Quirke is a 2014 BBC mini-series, which premiered in February of 2014. The crime drama is a collaboration between BBC and RTE. The story is based on the books of the same name, by John Banville. Although the season is only three episodes, each lasts an hour and a half, which provides for many interesting mysteries and stunning twists.
The mini-series stars Gabriel Byrne as the pathologist and part-time investigator, Quirke. He is somewhat of a simple man, which a questionable past, which is riddled with tragedy and heartbreak. Although respectable in the community, he often turns to alcohol, when the dramas of life get him down. As the story unfolds, the viewer will begin to learn all about Quirke’s past and turmoil. Byrne, who is likely most famous for In Treatment, does a good job bringing the character to life and displaying a sad face throughout the series.
Quirke’s assistant, Sinclair (Brian Gleeson), matters little to the story, although he is there in each episode. Instead, the show focuses more on his family, the Griffins, who are rich and spoiled. You have Malachy Griffin (Nick Dunning), who consistently puts Quirke down any chance he gets. Sarah, Mal’s wife, (Geraldine Somerville) is much more accepting of Quirke, which is obvious right from the beginning. Of course, it is Phoebe Griffin (Aisling Franciosi), who is likely the most interesting character of the family, since she is constantly running into trouble, usually with the opposite sex. Aisling Franciosi, who is fabulous in BBC’s The Fall, also performs immaculately here in a somewhat similar role.
The series also has a range of support cast, which is a whose who of British television, including Stanley Townsend, who appeared in an episode of Ripper Street and most recently played King of Valencia in Galavant. Another cast member of The Fall, Colin Morgan, also makes an appearance.
Overall, the story is filled with plenty of mystery, which is actually good, but each episode might be a little too long. An hour may have played out a bit better. Of course, the scenery is excellent and helps to set a bleak atmosphere, which correlates perfectly with the story.
Overall, the mini-series is a slow burner, which never seems to get lit. The acting is spot on and definitely worth exploring, if you’re a fan of The Fall or Gabriel Byrne. I also enjoyed Aisling Franciosi tremendously. The story is somewhat cliche, with a few family drama twists thrown in. Since the series is only three episodes, it is certainly worth a watch, but you shouldn’t expect to be blown out of your shoes. It deserves a 6.5 out of 10. PS. Subtitles are HIGHLY recommended!