Last January, the crime show Hidden Assets was a surprise hit when it aired on BBC Four in the UK. Jointly made by Irish and Belgian production companies, it linked a criminal assets recovery investigator in Shannon with missing diamonds and a bombing in Antwerp, making for perfect viewing in BBC Four’s foreign crime slot at 9pm on Saturday evenings.
Now Hidden Assets is set to return for a new series, with the first two episodes broadcast on 2 December, and it will also be made available on iPlayer. If you enjoyed the first series, or the Irish-Swedish collaboration North Sea Connection, it will be worth tuning in.
Things will be a little different this time around. Angelina Ball has left the series so accountant-with-a-gun DS Emer Berry won’t be taking part. Instead you’ll meet DS Claire Wallace, played by Nora-Jane Noone, who also works for the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) in Ireland. She is picking up on the connection between the wealthy Bibi Melnick (Simone Kirby) and smuggling, corruption and organised criminal operations at the port authority in Antwerp. The Melnicks’ company was one of the contractors helping to run the facility.
More than a year has passed since the bombings in Antwerp, and now Bibi is being run out of the company. Returning to Ireland will be risky for her, especially if she talks to CAB. Soon attempts are being made on her life and she has Wallace to deal with as well.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, the counter terrorism agent Christian De Jong (Wouter Hendrickx) is working to find the culprits behind the bombings and he needs to collaborate with Wallace to get the evidence he needs for his case.
Like the Danish crime show Follow the Money, Hidden Assets proves that financial thrillers don’t have to be analytical and dull. Having said that, the second series quickly becomes a complex police procedural. At times, the action is explosive but it’s the new evidence and new angles that keep cropping up which send the plot a little haywire. There’s the feel of a real live investigation underway within the CAB team as they deal with hackers, hitmen and head honchos of multinationals, however the Belgian dimension feels a little contrived.
Hidden Assets is actually a spinoff of the 2017 RTÉ series Acceptable Risk. Season two consists of six 50-minute episodes. Season one was a big success in Ireland, with viewing figures approaching 500,000 for some episodes and is still available on the BBC iPlayer or on Acorn TV in the US. Season two aired in Ireland this September.