Dublin Murders Review: Atmospheric Drama Is a Nice Addition to the Starz Lineup

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For whatever reason, mysteries produced in the UK and Europe tend to have more atmosphere.

If you're a fan of shows like Top of the Lake and The Fall, you need to watch Dublin Murders, a moody, atomopheric drama drawing upon rich history and deep secrets.

Starring Sarah Green and Killian Scott, it's an adaptation of two Tana French novels adapted by screenwriter Sarah Phelps.

Dublin Murders Key Art

As a big fan of UK dramas, this one was a no-brainer for me, but it had the added appeal of starring Scott, who I found mesmerizing in Irish drama Love/Hate.

While it's not well-known in the US (and that's a shame), it set a high standard for Irish productions. The lush, often gloomy scenery of Dublin Murders is much different than the city streets featured in Love/Hate, but both extraordinarily showcase Ireland.

Killian Scott of Dublin Murders

Fans of Love/Hate (which can be found on Netflix) also get treated to a mini-series reunion as lead, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, costars. The good news is that even without that fun connection, Dublin Murders 

This series revolves around Cassie Maddox (Greene, known for Penny Dreadful and Ransom) and Rob Reilly (Scott) as they get deep into the troubling murder of Katy Devlin, an aspiring ballerina, twin sister, and daughter of a local family.

After Katy's body is found on an altar in the middle of the forest, the case ripples across the community not only due to its macabre nature and the loss of a life so young but  because two children went missing in that forest never to be seen again 21 years earlier.

With a history as rich as the Irish, it's unsurprising that a community in mourning might lean into folklore to give them some solace in the face of such a tragedy.

A Disturbing Crime Scene on Dublin Murders

And since Adam, the only boy of a trio of friends to survive a romp in the woods remembered nothing and subsequently disappeared from public life and a case gone cole, it seems like one of their only options.

The two worlds collide as Cassie and Rob begin an investigation into Katy's murder while simultaneously attempting to connect the decade's old case with surprising results that ripple through the commnity.

As each layer of the disturbing but entirely different cases gets unearthed, more comes to light about Cassie and Rob, as well.

Their strong bond makes them two of the Garda's best detectives, but it also sets them at odds with others in the department and each other as the past and present mix.

Sarah Greene of Dublin Murders

There are a lot of different elements to Dublin Murders, from the mystical to issues of identity.

Identity gets explored within families, between twins and their siblings, and in relation to survivors as a result of traumatic experience. Cassie and Rob share troubled childhoods and a lifelong search for acceptance that spearheads the theme.

Some people never escape grief, and the detectives find in each other kindred souls and understanding they've craved but never found with anyone else. 

Their history uniquely allows them to identify with particular cases, and by the time they get the call to the forest, they're prickly about the number of dead children they've had to investigate.

Rob and Cassie on Dublin Murders

The secrets and themes uncovered during the investigation is heady, troubling stuff for the detectives and viewers.

They're the kind of detectives who get so immersed in their cases that they lose themselves, and while working Katy's case, they get pulled in vastly different directions threatening the case as their tether to one another gets stretched to fracture point. 

There is nary a light moment found on Dublin Murders, and it's not hard to imagine getting pulled under if your work was dedicated to such darkness. The characters are richly drawn and complex, and with each harrowing interaction, you get pulled more fully into their world.

Greene and Scott are capable, charismatic leads and play well off of each other's strengths. The authenticity with which they display their characters' profound sadness pulls at your heart offering a uniquely personal experience.

Conleth Hill on Dublin Murders

Vaughan-Lawlor does a terrific job, as well, as a fellow detective who worked with Cassie in the past. He uses her insatiable desire to curb the gnawing pain inside of her to embed deeply in a case to her detriment.

Another face you'll recognize belongs to Conleth Hill aka Game of Thrones' Lord Varys. Hill fills the shoes of Superintendent O'Kelly and deftly makes the most of his time on screen.

The supporting cast also features younger actors, including Amy Macken in her first role as twins Katy and Jessica Devlin. Vikings alum Lean McNamara plays elder sister Rosalind showing impressive range in a role that skirts the line between adolescence and adulthood.

Along with a handful of other youths, they carry a lot of the emotional burden of the storyline to great effect.

The Devlin Family on Dublin Murders

The psychological mystery takes many twists and turns as it winds its way to an almost inevitable conclusion, and at times it takes modest but bizarre detours.

Like a good binge-watch drama, stunning reveals at the end of each hour leave you yearning for more, but you'll have to wait another seven days to get your fill, as Starz will be airing it across eight weeks.

Moody and thoughtful, Dublin Murders is a worthy addition to an already crowded Sunday lineup.

Check out the trailer now, and let me know if you'll tune in when it premieres Sunday, November 10 at 8/7c on Starz.


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Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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