The season finale of Dublin Murders had a lot to do in one short hour: tie up the case of Katy Devlin, resolve (or not) the case of the 1985 kids, explain who Lexie was (or not), address Cassie’s pregnancy, and get Rob and Cassie back in the same room and to that point in the conversation where Rob is crying and Cassie says, “We’ll not see each other again.” It achieved that and more with a major twist that blows apart both the Devlin family and Rob’s cover.

Sterling Adaptation

Let me reiterate that I still don’t think it was a good idea to merge In The Woods and The Likeness, but once the decision was made, Sarah Phelps did an excellent job of it. I never read any Agatha Christie, so while I liked Phelps’ (controversial) Christie series, I didn’t have a perspective on whether or not they were worthy adaptations of the books. Now I do, and she is a marvel. In the Dublin Murders series, she knew just what to leave out and just what to add in to make the transition from not only from book to screen, but also to merge the stories of the two books. Regarding transitions, if you were wondering why we kept seeing the Frank Mackey character (Cassie’s handler in undercover work) at the end of the episode, it’s because the next book is about Frank and a cold case from his hometown. I’m curious to see if they merge two books into one series again. (For readers of the series, maybe they could merge Faithful Place and The Secret Place?)

The Cases

How about that Rosalind Devlin, eh? Yikes. Admittedly, because of the detour to Cassie’s undercover case, we had almost forgotten poor Katy Devlin, but the Rosalind twist nicely wrapped up that case AND blew Adam’s cover as Rob Reilly. He trashed his career, nearly lost his sanity, and he didn’t even get the answers that he was seeking by placing himself back in those woods. What a reckoning. As I mentioned in the mid-season review, I was curious to see if Phelps would give us a solution to the Knocknaree case, but I’m glad she didn’t. Another mystery left unsolved was the dead Lexie’s real identity, which frankly doesn’t matter. She was a girl who, in the blink of an eye, decided to say “Yes” when she was mistaken for Lexie on the bus. That’s all we need to know.

Rob and Cassie

The central plot line, no matter how many mysteries they threw at us, was Rob and Cassie’s relationship. I was talking to a friend who had not read the books and he said that he didn’t realize, in episode 1 when we see Rob crying, that their WORK relationship was ending as well as their personal one. And that’s the real loss, isn’t it? As a person, the Rob/Adam character isn’t very likable. But as a professional partner to Cassie, he shined. They were hand-in-glove, a well-oiled machine. Her blithe acceptance of him eased his torment, and earned her a fierce watch dog in return, making them both better detectives. Until, of course, they made the stupid, stupid decision to move forward on the Katy Devlin case despite Rob’s history. But I don’t think the case is what did them in. It was the sex, and that was bound to happen no matter what. 

There was an aching sadness to Dublin Murders, as in the books. Regret is a recurring theme in French’s work, and Sarah Phelps maintained it here, which makes me appreciate her even more. While I felt that there were too many subplots, and I didn’t like the magical woods/wolf suggestion, ultimately I loved the series and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Looking for more of the best in foreign TV?  Don’t miss our other great reviews HERE!