Bloodlands release date: Latest news on Jed Mercurio thriller starring James Nesbitt

This Northern Irish thriller executive produced by Jed Mercurio is currently airing on BBC One.

Bloodlands (BBC)

BBC One detective drama Bloodlands continues with episode three on Sunday 7th March – starring James Nesbitt starring as DCI Tom Brannick, a police officer on the hunt for Belfast-based serial killer Goliath.

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Executive produced by Line of Duty and Bodyguard creator Jed Mercurio, this Northern Irish thriller is only two episodes in but has already taken viewers on a rollercoaster ride of twists and turns, with last week’s instalment ending on a huge, slightly confusing cliffhanger.

The third episode of Bloodlands airs tonight on BBC One and fans are undoubtedly bound to have a lot of questions – who kidnapped Pat Keenan? Who is Goliath? Where is Tom’s wife Emma Brannick and is she really dead?

Lots of information was fired our way in the last two parts so if you’re still a bit puzzled about what’s going on, make sure to check out our recaps for episodes one and two, as well as our four-star review.

Here’s everything you need to know about Bloodlands, what time it’s on TV and who stars in the cast.

When is Bloodlands airing on BBC One?

Bloodlands began on Sunday, 21st February at 9pm on BBC One and is airing episodes weekly, with the series consisting of four parts in total.

Episode three airs on Sunday 7th March at 9pm on BBC One. The finale will air on Sunday 14th March.

What is Bloodlands about?

The series centres around Tom Brannick, a Northern Irish police detective who discovers a possible suicide note in a car that had been left in Strangford Lough, a large sea loch or inlet in County Down.

He soon realises that the note could be linked to an earlier case to which he himself is connected, and what follows is, according to the BBC,  a “dogged hunt for a legendary assassin, an explosive cat-and-mouse game where the stakes have never been higher”.

James Nesbitt in Bloodlands
James Nesbitt in Bloodlands
BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill

Jimmy Mulville, one of the show’s executive producers, called it a “compelling edge-of-the-seat thriller which couldn’t be more timely” adding that the series heralded the arrival of the “Irish noir” genre.

And Jed Mercurio described it as, “a contemporary thriller series with one foot in Northern Ireland’s emotive past.”

He continued, “The present-day hunt for a suspect opens up the cold case of a legendary serial killer, codenamed Goliath, who evaded capture during the Troubles.

“In addition to being a gripping police thriller, Bloodlands explores the dilemma of whether seeking justice for Goliath’s long-dead victims should jeopardise the fragile and hard-won peace of present-day Northern Ireland.”

Who wrote Bloodlands?

The show comes from the pen of first-time writer Chris Brandon, who said that he was “absolutely delighted that the first opportunity I get to tell a story on this scale, it is one that is so close to home and the people and places that raised me”.

Jed Mercurio, an executive producer of the show and one of the biggest names in UK television, has been full of praise for Brandon and his scripts.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding to discover Chris Brandon’s work and to witness the development of an outstanding new voice in contemporary television thriller writing,” Mercurio said.

Meanwhile, directorial duties are being handled by Omagh and Dredd director Pete Travis.

Bloodlands cast

Cold Feet and The Missing star James Nesbitt will lead the Bloodlands cast as Tom Brannick, and the star has said that he was very happy to be back filming in his native Northern Ireland.

Before filming, he said of his involvement: “We have compelling scripts from a brilliant young writer who was raised in County Down, which are very exciting and psychologically complex. I can’t wait to start.”

And closer to the release date he said of his character, “Tom Brannick has been a policeman for over twenty years. He started out when it was the RUC that transformed to the PSNI and would have been there when peace came to Northern Ireland with the Good Friday Agreement.

“He’s a decent man, someone who has known real tragedy during the Troubles. When the name ‘Goliath’ comes up, an assassin possibly in the police force, we find out that one of the victims was his wife, Emma.”

Lisa Dwan in Bloodlands
Lisa Dwan in Bloodlands
BBC / HTM Televison /Steffan Hill

In February 2020, it was announced that Nesbitt would be joined in the cast by a host of major names, many of whom are also Northern Irish.

This includes Ian McElhinney (Derry Girls, Game Of Thrones), Lisa Dwan (Top Boy, Trust) and Michael Smiley (Luther, Death and Nightingales).

Also starring are Lorcan Cranitch (Fortitude, The Dig), Charlene McKenna (Ripper Street, Vienna Blood), Lola Petticrew (My Left Nut, Come Home), Chris Walley (The Young Offenders, 1917), Kathy Kiera Clarke (Derry Girls, The Pale Horse), and Susan Lynch (Happy Valley, Save Me).

Bloodlands trailer

You can check out the first trailer – which sets out the premise of the thriller – below:

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Bloodlands began Sunday, 21st February at 9pm on BBC One, and continues on Sundays. In the meantime, check out our TV Guide for something to watch tonight.