The highly-rated RTÉ crime show North Sea Connection is coming to BBC Four in the UK, with the first two episodes airing from 9pm on Saturday 4 February. It’s an ideal series to take in if you enjoy perilous plot lines set in moody, isolated locations on the far-flung fringes of Europe, and this is a show that combines threads of both Nordic and Celtic crime fiction.
In typical noir fashion, things begin with an unfortunate crime and a cover-up. Ciara Kenny, played by Lydia McGuinness, is the captain of a small fishing trawler out of the fictional town of Roskillane in County Galway. Everything’s mostly above board, apart from the occasional pick-up of contraband cigarettes or alcohol from an offshore buoy for Ciara’s brother, Aidan (Kerr Logan). His dream is to raise the capital to build a seafood packaging facility in the town.
When they’re readying for their next run, a crew member doesn’t show up and instead there’s a replacement – one who seems far too keen on the packages they’re collecting. But an altercation leaves the new crewman dead on the deck and, well, what else is there to do in the world of noir than to tie him to an anchor and send him to Davy Jones’s locker?
As if Ciara wasn’t in over her head already, when a case is opened it’s not tobacco inside but a large quantity of amphetamines.
Cover-ups like this never go to plan and, as the series progresses, Swedish narcotics detective Tuva Palsson (Alida Morberg) arrives in Roskillane. A shipment of drugs has washed up on the Connemara coast, possibly from Scandinavia, but local policeman Sergeant Egan (Denis Conway) can’t imagine anyone local being involved.
The problem for Ciara now is that a member of the smuggling ring is dead, drugs have been lost, and the gang want payback. And what about Bjorn Matsson, a Swede living in the area who is a little shifty? Bjorn is played by Claes Ljungmark, whom you’ll remember as the infamous and deadly character The Swede in the Danish series Follow the Money.
As Ciara and her family struggle to extricate themselves from the drug smuggling ring, Tuva closes in on the operation. North Sea Connection brings all this intrigue, along with Galway’s sweeping landscapes and North Atlantic stormfronts as a backdrop.
A joint Irish-Swedish production, the programme consists of six 45-minute episodes, and was originally aired in Ireland in November 2022. There is talk of a second season…