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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Single-Handed - Set 1'
(Owen McDonnell, David Herlihy, Ruth McCabe, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / Acorn Media)

Overview: 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. 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. Two more episodes are also contained in this 3-disc set.

DVD Verdict:

Claiming to be the first set of this based-in-Ireland TV show, Acorn has taken somewhat of a liberty - for these three episodes actually originated in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as two-parters! Thus, Sgt. Jack Driscoll swaps love interests in the blink of an eye, his hair style changes, and main characters along the way seem to just disappear!

Anyway, that aside, 'Natural Justice' (otherwise known as 'Home' in the UK) is the first "episode." Our hero, Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell) - himself just back from a stint in Dublin - is now back on home town soil to replace his own father as the local Sgt. And so, first up, he gets a call to check out the mysterious death of a young foreign girl in a caravan rental.

Being that it first saw the light of day as a UK series in 2007, whenever the characters want to see 'f**k' they say the Irish version, 'feck'! Feck this, feck that ... but, in the second and most definitely the third "episodes" it all changes from feck back to 'f**k'!

Here, it seems that his own father might have something to do with the girls death, and as Jack's list of suspects grows, he soon discovers that there was more to this girl than meets the eye. Jack also has a love interest in the niece of a long time friend of his fathers, but come the end, well, that turns sour.

The real ending is totally unexpected, a real 'Wow' of a moment!

In 'The Stolen Child,' a small boy is taken from his front room whilst his young mother is hanging out the washing. The search is on, but no luck. But Jack doesn't drop the case and together with the mother, sets out to find her estranged husband - who's now living rough, and who she believes she saw driving away from the house that day.

Jack's father is featured at a Tribunal set up for him, to explain many seemingly wrong doings within the force when he worked as Sgt. there, but it seems that his health is playing up too. After a missed doctor's appointment, and a tense investigation by a judge in the court room, Jerry Driscoll decides to head home to be with his wife mid-way through the court session - but doesn't make it.

This one drags a wee bit in the middle, but come the last 20 minutes is very tension-filled. As for who kidnapped the boy, well, if you can't guess that some 10 minutes in, what are you doing watching mystery shows?!

As for Jack's love interest, well, this time it's the wonderful Caroline Catz, her of 'Doc. Martin' fame (Louisa), who here plays a role reversal in that she is the local GP (Dr. Maggie Hunter) for the rural area. Of course, come the end she's headed back off to London, leaving our hero single again!

The final "episode" is 'The Drowning Man,' which begins with a frantic female calling Jack to inform him of a drowning boy in the sea. He gets there too late, but instantly knows something is wrong with the picture. His mother, who he lives with, gets a visit from an old cop female friend of his, seemingly an innocent one, but it turns out she is undercover and trying to find out what Jack knows about the night before - and, more importantly, how deep he's going to be shoving his nose into it!

Soon a Chief Superintendant from the Organized Crime Unit shows, telling Jack to back off and let it all wash away - but Jack is not letting the death of a young boy go unpunished. Taking the lead, he pushes and pushes until, in a very memorable meeting scene in a field full of flower pollen drifting continually through the air, he finds out all his answers - and more!

The ending is a wee bit over the top, comically played out, but the right result is garnered - by the actors and the viewers both. That said, the true final ending scenes are kind of unfinished, leaving us up in the air as to what happened next.

The Special Features contain some written Production Notes, and Notes from Owen McDonnell (Jack Driscoll) - which reveals: He had to learn to drive for the show; he hated the big cap he had to wear on his "peanut-sized head"; and the midges attacked them all during on outdoor scene so badly they couldn't stop laughing!

There are also Notes from Caroline Catz (Dr. Maggie Hunter), where she admits she asked Doc. Martin himself (Martin Clunes) for advice on how to play a TV GP - even though her own father is a real-life GP; and an Interview (text only) with producer Clare Alan - where she answers questions such as: How many pints of Guinness were consumed during filming? ... How many police uniforms did you go through? ... Did you get caught in any bogs? [RT] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

www.AcornMedia.com





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