and turns in Bloodlands, with different story strands that all come together in unpredictable ways. 

James reveals: “It is a cat-and-mouse thriller 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.

“But also, it is a classic Jed Mercurio thriller, where you’re not really sure what’s going on, with many different stories interwoven into it. I think it will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.”

Watch the trailer...


Bloodlands begins on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One.