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Clean Sweep: The Irish crime show comes to BBC Four

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Irish crime drama Clean Sweep, Charlene McKenna

Back in January we reported on North Sea Connection, which turned out to be one of the most popular crime shows we’ve written about so far this year. If you loved that Irish production, then Clean Sweep might also hold you in its thrall. Arriving on BBC Four with a double bill starting at 9pm on Saturday 29 July, it too was made in the West of Ireland. Written by Gary Tieche, the programme has been billed as a slow-burn psychological thriller and is based on real events.

Tune in to Clean Sweep and you’ll meet Shelly Mohan, who is played by Charlene McKenna of Bloodlands and Peaky Blinders fame. Shelly is a stay-at-home mum who ferries her three kids to school, is on the PTA and makes a home for her husband Jason, played by Barry Ward, a detective in the garda.

Everything has that middle-class, suburban vibe until Shelly is contacted by someone from her past. Charlie Lynch approaches her and they agree to meet. It seems he has some leverage on Shelly – a history she doesn’t want revealed to her family, or to anyone. To protect those secrets, she takes drastic action.

Charlene McKenna and Barry Ward in Clean Sweep

Barry, meanwhile, wants to prove himself as a crack detective and when a man is found shot dead he’s desperate to take the case. Little does he know it, but his seemingly peaceful wife Shelly was involved in the man’s murder. Naturally, Shelly is at pains to make sure her connection to the dead man is kept under wraps. In addition, she has a bigger secret that goes back decades – another life, it seems, a million miles away from playing the demure housewife.

This will not be easy going for Shelly – which is why this is a six-part drama rather than a feature length production. Not only are Jason and his parter Fiona (Jeanne Nicole Ní Áinle) digging into the case but Charlie Lynch’s murder arouses the interest of Scotland Yard. A historic case with political and international facets to it is reopened by DSI Gwen Critchett (Cathy Belton) over in London, and as the series progresses various clues point to Shelly. She will have to take plenty of evasive action – indeed, drastic action – to keep her new life intact, and Clean Sweep evolves to become a cat and mouse game between herself, her husband and his investigative team.

Clean Sweep aired in Ireland from May 2023 and while it received a mixed response from reviewers there, every instalment has a rating above 7 on IMDB. Consisting of six 45-minute episodes, it is available in the US via SundanceNow.

Click here for more Irish crime fiction.

Irish crime show Clean Sweep


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