Single Handed Premiere

Sunday, 2 August 2009, 9:00PM – 11:00PM

Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell), a Sergeant with the Irish police, is completely at home in his new patch; he ought to be as he was born and brought up there. He knows the people, he knows the West of Ireland and, more importantly, he knows how the two fit together. But this is no cushy posting; Jack’s ‘patch’ stretches from the Atlantic coast in the West to the glacial lakes in the East, from Galway City in the South to Killary harbour in the North – he’s on call 24-hours a day and, more often than not, he’s single-handed.

From the team that brought you ITV’s award winning drama The Vice, SINGLE-HANDED explores how policing a rural community differs from city policing. Your precinct is vast, the terrain extreme and the community lives on the edge. You are always on duty. There’s nowhere to hide.

Stationed more than 40 miles from his superior officers and with specialist backup hours away, Jack is used to thinking on his feet. In circumstances like these, normal procedures are always under pressure and often bypassed altogether, but Jack has the shadow of his predecessor hanging over him. His father Gerry (Ian McElhinney – Little Dorrit, Closing the Ring, Rough Diamond) has only recently vacated the position and Jack’s methods are not necessarily the same…

The job has taught Jack one invaluable lesson – when the going gets tough, the only person you can rely on is yourself. Fortunately, the life suits him.

Guest starring in SINGLE-HANDED are Caroline Catz (Doc Martin), Charlene Mckenna (Raw), Stuart Graham (Hunger) and Ruth McCabe (The Street).

Writer Barry Simner explains: “I live in the mountains of Wales and although culturally quite different from Ireland I knew it was a perfect fit for someone working on their own, like Jack Driscoll. The area we filmed in feels quite Frontier like in its remoteness. And what is wonderful is trying to get under the skin of another country with different tensions, history and cross currents, without going for the superficial, the obvious.”

Barry found the region in the west of Ireland to be a very secretive place.

“This is the only northern European country with a Mediterranean crime problem and these rural officers really face some of the most violent criminals often armed only with their nouse, wit and the ability to talk their way through a situation with no backup, in the middle of nowhere.

“Jack’s patch is a stunning piece of countryside, but the landscape he polices conceals very dark secrets. Jack’s investigations often bring to the surface mysteries that everyone would prefer to have kept hidden. It’s such a secret place on so many levels. There are many wrongs that have never been put right. This area of Ireland is where the famine hit hardest and these people have an acute awareness of their history, the pain it has caused and the problems that have ensued yet they continue to say very little about any of it.”

The show’s police advisor Peter Murray, himself once a rural Guard in Western Ireland, says: “When based in a small village on the west coast we used to joke that our nearest backup was the NYPD across the ocean. In theory with these postings you have the resources of the national police force, in practice at 4am the nearest help could be 40 miles away. At extremes the job is about survival; sometimes discretion is the better part of valour. We have similar problems as the cities just with a different slant. You can get the drug of your choice in any small village and the resulting problems. We have a saying that rings true in the drama too… ‘local arrangements will apply’.”

In the first episode of SINGLE-HANDED Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell) is transferred from Dublin back to his birthplace in the remote west of Ireland, as Garda Sergeant, the role recently vacated by his father, Gerry (Ian McElhinney).

Jack’s first major case is an investigation into the death of a young woman, found in an isolated caravan. Jack is frustrated in his attempts to identify the woman as the community closes ranks. And what looked at first like accidental death takes on an increasingly sinister hue. Jack uncovers a tangled web of blackmail and sexual abuse, involving the farmer whose field the caravan occupied, a local hotelier, a builder with a reputation for violence and a property developer – one of his father’s oldest friends.

Jack’s relentless pursuit of the truth dredges up long buried crimes and pits him against his new Inspector and his father Gerry, who looks increasingly to hold the key to the mystery. Throughout all of this there is one glimmer of hope: a romance with a young Dublin nurse, Saoirse (Laura Brady) visiting relatives in the area, but increasingly attracted to the landscape – and Jack.

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