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Blue Lights recap: series two, episode two – move or die
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Blue Lights recap: series two, episode two – move or die

Shootings, showdowns and a surprise transfer from Holby General. Here’s your section debrief on the second episode, titled Iceberg …

No smoke without fire

Those titular lights flashed as constables Annie (Katherine Devlin) and Shane (Frank Blake) were called to a house fire on the Mount Eden estate. With the emergency services still en route and people trapped inside, the duo braved the blaze themselves. Battling smoke inhalation and a secondary explosion, they heroically led a mother and son to safety.

A suspected wrong ‘un … Shane Bradley (Frank Blake).View image in fullscreen

It was one of multiple properties used by gangster Jim “Dixie” Dixon (Chris Corrigan). The attack had been intended for him – tellingly, the petrol bomber appeared to have let themself in through the locked front door – but Dixie wasn’t home. Still, it had one of the desired effects. Assuming it was the work of arch-rival Davy Hamill (Tony Flynn), Dixie had his tattooed neo-Nazi enforcer Keith (Adam Best) issue a brutal reprisal beating to Hamill’s teenage son. After a breathless foot chase (“Run, Forrest, run!”) and a meaty left hook from Tommy (Nathan Braniff) – “Alright there, Carl Frampton?” called a passing boxing fan – Keith was arrested, leaving Dixie without his main muscle. The crime lord suddenly looked vulnerable.

‘Been on the self-help books again?’

On top … Tina (Abigail McGibbon).View image in fullscreen

As the gangland rivalry escalated into a full-blown loyalist feud, it was exactly what enigmatic publican Lee Thompson (Séamus O’Hara) wanted. With Mount Eden threatening to become a war zone, he spoke about feeling safe and reversing societal breakdown. Thompson’s motives remain ambiguous. Does he want to nobly clean up the streets or make a power grab? It seemed the second option when he met drug trafficker Tina McIntyre (Abigail McGibbon) at the Titanic Belfast museum (hence the episode title) to argue that an alliance would be better for business than the old guard.

As he led an unauthorised march through the estate in memory of ex-army comrade Soupy, it provoked local gangs and law enforcement. A tense standoff ensued, expertly defused by Sgt Sandra Cliff (Andi Osho). The torched house and the march stunt had successfully stirred up Thompson’s desired chaos. However, his 12-year-old nephew Henry (Alfie Lawless) feels like a plot point waiting to happen. What odds Henry’s life will be threatened as the series progresses?

Enter Charlie Fairhead from Casualty

Idealistic ex-cop Jen Robinson (Hannah McClean) continued her inquiries into the unsolved 1978 chip shop bombing in which six people were killed. There had been rumours of a cover-up and a deliberately botched investigation involving retired RUC ­special branch officer Robin Graham (Derek Thompson in his first post-Casualty role, using his native accent on-screen for the first time in decades).

When trainee solicitor Jen approached him about the historic case, he refused to talk. Stubbly, shifty Graham said: “We need to leave the past alone.” She left a note saying “Easier said than done”, plus her name and number. There are doubtless dark secrets to uncover. Will they intersect with the main storyline?

All work and some play

Dixie (Chris Corrigan) and his gang.View image in fullscreen

Time and again, it was emphasised how government cuts had made frontline policing an impossible job. There weren’t enough available cells to justify arrests. Backup was nonexistent. Section skipper Sandra was forced out on patrol to maintain numbers. Neighbourhood teams had been axed, meaning the best option for Mount Eden knowhow was the return of David “Jonty” Johnston (Jonathan Harden) – ousted in disgrace last series for covertly collaborating with MI5 and an extramarital affair with his junior, Jen.

Yet amid all the crime and cuts, workplace romance was in the air at Blackthorn cop shop. Tommy met Aisling (Dearbháile McKinney) from Derry for a roadside brunch. Despite him coming over like a Gen-Z cliche (avocado on toast and a decaf flat white, yeah?), their tentative flirtation felt promising. Annie’s approach was rather more direct. When Shane suggested a post-work pint, she wasted no time in downing flaming sambucas and snogging him. Hope she doesn’t come to regret this. The new sheriff in town whiffs increasingly like a wrong ’un. Do he and smarmy intelligence officer DS Murray Canning (Desmond Eastwood) have a shady agenda? Both seemed a little too pally with Dixie’s gang.

Ousted in disgrace … Jonty (Jonathan Harden) and Helen (Joanne Crawford).View image in fullscreen

It was less rosy in the garden for Grace (Siân Brooke) and Stevie (Martin McCann). When Dixie resisted a stop-and-search, Stevie broke his promise by overreacting. As we know, Grace doesn’t need protecting. It was nothing an apology, a chocolate chip cookie and a pork belly sausage roll with chilli jam couldn’t fix, but surely the unrequited lovebirds can’t continue working in tandem?

‘Close your eyes, it’s easier’

When Dixie stormed into The Loyal Pub, Lee calmly slid his house keys along the bar. He made it chillingly clear that the fire was his doing and warned: “Nowhere is safe for you now.” Seriously spooked, Dixie fled home, bolted the doors and breathed a sigh of relief, only for gunman Craig (Craig McGinlay) to emerge from the shadows and murder him. A double-tap to the head pointed to Craig’s military training. Police will presume Hamill ordered the hit, leaving a gap at the top of the gangland hierarchy. We know just the man to fill it. “Move or die”, indeed.

Blue Lights lingo decoded

Shane and Annie removed their “flackers” (flak jackets) and got “checked out by the FMO” (Forensic Medical Officer). Policing the march called for “TSGs” (Tactical Support Groups).

Squad car soundtrack

We opened with My Name Is Carnival by 60s folk hero Jackson C Frank. The real-life marching flute band was Pride of Ballinran. The pub band was cult County Down two-piece Discobeard.

Line of the week

Stevie (Martin McCann) and Grace (Siân Brooke).View image in fullscreen

“He’s into her and told her a year ago. She’s obviously into him but thinks doing something about it would be mistake. The compromise is that they spend 10 hours a day together in a car. Messy.” – Annie summarises Grace and Stevie’s situationship.

In our police notebooks

  • It’s a veritable Line of Duty reunion down at Blackthorn station. Andrea Irvine (AKA CSI Nicola Robinson) was Ted Hastings’ wife Roisin, Joanne Crawford (AKA Inspector Helen McNally) was Patrick Fairbank’s solicitor and Andi Osho (AKA Sandra) was murdered journalist Gail Vella. Mother of God and the wee donkey.

  • “Stop being so aggressive with your opening,” Mags warned Henry during a game of chess. Is his uncle Lee guilty of the same?

Rejoin us next Monday for another arrest report. In the meantime, easy peelers, please share your spoiler-free thoughts and theories below …

Source: theguardian.com