Hope Springs Eternal on BritBox’s Hope Street

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)

About Charlene Giannetti (597 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.