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Another top notch offering from the BBC. (2 episodes in) Wonderful, atmospheric settings and unusually artistic cinematography, a gripping back story and marvellous, marvellous acting. A very good insight into life in Ireland in the 50's also.
Quirke, the outstanding Gabriel Byrne in one of his better efforts ever, is an alcoholic pathologist in Dublin in the 1950's. Quirke, an orphan of unknown parents, was adopted into the wealthy Griffin family. A family where not is all what it seems, and where people love and hate each other at the same time, and harbour secrets, some of them quite terrible. (like a lot of real families). While Quirke tries to help find out what happened to bodies who used to be people with the help of a jaded garda inspector, we unravel his past life episode by episode, and watch his life unravel as well.
It is compelling stuff, I can only highly recommend it. Preferably from the start. While produced by the BBC, it's an all irish cast and location. It looks a million dollar, it's original, the characters are interestingly complex, and it's just very, very good.
It feels very much like the Maigret series with Bruno Cremer, only better (!). Note that the solving of the mystery is only a part of the drama, most of it revolves on the interplay of the family, their problems and their secrets, and the telling of life in a Ireland 60 years ago, with its obedience to the catholic church, treatment of women etc...therefore you can enjoy it even if you aren't fond of murder mysteries. It is nearly an anticlimax to come to the end and have the murder solved (sometimes rather too conveniently - hence the 9 instead of 10 - very small complaint) , so engrossed are you in the actual story in its entirety - you want it to go on!
Do not expect CSI or NCIS, it is as far removed from those shows as possible.
I did not read the books, so that I have no idea how accurate is the adaptation, but I can guarantee the story is perfectly clear and simple to follow, unlike some adaptations that require former knowledge of the written medium to understand anything at all.
I also highly recommend it in HD with a good sound system. The terrific atmosphere deserves that.
Contains smoking and drinking. [;-)]
Edit: Episode 3 is a straight 10/10. Very emotional, and even improved from the other two on all fronts, if that was possible. Classic television in the making. - I just read the first two episodes were adapted by Welsh screenwriter Andrew Davies and the third by Irish playwright/director Conor McPherson. Now it makes sense and it actually shows.
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