Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Blue Lights recap: series two, episode three – sexy, messy affairs
Culture TV and Radio

Blue Lights recap: series two, episode three – sexy, messy affairs

The series reached its midway mark with simmering tension and surprise tragedy. Here’s your sit-rep on the third episode, titled Love Knows …

Lee’s power grab

After the frighteningly efficient hit on the loyalist crime lord Jim Dixon, it was action stations. Extra manpower was deployed in case of reprisals on the Mount Eden estate. Dixie’s arch-rival Davy Hamill (Tony Flynn) was questioned after issuing death threats to Dixie but as his slick lawyer pointed out, the detectives had nothing. So why did the hotshot brief suddenly drop Hamill’s case? Because there was a new player in town.

The ambitious publican Lee Thompson (Séamus O’Hara) persuaded the Dublin mob to let him take over Belfast’s entire drug supply. He’s not affiliated to either warring gang but would be more discreet, using his taxi firm to shift product. The Dubliners loaned him a holdall full of banknotes to set up his network. No going back now.

Lee Thompson (Séamus O’Hara)View image in fullscreen

Having less joy was David “Jonty” Johnston (Jonathan Harden), brought back for his local knowhow. Attempts to reassure a public meeting backfired when self-elected spokesperson Lee, now hiding in plain sight, asked why non-interventionist police gave a pass to “scumbag paramilitaries” such as Dixon and Hamill. Community leader, peacekeeper, drug baron – can he really combine these roles? When Jonty popped into the Loyal pub, Lee’s sister Mags (Seána Kerslake) gave him a gobful for failing the estate. Definitely history there. Could Jonty have fathered her son? He has form for unwise affairs with redheads.

Charlie could’ve prevented Casualties

He relented a tad too easily, but retired RUC ­officer Robin Graham (Derek Thompson) agreed to talk to lawyer Jen (Hannah McClean). After trying to claim compensation for PTSD, Graham and his special branch colleagues had been threatened with prison for violating the Official Secrets Act. Now he was too old to care.

Happy Kelly (Paddy Jenkins)View image in fullscreen

Back in his 20s, he’d heard about a planned bombing from a reliable source. To protect the young asset – who went on to supply intel for 20 years, saving many lives – Graham allowed the chip shop explosion to go ahead. What’s more, his bosses signed off on it. At the prospect of learning the truth behind his family’s deaths, “Happy” Kelly (Paddy Jenkins) lived up to his name – although with such historical cases being closed, it would be a struggle. Could the secret source or complicit superiors be anyone we know?

We’re idiots. Very sexy idiots

Two Glocks on a bedroom floor. It could only mean a workplace affair. After their messy night out, Annie (Katherine Devlin) woke up next to shifty Shane (Frank Blake). While she swore him to secrecy, he took a morning-after selfie. Could he be looking for leverage? Their one-night stand seems more consequential to the plot than a benign bunk-up. Shane let Grace see him emerging from the bedroom – possibly deliberately.

His day didn’t improve at work. DS Murray Canning (Desmond Eastwood) was on the warpath, badly lacking leads and “the guy I’m relying on is sweating buckets, stinking of drink”. If Shane doesn’t deliver, Canning will deny his transfer to the taskforce. Manning a roadblock, Shane showed his true colours by victimising Rab Thompson (Dan Gordon) for his past imprisonment and humiliating him in front of 12-year-old Henry (Alfie Lawless). Annie said he wasn’t just inflaming the situation but enjoying it. Shane snapped: “It’s called policework.” Oh Annie, what have you done? I blame those flaming sambucas.

Stevie confronts his past

As tensions rose in Mount Eden and doors were slammed in their faces, Stevie (Martin McCann) and Grace (Siân Brooke) were relieved to be called elsewhere. Unfortunately, the suspicious death turned out to be a harrowing one. A cancer patient had just died. The district nurse was convinced his husband, Chris (a devastating performance from Chris Robinson) had administered morphine in an assisted death.

Memories of the death of his late wife came flooding back for Stevie. In poignant scenes, he reluctantly arrested Chris before quietly telling him to act confused in his CID interview. The exhaustion of being sole carer could mean he’d made a mistake with the dosage. Humane policing, in contrast to Shane’s provocative posturing. Yet there was more melancholy to come. Stevie finally admitted he’d been overprotective of Grace because “I don’t want the worst thing in the world to happen to me again”. In a nod to the late, great Gerry’s catchphrase, they agreed to “take a beat”. Wise? Probably. Heart-wrenching? Definitely.

‘It’s all kicking off up your way’

Tommy Foster (Nathan Braniff) and Aisling (Dearbhláile McKinney)View image in fullscreen

Our tangled twosomes might soon find themselves joined by another. When Tommy (Nathan Braniff) met Aisling (Dearbháile McKinney) in the “countryside” – OK, their regular roadside diner halfway to Derry – her wise view of intelligence policing was “that shite always ends up messy”. Before Tommy was recalled from his morning off, Aisling checked he was OK with her being seconded to Belfast for a few days.

skip past newsletter promotion

Back on duty, he and Sgt Sandra Cliff (Andi Osho) pulled over a suspicious taxi. At the wheel was Lee’s enforcer, Craig McQuarrie (Craig McGinlay). When Sandra clocked his loyalist tattoo, she ordered a search of the car. Hands up if you thought Craig was going to pull a weapon. Despite his unconvincing excuse that he was en route to the bank, they seized the bag of loot under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

At the station, Jonty was just despairing that they’d “lost” Mount Eden when Lee arrived to ask for his cash back. They need an inside informant. He needs his drug money. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Blue Lights lingo decoded

A Line of Duty-esque flurry of acronyms included MIT (Major Investigation Team), ARVs (Armed Response Vehicles), SIO (Senior Investigating Officer) and VCPs (Vehicle Checkpoints).

Squad car soundtrack

Tommy and Sandra were listening to Burn the Black Suit by County Tyrone singer-songwriter Juliet Turner. We also heard an eerie version of the traditional children’s song I’ll Tell Me Ma, AKA The Belle of Belfast City.

Line of the week

“The problem with you Nordies is that youse love chaos. It’s just messy. But it is profitable” – the Dubliner’s view of Belfast.

In our police notebooks

  • Amid the Mount Eden mayhem, it was reassuring to hear the legendary but unseen Barney (the voice of actor Frankie McCafferty) on radio dispatch duty as always. Wonder if we’ll ever meet him?

  • Aisling affectionately called Tommy a “slabber”, a Derry Girls favourite meaning a cheeky tyke.

  • The east Belfast bar the Cock & Hens, which stands in for the Loyal pub, is for sale, in case you’re interested.

Rejoin us next Monday for another Blackthorn debrief. In the meantime, take a beat, then please share your spoiler-free thoughts and theories below …

Source: theguardian.com