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Case Number 23430: Small Claims Court

Buy Single-Handed: Set 2 at Amazon

Single-Handed: Set 2

Acorn Media // 2010 // 304 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 3rd, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson single-handedly wrote this review. He was holding a breakfast burrito in his other hand.

Editor's Note

Our review of Single-Handed: Set 1, published March 24th, 2011, is also available.

The Charge

A lone cop fights crime and corruption in rural Ireland.

The Case

What's not mentioned is that he has to be "lone," because he's in the middle of nowhere.

One wouldn't think that "rural Ireland" would be a hotbed of criminal happenings, but as is often case with many of these feature-length over-the-pond mystery series, the suburbs are teeming with a-holes and murderers.

Reminiscent of George Gently and Midsomer Murders, Single-Handed concerns itself with peeling back the bucolic façade of quaint harmlessness to expose all manner of unsavory wrongdoing.

Doing the peeling is Sergeant Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell), your typical tough, no-nonsense authority figure. Unfortunately, his vigilant work in the community is not respected by every citizen, and as the series progresses he discovers he has to match wits not only with lawbreakers but with his fellow townsfolk.

Three episodes, each running just north of 100 minutes:

• "The Lost Boys"—An old man is dead and a young troublemaker is in the crosshairs of the investigation. Meanwhile, Jack's cousin and his girlfriend show up and his Jack's family matters area bout to get a lot more complicated.

• "Between Two Fires"—A local tavern is burned to ground and the arson appears to have masked the murder of a young woman. Jack and his cousin's relationship gets a lot more strained when a woman comes in between them.

• "A Cold Heaven"—Jack lands into professional hot water as he attempts to uncover an underage prostitution ring. His only play is to find leverage against his local adversaries because, you know, being an awesome cop just isn't enough for some people.

Single-Handed differentiates itself from similar ilk by making the three mysteries more serialized than many of the one-off episodes in other shows. As lengthy as each mystery is, there is a running arc tying all three together. In fact, the soap opera elements looking at Jack's personal life—his political struggles, family feuds, and romantic entanglements—play just as large a role as the sleuthing.

Fans of these types of mysteries may enjoy the unique milieu and the blending of storylines. McDonnell is a cool customer, though fairly humorless and at times boring. Then again, he's stationed in sparsely populated rural Ireland. What's there to be jovial about?

Good stuff once more on the technical front by Acorn: attractive 1.78:1 widescreen transfers, 2.0 stereo audio and photo galleries.

The Verdict

The title stinks, but this is a decent show. Not Guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Acorn Media
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 304 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Crime
• Drama
• Foreign
• Mystery
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Image Galleries


• IMDb

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