Five TV shows to watch this week
A classy conspiracy on the south of France is top of the TV pile
Julia Stiles in Riviera
Thursday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm
We’ve been rattling our jewellery in anticipation of Riviera, the much-touted new crime/drama series set in the bling world of the super- rich in the South of France. The series is a collaboration between three giants of Irish culture: writer/director Neil Jordan, novelist John Banville and former U2 manager Paul McGuinness. Have they come up with a jewel in the telly crown, or is this some cheap tat that’s destined to lose its shine?
Initial word is good – the series stars Julia Stiles as Georgina Clios, the wife of a billionaire banker, Constantine (played by Anthony LaPaglia). She is living a life far removed from her down-home Southern roots, filled with lavish mansions, luxury yachts, private jets and gold and diamonds galore. But when Constantine is killed in an explosion on a Russian oligarch’s yacht, her high-flying lifestyle is threatened, and soon her life itself is in danger.
She must find out who killed Constantine, and she must also delve into her husband’s mysterious dealings to get at the truth behind his vast riches. She also has to deal with Constantine’s formidable ex-wife Irina (Lena Olin) and his three complex kids.
Stiles was woefully under-used as Nicky Parsons in the Jason Bourne movies (she and Matt Damon didn’t get so much as a snog) so hopefully Riviera will give her a chance to shine. Jordan’s proven himself adept at dramatising the lives of the super- rich with his series The Borgias – and with Banville on board as co-writer, we’re hoping Riviera will have glitz and grit in equal measures.
Monday, TV3, 9pm
From the French Riviera to Loch Ness in Scotland, and a tight-knit community is rocked by the murder of a local piano teacher in The Loch. Soon detective sergeant Annie Redford is on the hunt for a monster more terrifying than the mythical beast who is said to live beneath the lake’s waters. Things are complicated by the discovery of mysterious remains washed up on the shores of the loch – including a human heart. Expect lots of wild, rugged Caledonian scenery and some serious chills, as Redford risks all to catch the serial killer on the loose. It’s written by Stephen Brady, who counts Fortitude, Vera and Silent Witness among his credits.
Wednesday, TV3, 10pm
Helen McCrory is a lawyer on a mission to clear a man’s name in Fearless, a new drama created by Homeland and 24 writer Patrick Harbinson. She plays Emma Banville, a human rights lawyer who specialises in lost causes, and there’s no more lost cause than Kevin Russell, a man jailed for the murder of a schoolgirl 14 years ago. He says he’s been stitched up; she believes him. In fact, she’s so convinced of his innocence that she’s willing to put her career and reputation on the line. But when she begins to delve into the case, suddenly things don’t seem so clear-cut.
You’ve binged out on Narcos, the Netflix drama about Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, and you don’t want to come down just yet. Stay cool – there’s another hit of high-stakes true crime drama in store with El Chapo, the story of Joaquin Guzman, head of Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, who at the height of his infamy was considered by US drug enforcement agencies as the most powerful drug trafficker in the world.
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm
Home of the Year and Room to Improve are done and dusted for this season – so where will we get our property telly fix now? Goodbye House is the story of one woman looking to sell the family home, and her grown-up children who are competing to persuade Mammy to move into the house they’ve chosen for her. Following her husband’s death, Rosemary Woods is keen to downsize, which will mean saying goodbye to the family home she’s lived in for the past 18 years. But just to make it interesting, three of her children go househunting, each one picking what they think is the ideal small home for her. We’re promised a “heartwarming celebration of a family home and the family that lived in it”, so don’t knock it until you’ve seen it.