Jack Taylor, (2011). This television series of noir mysteries is set in the current day, in and around Galway on Ireland's rugged western coast. It features, obviously, Jack Taylor, who has been kicked off the Guarda, Ireland's police force, for booze-related infractions. He is now working as a "finder" (private eye) in Galway City, and, seated, drink in hand, in his favorite bar, he takes on cases the cops won't touch. As based on the crime fiction of Ken Bruen, this acclaimed Irish series, recommended for mature audiences, stars Iain Glen as Taylor: battered, disheveled, hard-boiled. Set includes three feature-length mysteries on three DVDs: The Guards, The Pikemen, and The Magdalen Martyrs, runs 4 ½ hours, and, thank you Acorn, with all the Irish brogue, has subtitles. (Apparently, two more of this feature length series that were made will be released shortly.)
Taylor is ably played by Iaian Glen, a charismatic Scottish-born actor who plays Sir Richard Carlyle in Downton Abbey - Series 1-3 / Christmas at Downton Abbey 2011 , and Mormont in Game of Thrones - Season 1-2 Complete . He has also played in The Iron Lady ,Lara Croft - Tomb Raider, and Harry Brown. In THE GUARDS, Anne Henderson hires him to look for her missing teenage daughter, who she fears was the latest in a series of suspicious local 'suicides', of young girls. Taylor traces the `suicides' to a sleazy factory, its sleazy manager Ford, and finds illegal sex recordings. In THE MAGDALEN MARTYRS, Jack is hired by the daughter of a survivor of the infamous Magdalen laundries - a true blight on the nation of Ireland for many years, see The Magdalene Sisters , to find the nun the girls called Lucifer who was particularly sadistic. THE PIKEMEN opens with a scene in which an unknown man is brutally murdered by an unknown assailant, with a weapon that will be unknown to most of us: A steel spearhead with a scythe-like hook on the side, mounted on a shaft. Some days later we will discover that it is a pike, weapon of choice for earlier Irish revolutionaries known as the pikemen that is now being used by a secret sadistic vigilante group.
These fine films are dark of subject matter, and contain violence: true crime noirs. The scripts are tight and tension-filled; the dialog, spoken in brogue, reflects the storied wit of the Irish, lots of `crac.' I am not familiar with the underlying Bruen novels, so cannot speak to the episodes' accuracy as adaptations, but at least one other reviewer, I see, is, and speaks highly of them. The Galway settings look accurate. Although my husband, son of a mother born in Mayo, adjoining county to Galway, and I, who have, separately and together, enjoyed some memorable times in Eyre Square, Galway's most elegant and famous, were puzzled. The Square's famous statue, a poet, who looks like a leprechaun in his countrified cap, never once appeared onscreen. The entertainment is made by a German company; some reviewers believe that some of it is filmed in Germany. At any rate, the productions are filled with the miserable weather for which Ireland is famous, though there is a sunny day or two. There's a funny running joke about Taylor's illegally hanging on to his warm Guarda coat, which I'm sure he needs, given the weather.
We enjoyed this entertainment in our house. We seldom see Irish-set movies, let alone Galway-set movies, and considered this a treat.