Many program imports from across the pond are binge-worthy, and one crime drama well worth one’s while is the 2013 Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) Award winner for Best Television Drama, Love/Hate.
Set in the post-Celtic Tiger boom days of Ireland, Love/Hate follows the lives of a group of gangsters in and around Dublin. Money, drugs, guns, violence, sex. Threats, beatings-up, fire bombings, murders. All part of a day in the life. Ditto the consequences thereof — on the gang members themselves, their families, and other associates and their family members, criminal or not.
The series stars Robert Sheehan (Misfits) as Darren, a rather reluctant criminal who’s been on the lam in Spain to avoid a gun possession charge. He arrives back in Dublin at the same time that his brother, Robbie (Chris Newman, The Clinic), is released from prison.
Meanwhile, Tommy (Killian Scott, Jack Taylor) is in bed with the brothers’ sister, Mary (Ruth Bradley, Primeval), and remembers too late that he’s supposed to pick up Robbie. Unbeknownst to both of them, Robbie has just been killed in a drive-by shooting.
And so begins the drama that takes us from one crime with consequences to another.
Costarring are IFTA Best Television Actor Award winner Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (Becoming Jane) as Nigel, a.k.a. Nidge, one of Darren’s and Robbie’s best mates and a fiendish flunky for John Boy (Aidan Gillen, Game of Thrones), the egomaniacal, drug-addicted gang leader whose good looks belie his unforgiving and increasingly erratic nature. (Much as his name might imply, there is nothing Waltons-ish about him.)
Also in the ensemble cast are other IFTA Television Award winners, including Charlie Murphy (The Village) for Best Actress and Susan Loughnane (Hollyoaks) for Best Supporting Actress, as well as Brian Gleeson (Single-Handed), Ruth Negga (Criminal Justice), and IFTA Best Television Supporting Actor nominee Peter Coonan (Quirke), amongst others.
(By the way, Love/Hate also won IFTA Awards for David Caffrey for Best Television Drama Director, and for series writer and creator Stuart Carolan for Best Television Drama Script.)
I binge-watched the first five episodes a couple nights ago, and expect to finish watching the rest by this weekend. After that, I wait for more, because the fourth series of Love/Hate was just commissioned in February and filming only began in the Spring.
Hulu acquired Love/Hate in December 2012 from RTÉ, the public service broadcaster in Ireland, as did Amazon Instant Video within the past week or so. Both are currently streaming all sixteen episodes of the program’s three seasons.