Saturday 22 July 2017

Sex-mad lawyers save RTÉ’s Christmas schedule

Television left a lot to be desired over the festive period but RTÉ pulled it out of the bag with Amy's 'polished' new series

The national broadcaster’s output left a lot to be desired over the festive period, but RTÉ just about pulled it out of the bag with Amy Huberman’s new legal drama ‘Striking Out’
The national broadcaster’s output left a lot to be desired over the festive period, but RTÉ just about pulled it out of the bag with Amy Huberman’s new legal drama ‘Striking Out’
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Irish telly left a lot to be desired over the holidays. Neither 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' nor 'Elf' was shown and the NYE celebrations on RTÉ fell flat.

On the BBC, Graham Norton chatted to Michael Fassbender and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard while Jools and Chaka Khan danced about.

Rory Keenan and Amy Huberman star in ‘Striking Out’, a fast-paced legal eagle drama series
which was a winner, despite some plot holes.
Rory Keenan and Amy Huberman star in ‘Striking Out’, a fast-paced legal eagle drama series which was a winner, despite some plot holes.

In contrast, RTÉ went to London to interview the Irish Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Mulhall: an excellent diplomat, no doubt, but not exactly riveting telly.

And, of course, there was also Vogue Williams - whom RTÉ has apparently decided should be a permanent fixture on all its TV and radio output.

But after nights and nights of 'Father Ted' repeats, we were finally treated to something new: legal eagle drama 'Striking Out' starring Amy Huberman.

The four-part series is shiny and slick with lots of sweeping property porn-style shots of apartment blocks and the Four Courts.

Image: Striking Out/RTE
Image: Striking Out/RTE

Casting Amy Huberman in the lead role was a stroke of genius, she's very box-office and likeable. In fact, she's probably the only actress in Ireland who can play a D4 princess/lawyer without half the country hating her guts.

Legal dramas are a staple on US channels - 'Boston Legal', 'The Practice', and 'Law & Order'. This makes sense given the integral role lawyers play in the US entertainment industry, which also explains why attorneys are usually portrayed as unsung heroes.

Read more: 'Best TV in ages' - Amy Huberman's new drama Striking Out was a roaring success last night

In Ireland, we don't have the same TV love affair with lawyers. I think our last legal drama was 'The Irish R.M.'

Image: Striking Out/RTE
Image: Striking Out/RTE

'Striking Out' is more akin to the glossy US shows with viewers drawing comparisons with 'The Good Wife'.

Things move fast in 'Striking Out'; lawyer Tara Rafferty (Huberman) finds her fiancé Eric getting to know one of his colleagues in the biblical sense on her hen night. "Are you having an affair?" Tara asks while Eric continues to have sex with another woman.

"No!" he retorts. "I love you." Tara then hits him with an inflatable penis she has brought home. And all before the opening credits have rolled.

While the fast pace can be a little jarring, the acting is strong with performances from Fiona O'Shaughnessy and 'Men Behaving Badly' star Neil Morrissey.

There were some plot holes. Who in their right mind has their hen party on a weeknight? Likewise it was a little implausible that Huberman would hire her criminal client Ray Lamont to work as her legal clerk a few hours after his court appearance.

Some of the dialogue is a little forced. Would anyone ever use the phrase "I found my fiancé deep inside a colleague" while talking to THEIR PARENTS?

But 'Striking Out' did make for compulsive viewing, mainly because lots of the plot twists focused on infidelity and sex dungeons. And let's call a spade a spade, we all love finding out about other people's sordid sex lives.

And this is why the show works. It's trashy at it's heart, but polished and preened to perfection. And when TV voyeurism is dressed up as a sleek legal drama it allows viewers to watch without any guilt.

'Striking Out' may have its flaws but it's gripping, and has just the right amount of titillation and intrigue for dark and dreary Sunday night TV.

Irish Independent

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