wed 17/04/2024

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide | reviews, news & interviews

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide

Kin, Series 2, BBC One review - when crime dynasties collide

Dublin becomes a war zone in Peter McKenna's addictive drama

Vile: Francis Magee as Bren Kinsella

The end of the first series of Kin found Dublin’s Kinsella crime family ridding themselves of bloodsucking drug baron Eamon Cunningham, but this was not an unalloyed blessing. As this second series opens, the Kinsellas are having to make new arrangements with the Batuks, the Turkish family who are the source of all the local drug supplies.

Snag is, the Turks want the Kinsellas to repay Cunningham’s outstanding debt to them of €70m. Oh, and another thing – they want the head of Michael Kinsella (Charlie Cox), since he killed a senior member of the Batuk clan.

Difficult decisions have to be made, but the forceful Amanda (Clare Dunne, pictured below with Charlie Cox) is prepared to make them. However, a giant spanner is hurled into the works when the Kinsellas’ patriarch, Brendan, is unexpectedly released from jail. Roaring and raging like a wounded bull crossed with a distempered elephant, Bren (as he’s known) is on a mission to re-establish his authority as head of the Kinsella clan. Amanda’s assumption of leadership in his absence would have been bad enough if she’d been a man, but pre-neanderthal Bren views women like a sort of toxic plague. Although he does seem to have a dubious penchant for under-age girls.

Played by Francis Magee (recently seen in The Tourist), Bren is one of the most repulsive creations in the history of TV drama. Angry, violent, crude, abusive, bullying, sadistic… think of a positive personality trait, and Bren hasn't got it. His character is mirrored in his face, a volcanic-looking landscape of cracks and fissures that might have been etched by sulphuric acid. Unsurprisingly, most of the family are too frightened to challenge him.

Ominously, Bren’s poisonous influence starts to seep into the newer generation of Kinsellas. He wants to get Anthony, the son of Amanda and her husband Jimmy, enmeshed in the family business, and doesn’t bother to ask the boy’s parents if they mind him playing with guns. He also has plans for Michael’s teenage daughter, Anna, which doesn’t go down at all well with her father.

Dealing with Bren and the Turks provides plenty of fuel to drive these eight new episodes (where the murder rate in Dublin rivals El Salvador or Al Capone's Chicago), but what lends Kin its compulsively bingeable fascination is the way screenwriter/creator Peter McKenna probes the shifting dynamics between the members of the Kinsella family. Bren’s younger brother Frank (Aidan Gillen), who was supposedly the family boss in Bren’s absence, has never felt comfortable in the role, and the return of Bren – who has always been contemptuous of Frank’s homosexuality – pushes him close to the edge. He even finds himself seeking spiritual succour in church (cue a further deluge of contempt from Bren), though he’d be better off leaning on his sister Birdy (Maria Doyle Kennedy), who conceals hidden strengths behind her rather submissive exterior.

Meanwhile Frank’s son Eric (the so-called “Viking”) is desperate to make his mark as a force to be reckoned with. He strides around town with a comical Liam Gallagher-style swagger, but unfortunately he’s woefully dim, and has all the self-analytical skills of a concrete bollard. His girlfriend Nikki (Yasmin Seky, pictured right with Sam Keeley as Eric) looks like a Pussycat Doll and is addicted to the bling lifestyle, but never quite seems to grasp the potential consequences of hanging out with gangsters.

Cox’s performance as Michael continues to impress. Doe-eyed and softly spoken, he gives every impression of being sensitive and self-effacing, right up to the point where he isn’t. He’s the guy you’d want to have your back in a crisis.

  • Kin is on BBC One at 10.40pm on Tuesdays. All episodes available on BBC iPlayer

Comments

Excellent review perfect, great series hope there's a series 3

Love this show and that review is spot on.

Tremendous- edge of seat all the way, characters totally believable, empathy, hate its all here, from the saintly Michael to The devil Bren, you gotta watch ! Make sure you watch the first series initially. Well written, no down moments, please watch  -  BAFTAS HERE THEY COME

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