Television Review: Quirke

Quirke 1

Quirke 2Plot: Quirke is a pathologist, albeit it one with a drink problem. A complicated history, a intense family and a lack of love in his life have driven him to become a lonely middle-age man who tries to drown his sorrows in a whisky glass.

The show consists of three episodes, an hour and a half each, that tells the stories found in the first three books of Benjamin Black’s series. Presented with the bodies of victims, Quirke finds himself drawn into the investigations surrounding the deaths and is determined to find out what has happened. Even if society tell him to leave things alone.


Quirke 3

Opinion: Set in 1950’s Ireland, the show follows Dr Quirke as he investigates what happened to the victims that end up on his table. But things aren’t as straight forward as following the clues, for Quirke has his own issues to deal with. His brother and adopted father could be involved in the crimes and he has to finally tell his “niece” who her real father is, despite risking their relationship.

I initially watched this show for the shallow reason I wanted to see Colin Morgan in it. However, when it began and I realised the books it was based on, my interest certainly peaked. I reviewed Even the Dead this year so it was intriguing to see the characters brought to life and shown on the screen. While knowing some of the big twists meant this held few surprises for me, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

All three episodes are an hour and a half long, so make sure you have plenty of time if you are going to embark. There are a lot of familiar faces in this – Michael Gambon being the main one. There was also a lot of “who is that” moments due to them all talking in Irish accents and not being able to tell if it was put on or genuine – they all sounded great to my untrained ears and there were no slip ups.

The acting was strong. There was a lot of angst and brooding from all the characters throughout this show, and it’s fair to say all the actors, especially Gabriel Byrne (Quirke) carried this off extremely well. But there were few moments of laughter, so it makes it hard to comment about the acting ability as a whole as they mainly had to show one emotion.

I was glad to have read one of the books because it meant the show gripped my attention. I’m not sure how involved I would have been able to get if I hadn’t already “met” these characters. That being said, I was eager to watch the next episode each time. For those who like a mystery/crime type genre, then this will be ideal. Quirke was better than I expected, which took a lot as I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. I now wish to read the rest of the books.



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