Review: Acceptable Risk

Elaine Cassidy in Acceptable Risk

Acceptable Risk is an Irish mini-series about a woman whose husband is murdered while he’s on a business trip to Montreal.

Elaine Cassidy stars as Sarah Manning. When first we see her she’s on the phone in Dublin telling her husband Lee (Paul Popowich) that she can’t wait to see him. He’s in Montreal. He hangs up and heads off with a man who says his meeting has been changed. The next time we see Lee, he’s dumped out of the back of a car with a bullet in his head.

Angeline Ball in Acceptable Risk
DS Byrne is suspicious of Sarah at first, but her suspicions change over time

The Irish detective who gets the task of telling Sarah about her husband is DS Emer Byrne (Angeline Ball). DS Byrne at first suspects Sarah of having something to do with her husband’s death. Three years earlier, Sarah’s first husband drowned in what was then termed an accident.

Sarah, Lee, and Sarah’s first husband all worked for a huge pharmaceutical company headed up by Hans Werner Hoffman (Morten Suurballe). Sarah was a lawyer in the legal department, her first husband was in PR, and Lee worked in sales. Sarah quit a few years back. She was planning to have a child with Lee. She had two children from her first marriage, Rose (Gloria Cramer Curtis) and Eamonn (Elijah O’Sullivan).

Sarah’s sister Nuala (Lisa Hogg) was there to help Sarah deal with her sudden loss, her children, and the more and more dangerous things she learns about the huge corporation selling pharmaceuticals, her husband, and her marriage.

The plot gets complicated very quickly. There are connections to Lee’s completely unknown past, the CIA, the FBI, the American Embassy, a small time hood, politicians, rock musicians, and the head of security at the pharmaceutical company.

As DS Byrne gathers more and more clues she’s abruptly taken off the case. Money is influence, and the pharmaceutical company has plenty of both. Later she’s given the case back because her boss suddenly develops a backbone.

It’s a swiftly moving mystery with blackmail, bribery, conspiracy and numerous murders. The FBI, Canadian and German police, and the Irish Garda all investigate. The danger to Sarah and DS Bryne grows as they drive further and further into the mystery.

Angeline Ball, Lisa Hogg, and Elaine Cassidy in Acceptable Risk
DS Bryne, Nuala, and Sarah

Two relationships stand out in this series. Sarah and Nuala were very convincing as sisters. Sarah and DS Bryne developed a bond and worked together well to uncover what had happened. I can imagine these two working together in the future as cop and lawyer if these characters had any reason to tell a new story.

Angeline Ball as Emer Bryne could solve mysteries for many more stories. Emer Bryne, honest and determined, was a great cop – a great character for any investigation.

The villain who was responsible for all the mayhem in Acceptable Risk was creepy from the first moment. Too creepy. There were numerous characters who did bad things out of ambition or because they were threatened or bribed, but the main villain couldn’t have been more obvious.

Some parts of the plot were improbable. The camera work was wobbly – a distraction. But I was interested in Sarah’s quest for the truth and was rooting for her to get it figured out. That pulled me along.

It’s a mystery lovers binge watch for sure.

Filmed in both Ireland and Canada, Acceptable Risk was first released in Ireland in 2017. It’s now streaming on Acorn TV.

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