Remember Bloody land (BBC One), in which James Nesbitt played a Northern Irish detective who did bad things by hooking up with glamorous blondes? Well, it’s back for a second series. The glamorous blonde from the first series has unfortunately been shot, but don’t worry, she can be replaced. Twenty minutes later, a woman who lives up to her job description is sobbing over her husband’s death as she caresses Nesbitt’s knee.

You will need to remember a little more if you want to fully understand the plot. In the first series, we learned that back in 1998, Inspector Tom Branick (Nesbitt) shot and killed two paramilitaries who were accepting weapons on an island in Strangford Loch. Let’s skip the complicated stuff below and go back to this episode where we learn that the weapons shipment also included gold bars. They fell into the hands of an accountant who appears to have been an acquaintance of Branick’s, named Colin Foyle. He was also shot. A lot of people get killed in the Bloodlands.

The main strength of the first series was that we initially thought of Tom Branick as one of the good guys, only to discover that he was hiding a very dark past. We start the second series with this knowledge, which makes it a different proposition.

His partner Niamh McGovern (Charlene McKenna) suspects him. McGovern is at his best here, berating Branick for his age when they hear the witness works at a nightclub: “You need to go. I heard they do a senior citizen discount. As for the rest? Well, it’s pretty grim (does Northern Ireland have sun? This show suggests not) and consists mostly of Nesbitt looking shaky, angry, tense, or ominous. The tense soundtrack from composer Ruth Barrett is back, and it’s so dominant that at times it feels like a theme tune with a little drama.

The plot is good enough to keep me coming back for the second episode, but dramas can feel heavy when the main character isn’t likable and maybe everyone is lying. We can’t believe anything Branick says. We can’t trust anything the widow (Victoria Smurfit) says. And I’m not sure if we should trust the head of the department, Jackie Toomey (Lorcan Kranich) or not.

At least they livened up by crossing the show with Grand plans and put Smurfette’s character, Olivia Foyle, in a house with extravagant glass that would make Kevin McCloud glow with delight.

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