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Netflix series is ‘Father Ted’ meets ‘Twin Peaks’

May 8th, 2024

It was only a matter of time before someone got round to taking on the true-crime podcast phenomenon that’s seen journalists rake over grisly murders, violent kidnappings and horrifying sex abuse cases. Enter writer Jez Scharf and the Irish-set Bodkin, a delicious fish-out-of-water seven-part Netflix series that balances genuine detective thrills with laid-back laughs. Think Father Ted meets Twin Peaks – with a lot more eels.

American star Will Forte (a Saturday Night Live alumnus, whose movie work includes Nebraska and MacGruber) plays Gilbert Power, an American podcaster over in Ireland seeking out his Irish roots. Arriving in the fictional town of Bodkin, he’s joined by Emmy (Robyn Cara), an enthusiastic researcher, out in the field for the first time. And then there’s Dove (Siobhán Cullen), the cynical investigative reporter sent back to West Cork by her editor to lay low after a scandal and help out Gilbert.

The plan is to research into the disappearance of three youngsters from years earlier – including the brother of local bigwig Seamus (David Wilmot). But soon Dove is digging into what’s really going on Bodkin, a town where criminality lurks just beneath the surface. Dressed in a long black coat and sunglasses, looking a bit like Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity from The Matrix, her hard-bitten credentials will always lead her to look for the story behind the story.

‘Bodkin’ takes place in the titular Irish small town where some murders have happened. CREDIT: Netflix

Sure enough, the locals start taking umbrage with Dove and co. poking their noses into their business. “Let the past go – it’s done nothing to you,” says one, while Dove is soon accosted by two balaclava-wearing assailants as they attempt to scare her off the beaten track. Suddenly, cars are set on fire and a country that’s “never even had a serial killer” begins to look as suspect as Donald Trump’s end-of-year accounts.

Without going too weird, Scharf does conjure up an amusing picture of rural Ireland, where locals play bizarre games (bowling a metal ball down the country roads) or drive a tractor with disco lights and a speaker blaring out Amii Stewart’s ‘Knock on Wood’. There’s also plenty of spooky goings-on, like the wolf that appears just about everywhere that Dove goes, as a mystery murkier than an Irish bog unfurls.

While the humour is largely low-key, Forte amuses as the Yankee exploring the Emerald Isle, especially when he puts on his earnest ‘podcast presenter’ voice. But it takes two (or three) to tango, and Cara and Cullen bring just as much to the table. In particular, Cullen is neatly cast as the ballsy hack who thinks nothing of snooping around residents’ houses or telling a child to “fuck off” when they insult her new sunglasses.

Away from the main trio, The Young Offenders’ Chris Walley pops up as Seán, who becomes the main gang’s driver when he isn’t disappearing for hours on end. But gradually you’ll come to love all the characters in this quirky ensemble. It’s a slow-burner, filling your glass gradually like a good pint of Guinness. But sup down one episode and you’ll be racing through the rest, desperate to crack open Bodkin’s multiple mysteries.

‘Bodkin’ streams on Netflix from May 9

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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