Season 2 of Hope Street is now steaming on BritBox.
When British DC Leila Hussain arrives in Port Devine, the locals start buzzing. As the first Muslim police officer in the Northern Irish town, she stands out. And when both she and Port Devine’s police chief, Inspector Finn O’Hare, dodge questions about her transfer, the reception she receives is less than warm. That ice-tinged atmosphere begins to melt when Leila displays her detective skills as well as her compassion for the victims. In a short time she goes from being an outsider to being embraced as a member of the community. But personal issues, rather than professional ones, soon force her to leave Port Devine.
Season one of Hope Street ends with a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers. Can we hope, really hope, that this excellent series will be renewed so we can come down from that mountain?
Ciarán McMenamin (Inspector Finn O’Hare)
Despite being a crime drama, Hope Street manages to create a sense of family. While there is a continuing plot throughout the series, each of the nine episodes focuses on an individual crime. In a small town, everyone knows everyone’s history, problems, and secrets. Leila, of course, doesn’t fit into that category since her background is known only by Finn. When Sergeant Marlene Pettigrew (Kerri Quinn) taps for information someone she knows in Leila’s former precinct, she unwittingly places the Muslim officer in grave danger.
PC Callum McCarthy (Niall Wright), the newest addition to the Port Devine police force soon falls for Leila. Perhaps because Finn, a divorced father of two, serves as Leila’s confidant and protector, she is attracted to him and the feelings are soon reciprocated. Before they can go pubic with their relationship, Finn’s ex-wife, Siobhan, returns, creating a complicated romantic triangle.
Niall Wright (PC Callum McCarthy) and Amara Karan (DC Leila Hussain)
Comic relief is provided by two other couples. Finn’s mother, Concepta (an excellent Brid Brennan), has a love-hate relationship with her neighbor, Barry Pettigrew (Des McAleer), the former police chief who now wears two distinct hats as a pastor and cab driver. The owner of the local pub, Nicole Devine (Niamh McGrady, who dominates every scene she’s in), is engaged to Clint Dunwoody (Aaron McCusker), but their road to love is filled with potholes.
Hope Street avoids any mention of class battles in Ireland, choosing instead to focus on small town life where everyone gets along (or at least tolerates each other), and politics are left out. According to reports online, the series was cast using local actors, further adding to the feeling that these are people who live together and care about each other.
The two lead actors, Ciarán McMenamin as Finn and Amara Karan as Leila, develop a chemistry as the series unfolds, beginning as two colleagues looking out for each other, evolving into a love affair. But their loyalty to each other will be tested when family obligations intervene.
Hope Street would be watchable at any time. But in the current atmosphere, when we are all being reminded that family matters, this Irish series is like a warm bath. Relax and enjoy.
Hope Street can now be streamed on BritBox
Top photo: Amara Karan (DC Leila Hussain)