Bloodlands season 2 release date speculation: Latest news on James Nesbitt drama
Filming has begun on a second season of BBC One's Bloodlands. *WARNING: spoilers for Bloodlands season 1*
The first season of Bloodlands, which centred around the mysterious assassin responsible for the 1998 disappearances and probable deaths of four people, proved a massive success and was Northern Ireland’s most watched BBC drama on record.
It’s hardly surprising then, that fans have been clamouring for the release of season two.
And they're in luck: filming has now begun on the new season of Bloodlands, which will soon return to our screens with six hour-long episodes.
Victoria Smurfit joins the cast as Olivia, "an enigmatic widow at the centre of Brannick’s latest case whose intentions may be far from innocent".
Bloodlands star James Nesbitt said: “It’s brilliant to be back filming in Northern Ireland and reunited with the gang for the second series of Bloodlands. I couldn’t be happier to be welcoming Victoria to the cast, having first worked with her over 20 years ago! I can’t wait for audiences to see what’s next for the cunning and complex Tom Brannick.”
Smurfit added: ”I’m beyond excited to be joining the cast of Bloodlands and to be working with Jimmy again. I adored watching the first series!”
Creator and writer Chris Brandon said: “It’s very exciting to be able to return with another series of Bloodlands, and to reunite with such a talented cast and crew in Northern Ireland. I can’t wait to watch James Nesbitt as Tom Brannick again, as he navigates the thrills and surprises of this new story, and I’m delighted to welcome Victoria Smurfit to the drama.”
Season 2 was commissioned by BBC One in March 2021, shortly after the first season reached its conclusion with a jaw-dropping final episode.
The news came as a surprise even to Brandon, who recently told The Irish News: "I thought I was going to have to wait months to find out whether it was being recommissioned."
While the Irish writer is still working on the plot for season 2, he has teased that the show will "delve a lot deeper" into Tom Brannick's past, saying: "Bloodlands is essentially the story of Brannick."
Read on for everything we know so far about Bloodlands series two and what it's likely to cover.
Bloodlands season 2 release date speculation
It’s not yet clear when exactly James Nesbitt will return to our screens with a second season of Bloodlands but, given that filming only kicked off in February 2022, we may have to wait a little longer.
Speaking of the BBC drama's renewal, director of BBC Drama Piers Wenger said back in March 2021 that he had been "overwhelmed" by the audience response to the series, adding that he was "thrilled" to be renewing it for another instalment.
"Chris' scripts shine a light on to tensions in Northern Ireland, both historic and present day," he said. "And it’s a testament to his skills as a dramatist, to a virtuoso performance from Jimmy Nesbitt and the care taken by all at HTM Television, that the series has been so beloved by audiences in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK.”
Executive Producer Jed Mercurio added: "Everyone at HTM Television is thrilled our debut production has been recommissioned. It's a tribute to the quality of Chris Brandon's writing, the hard work of our crew and the brilliant performance of our cast led by James Nesbitt.
"We're grateful for the outstanding support we've received from the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen and can't wait to reward Bloodlands fans with another twisty case for Brannick and co."
And star James Nesbitt said he was "thrilled" at the positive viewer response to the series, teasing: "I’m always happy to be back in Northern Ireland and to reveal even more about Tom Brannick.”
As for writer Chris Brandon, he spoke of his delight at the renewal by saying: "It has been phenomenal to get such a positive response to James Nesbitt’s astounding performance, and the excellent work of his fellow cast and crew. What a privilege to begin another adventure with HTM Television and the BBC, in Northern Ireland – I can’t wait."
What will happen in Bloodlands season 2?
We now have an official synopsis which reveals some details about the plot for season 2.
"When the murder of a crooked accountant unravels a trail of greed that threatens to expose his identity as legendary assassin, Goliath, Tom (James Nesbitt) and the accountant’s widow, Olivia (Victoria Smurfit), must keep each other dangerously close," the BBC synopsis reveals. "As they try to solve the riddle her husband left behind, and become more and more immersed in the puzzle of each other, Tom and Olivia draw in Tom’s fellow officers DS Niamh McGovern (Charlene McKenna), DCS Jackie Twomey (Lorcan Cranitch) and DC "Birdy" Bird (Chris Walley), as well as his daughter, Izzy (Lola Petticrew), until deceit and betrayal build to a shattering climax."
Series two of Bloodlands looks set to explore the aftermath of Pat Keenan and Tori Matthew's deaths, which Tom is responsible for. While police believe that Pat Keenan was Goliath all along and that he killed Tori because he somehow found out that she was the one who kidnapped him, we know that Tom gave Pat Tori's identity because she knew he was the person behind the Goliath killings and he knew that Pat would kill Tori. Tom then killed Pat to tie up any loose ends and will have told police that he did so after discovering he had killed Tori.
It's also possible Emma Brannick could make her first appearance on the show – that is if we believe Tom's claims that he let her go after killing her secret lover David Cory. Could she return to Belfast to set the story straight and reveal Tom to be the killer he really is? We'll have to wait and see.
Bloodlands season 2 cast
So far, the confirmed cast includes James Nesbitt as DCI Tom Brannick, while we will also see Lorcan Cranitch (Jackie), Charlene McKenna (Niamh), Chris Walley (Birdy) and Lola Petticrew (Izzy Brannick) reprise their roles.
Unfortunately, Ian McElhinney (Adam Cory), Lisa Dwan (Tori Matthews) and Peter Balance (Pat Keenan) won't be returning for series two as their characters were killed off in series one, (unless they appear in flashbacks, of course) but Michael Smiley could be back as forensic expert Dinger and Kathy Kiera Clarke could reprise her role as Pat Keenan's widow Claire.