Bloodlands was a massive hit in 2021 with millions of viewers hooked on the classic Jed Mercurio-produced twisty thriller about the mysterious ‘Goliath’ killer.

Starring James Nesbitt as DCI Tom Brannick, the Belfast-based show won critical acclaim and was watched by over eight million viewers on BBC One in February 2021.

Bloodlands returns for a second season this autumn. The new series has been expanded from four to six episodes and covers a new murder case which also has connections to the ‘Goliath’ killer storyline from season 1.

Here is everything you need to know about Bloodlands season 2...

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What is the Bloodlands season 2 release date?

James Nesbitt in Bloodlands BBC

Bloodlands season 2 starts on Sunday, 18 September on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

It will have six episodes.

Catch up on Bloodlands season 1 now on BBC iPlayer.

Bloodlands season 2 - First review

What is the Bloodlands season 2 plot?

Bloodlands key art with James Nesbitt, Victoria Smurfit and Niamh McGovern BBC

Olivia Foyle, played by Victoria Smurfit, is at the centre of season 2’s storyline. Foyle is described as “an enigmatic widow” and she becomes close to DCI Brannick when he starts investigating the riddle left behind by her murdered husband.

Brannick’s investigation into the crooked accountant unravels a trail that threatens to expose his secret identity as the assassin Goliath.

Tom’s fellow officers DS Niamh McGovern (Charlene McKenna), DCS Jackie Twomey (Lorcan Cranitch) and DC 'Birdy' Bird (Chris Walley), as well as Tom’s daughter, Izzy (Lola Petticrew) are drawn into the murder investigation, forcing Tom to go to new lengths to keep his dark secrets intact.

Bloodlands season 2 cast

Bloodlands season 2 - first look
  • James Nesbitt (Stay Close, Cold Feet) plays DCI Tom Brannick
  • Charlene McKenna (Peaky Blinders, Holding) plays DS Niamh McGovern
  • Lorcan Cranitch (The Last Kingdom, The Dig) plays DCS Jackie Twomey
  • Lola Petticrew (Tuesday, Dating Amber) plays Tom’s daughter Izzy
  • Chris Walley (The Young Offenders, 1917) plays DC Birdy Bird
  • Victoria Smurfit (Marcella, Once Upon a Time) plays Olivia Foyle

Talking about her new character, Victoria Smurfit (Marcella, Ballykissangel) said: "I got drip fed Olivia. I got a complete sense of her from the opener, but I didn't know where she was going to go.

"I didn't know how dark, how twisted, how sexual and how light she was going to become. It was a real game of minutiae.

"Whoever she is in the room with, she’s lying to at least all of them. If my mouth says one thing, I wanted my eyes to say another and my body to say something else. What I was trying to do, was play the three levels differently. It was really exciting. There was no room for dialling it in on this show."

Victoria Smurfit as Olivia in Bloodlands season 2 BBC

James Nesbitt was also full of praise for his young co-star Lola Petticrew, who plays Tom Brannick's daughter Izzy.

"The journey that Tom has with Izzy is one of the most painful I’ve had to play," said the Cold Feet actor.

"Lola is just extraordinary. Her performance is truthful, simple and pure and never without an enormous amount of thought. Opportunities to work with people like that, it’s why you keep doing this job."

Bloodlands actors James Nesbitt and Lola Petticrew BBC

What happened in Bloodlands season 1? The ending explained

Bloodlands season one was a thriller following DCI Tom Brannick as he is sent on the hunt for an assassin known as 'Goliath' after pulling a possible suicide note out of Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

He connects the find to a cold case that has personal significance and the series ends up as a classic cat-and-mouse thriller.

It is a contemporary drama with one foot in Northern Ireland's emotive past. The present-day hunt for a suspect opens up the cold case of a legendary serial killer who evaded capture during the Troubles.

James Nesbitt in Bloodlands season 1 BBC

*Warning season 1 spoilers*

Season 1 ended with the confirmation that DCI Tom Brannick was the killer, codenamed Goliath, all along.

However, his killings were done to protect his own family. His wife was ‘kidnapped’ and he was told that to save his wife and daughter, he had to kill three people.

After making the confession to Tori Matthews (Lisa Dwan), he told Tori where she could find the gun. However, Tom used this as a set up, telling former IRA member Pat Keenan  that Tori had been was responsible for the kidnapping. When Tori went to retrieve the gun, Pat had got there first and shot her in the head.

As Pat was preparing to dispose of Tori's body, Tom killed Pat and switched his weapon, framing Pat as the serial killer Goliath.

DS Niamh McGovern (Charlene McKenna) still seemed unsure about Tom’s innocence, but with Tori dead there was nothing to connect him to being Goliath.

One possible thread to unravel in season 2 is the mystery of Tom’s ex-wife Emma. Tom told Tori that he killed Adam Corry when he discovered that he was in a relationship with Emma.

However, the detective said that he spared Emma and that she fled town to live under a new name. Could ‘Emma’ return in season 2?

Where was Bloodlands filmed?

Bloodlands season 1 was filmed in and around Belfast, Strangford Lough and the Mourne Mountains in early 2020.

Mercurio says the winter weather made filming difficult out in the open.

“Bloodlands was mainly filmed in the rural area around Strangford Lough, a rugged and beautiful location that serves as the eerie setting for the series,” he explains. “It looks amazing on camera but the weather can be quite challenging at times. We all made sure we had our thermals and waterproofs with us.”

Lisa Dwan, who played Tori Matthews in the BBC drama's season 1, recalled: “Jimmy and I had a series of very intense filming days up the Mourne Mountains. And I remember one day filming in a snow blizzard, having to make our way to set by jeep as the cars couldn’t make it up the mountain.

“Once I sat back into the car after a take and Lola Petticrew burst into a fit of giggles as I looked like an extra from [disaster movie] Alive, there were little mounds of snow caked over my lashes and my lips were blue!"

Behind the scenes on Bloodlands season 1 BBC

Talking about season 2 and the significance of Olivia's house as a new location, writer Chris Brandon said: "The land is a character. It was great to find Olivia’s house and it is something away from what you imagine of that area.

"It cuts through that landscape as a modern Shard. It represents Olivia really nicely.

"We go further down the coast this time and there are some stunning places to look at."

Talking about why he loves filming in Northern Ireland, James Nesbitt said: "I am an actor who is drawn to Northern Ireland. I go back to (2002 film) Bloody Sunday and (director) Paul Greengrass. He used to say that for Northern Irish actors covering the Troubles is their King Lear."

How to watch Bloodlands

Bloodlands season 1 is available to catch-up on the BBC iPlayer in the UK and on Acorn TV in the US.

Season 2 of Bloodlands will air on BBC One and iPlayer on Sunday, 18 September.

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