Bodkin review, podcasters in for a surprise

Siobhán Cullen, Will Forte, and Robyn Cara in Bodkin

Bodkin is full of surprises. This review will avoid revealing any spoilers or surprises, because they are the secret sauce in this comedy about a podcaster looking for a story in a small Irish town near the sea.

The American Gilbert Power (Will Forte) has one popular podcast under his belt. Now he needs a new topic. He hears about a 20 year old mystery in the (fictional) Irish town of Bodkin. Since he wants to find his Irish roots, he decides to go there and put together a podcast about the mystery.

He doesn’t expect to solve anything. He just wants enough old gossip to string together to get listeners interested.

Dove (Siobhán Cullen) is a London-based journalist. She’s in trouble with her newspaper because her source for a big story killed himself. And she’s Irish. That’s enough to get her assigned to accompany Gilbert as he looks into the 20 year old mystery. The newspaper researcher Emmy (Robyn Cara) is assigned to go with them.

We get to know each of these three characters quite well in the seven episodes of the series. Dove, in particular, has lots going on under the surface.

The three podcasters are a mismatched trio. Gilbert is a mild mannered fellow in need of a success. Dove is a hard nosed investigative journalist. Emmy is fresh-faced and eager to learn.

Siobhán Cullen, Will Forte, and Robyn Cara in Bodkin

The story in Bodkin is about 3 people who disappeared 20 years ago on Samhain at a festival.

Gilbert just wants to collect memories from people in the pub or anyone who knew the folks who disappeared. Dove can’t stop herself from actually investigating the disappearances, which leads to all sorts of hidden secrets, surprises, and danger.

Everyone in the town knows some part of the story. The podcasters are driven around by the unreliable Sean (Chris Walley). He’s never there when they need him. Seamus (David Wilmot) seems connected somehow, but how? There’s a rich guy named Fintan (Charlie Kelly) that Emmy takes a liking to. There’s a mortician named Mary (Clodagh Mooney Duggan) that Dove takes a liking to. There’s an island full of nuns led by Mother Bernadette (Fionnula Flanagan) who make money teaching yoga and tending bees. Add some suits from Interpol to the mix. There’s a lot going on.

Finding the facts from the 20 year old disappearance is a process slippery as an eel and full of twists. Nobody, including Gilbert, wants the mystery actually solved. Well, there’s Dove. She’s a truth seeker.

The series has a low-key charm that creeps up on you. The setting and the characters are so individual and quirky. The plot twists were clever and original in terms of traditional mystery genre storytelling. It was a revealing look into life in a small town, making a living in the 21st Century, and facing your fears.

Bronwen Hughes directed 3 of the episodes. The entire series is available on Netflix. If you watch it, please share your reactions in the comments.

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