Bloodlands recap: Who is serial killer Goliath? Five questions we have after episode one

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**This article contains spoilers for episode one of Bloodlands**

Viewers settled in for an absorbing new BBC One crime drama on Sunday night, with James Nesbitt leading the cast of Bloodlands.

Set in Northern Ireland amid growing tensions on the streets of Belfast, the show focuses on DCI Tom Brannick as he uncovered truths that could lead to ‘all out war’.

We also learn more about the murder of his wife years previously, with the ghosts of Tom’s past returning to haunt him during an intriguing opening episode.

Line of Duty’s Jed Mercurio acts as executive producer on Bloodlands, which is the first project from actor-turned-writer Chris Brandon.

With an impressive central performance from James and a fresh political edge to the traditional cop procedural, there’s plenty to look out for as the series plays out over the coming weeks.

These are five questions we have after episode one.

Who is Goliath, and who wiped the files?

Bloodlands James Nesbitt BBC
James Nesbitt leads the cast in Bloodlands (Picture: BBC)

When a car belonging to Pat Keenan, a former senior member of the IRA, is found at the bottom of Strangford Lough, Tom is convinced that it’s the work of ‘Goliath’. It’s the ‘man on the inside’ he suspects of killing four victims in politically motivated attacks years previously, including his wife.

The plot thickened after key case files were found to have been removed. After Tom’s old friend DCS Jackie Toomey is found to have retained key information in the cold case, supposedly to protect peace in Northern Ireland and to shield Tom from further heartache, the eye of suspicion falls on him. But who is the ‘man on the inside’?

What do the postcards mean?

Bloodlands starring James Nesbitt
What do the killer’s calling cards mean? (Picture: BBC)

The killer has an enigmatic calling card – a postcard of the distinctive yellow Samson and Goliath twin shipbuilding gantry cranes found in Queen’s Island, Belfast. The first was found inside the car dumped in the Strangford Lough, and one was left next to Pat Keenan, who was found cuffed to a radiator in a hotel room.

How does it connect to the murder of Tom’s wife years previously? How relevant will the location be in the remaining episode? We’ll have to wait and see.

Who are the three bodies discovered on the island?

Bloodlands James Nesbitt BBC
The search turned up shocking results in episode one (Picture: BBC)

After acting on a previously ignored witness statement made decades previously, Tom and the team discover three bodies buried on a weather-beaten island off the coast.

One has around its neck the same necklace Tom passed on to his daughter Izzy. But who could the others be, and what repercussions will the discovery of the remains have on the new case? All will be revealed.

Will Tom’s daughter Izzy become involved in the case?

Will the case threaten Izzy’s safety? (Picture: BBC)

The start of the first episode sees Tom meet his daughter Izzy and her new boyfriend, Larry. Both are medical students at Queen’s University. Tom also encounters their teacher, Lisa Dwan, hinting that she could have a bigger role to play in later episodes.

With Tom passing on a symbolic necklace in memory of his late wife to Izzy, we’re wondering how the case could affect Izzy and her father’s relationship, and possibly draw her into a world of crime.

Will the case threaten the peace in Belfast?

The first episode sees tensions between police and the public stretched, with a police car torched outside the station. The kidnapping of former IRA man Pat Keenan threatens to spark further conflict, two decades after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The political edge is one of the most intriguing elements of the drama. Will the new developments and the kidnapping of Pat Keenan cause tensions to rise further still? We wait with interest to see how it plays out.

Bloodlands airs on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One

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