Clean Break 'puts plenty of clear water between it and Stuart Carolan’s Dublin gangland saga Love/Hate'
We can probably take it that every crime-themed drama RTE makes from now on will be touted as “the next Love/Hate”. Mercifully, Billy Roche’s four-part tiger kidnapping yarn Clean Break puts plenty of clear water between it and Stuart Carolan’s Dublin gangland saga.
The manner in which the taut first episode crisply established the characters and situations reminded me in some ways of Fargo, another drama set in a town where everybody has secrets and few people are what they seem to be.
Wexford businessman Frank Mallon (Adam Fergus) is in trouble. His car dealership is down the tubes. His estranged wife, who owns half his property assets, lives in the Isle of Man, and his teenage daughter Corrina (Kelly Thornton) is going off the rails.
Bank manager Desmond Raine (a splendidly shifty Aidan McArdle) tells Frank he’s going to lose everything and gives him 10 days to get his affairs in order.
Frank knows Raine takes regular cash deposits in the hundreds of thousands from a local gangster and casino owner and stores them in the vault overnight. What he doesn’t know is that this guy has just killed his former boss and dumped his body in a river.
Frank hires local lowlife Noel Blake (the ever-menacing Ned Dennehy) and his violent sidekick to kidnap Raine’s wife (Simone Kirby), with whom Frank has romantic history, and young daughter.
Frank also ropes his newest employee, former Olympic boxing hopeful Danny Dempsey (Damian Molony), into the scheme. The essentially kind-hearted Danny is out of his depth as a kidnapper.
The operation goes horribly wrong when the little girl recognises him by his voice and he’s forced to flee. An excellent start to what could be a cracker of a series.