IFTA award winner Corp + Anam, the first drama shown in the US in Irish Gaelic, is powerful stuff. You should watch it.
Years before The Colbert Report’s truthiness and today’s fake news, I stopped watching the news on a regular basis. So it’s a bit ironic that I found myself glued to Corp + Anam, a Celtic noir series that centers on a television journalist and the hard-hitting stories he covers.
Diarmuid de Faoite (Run & Jump, Kings) stars as antihero Cathal Mac Iarnáin, the crime correspondent for the Nuacht (News) TV station in Galway. Likeable, he isn’t. (Quite frankly, the guy’s an s.o.b. — selfish, egotistical, disrespectful, the list goes on.) But it doesn’t matter, really, because he’s like a human tornado, a one-man force of nature that compels you to watch him, even when he outrages you.
And there are plenty of instances of outrage to be experienced during the eight episodes that make up Seasons 1 and 2… and they aren’t solely due to Cathal, either. But let’s start with him.
He’s dedicated to his craft and won’t let anything or anyone get in his way in his quest for the truth. While this might be an admirable trait for a journalist, Cathal seems to have no sense of boundaries, of when and where to draw the line. So he crosses it. Almost always.
And doing so comes with costs — to victims and their families, colleagues and Gardaí, and his own family. His marriage to Mairéad (Maria Doyle Kennedy, Orphan Black, The Tudors) is crumbling, and he’s rarely there for her or his teen-aged daughter Sorcha (Úna Ní Fhlatharta) and son Séimi (Eanna O’Coileáin). It’s no wonder they are all bitter toward him by Season 2.
Speaking of, none of them are angels, either. Neither are Mairéad’s father Tom (Tom Mac Ardghail) or her sister Siobhán (Mary Ryan).
The other side of the outrage coin is the news itself, specifically the stories that Cathal covers. Through them we get to see the darker side of life in Ireland. Here’s the thing, though: That darkness is universal. The setting might be the Emerald Isle, but the societal issues highlighted in Corp + Anam exist in the US, UK, and elsewhere, too.
Case in point: internet child pornography. For Cathal this issue hits very close to home. A rival station breaks a story about local child porn activity and he is accused of being a perv after the Garda raid his home and office and find evidence. When the truth comes to light, Cathal’s first instinct is to do what’s necessary to save his reputation, even though it entails putting someone close to him in danger in order to catch the actual criminal.
(To be fair, Cathal isn’t completely heartless. He does love his children and has compassion for victims and people affected by their ordeals. It’s just that they take a back seat whenever he’s on the hunt for the truth and his next big news report.)
Other issues tackled by Corp + Anam in Season 1 include teen deaths by misadventure and the lack of police intervention; police harassment and corruption; and domestic neglect and abuse and institutional cover-up. Season 2 episodes highlight issues within Ireland’s legal system, including misplaced judicial priorities, perjury, miscarriages of justice, theft by collusion, and perverting the course of justice.
Written and directed by Darach Mac Con Iomaire (Red Rock) and produced by Magamedia for TG4, the public service broadcaster for Irish-language speakers, Corp + Anam costars Linda Bhreathnach as Cathal’s camera operator and video editor Sarah, Kate Nic Chonaonaigh as news editor Deirdre, and Niall Mac Eachmharcaigh as managing editor (or station manager?) Micheál.
Corp + Anam is currently streaming on MHz Choice and MHz Choice on Amazon, the latter of which lets you watch the SVOD platform through the Amazon Video interface. Stateside Euro TV fans who don’t have a subscription to MHz can sign up for its 7-day free trial or get the DVD to (binge) watch the series.
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