Single-Handed: Set 1 (DVD) Is Crime Drama at Its Darkest
A police officer from the big city goes back to his tiny hometown to take over the two-man police force from which his father has just retired. His second-in-command is a bumbler and everyone knows everyone’s business. Okay, that sounds like light-hearted, relaxing, escapist fare. Chances are the father will always be trying to help his son with some old-fashioned police techniques, but the son—out to prove himself—will scoff and want to use modern forensic technology. In the end, they’re both right and a combination of the two methods solve the crime.
Wrong! When Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell) returns to the village where he was raised, it’s nothing like he remembered it. Oh, the geography is still the same, but there’s something under the surface, something corrupt and it seems a little too close to home. His underling thinks it’s okay to chase down a youth and shackle him to a radiator overnight to teach him a lesson—and the kid’s dad isn’t complaining. Jack’s father (Ian McElhinney) seems to be the unofficial town leader/bully/godfather, and his mother remains blissfully ignorant in her don’t-ask-don’t-tell little world. Tensions flare between Jack and his parents due to his interest in two things: the truth and justice. Both are in short supply.
Lighthearted? Far from it! On February 1, 2011, Acorn Media releases Single-Handed: Set 1, a dark, morally ambiguous crime drama series, comprised of three feature-length episodes. In the first, “Natural Justice,” Jack is called to investigate the murder of a beautiful, young illegal immigrant. In the course of the investigation he discovers that many of the people in this gorgeous Irish coastal village would feel equally at home in a Stephen King novel. Or hell.
The second episode, “The Stolen Child,” revolves around the investigation of a child abduction, and the third, “The Drowning Man,” concerns the odd drowning of a teenager. The stories are tense explorations of evil, full of surprises—some of them quite nasty. Every dirty secret leads to another…and another…and…
Single-Handed is well acted and superbly written. Thought provoking, it will have viewers commenting, “I’ve never seen that on TV before!” Views of the Irish countryside will inspire the question, “Are there still places like that in the world?”
Bottom Line: Would I buy/rent/stream Single Handed? Yes, it’s superior entertainment.