Hidden Assets season two: Halfway to being an effective Irish cop show

Television: The Irish scenes of this pan-European thriller crackle with chemistry. The confusingly written Belgian plot is harder to care about

Hidden Assets: Kwaku Fortune who plays Josh, and Nora-Jane Noone, the ambitious CAB newcomer Claire Wallace. Photograph: James Pierce/Acorn/RTÉ

Of all RTÉ’s recent on-screen dramas – as distinct from its litany of off-screen ones – the convoluted Hidden Assets (RTÉ One, Sunday, 9.30pm) seemed unlikely to be the one to strike it big. But the Irish-Belgian thriller proved an unexpected hit two years ago. After drawing an average 500,000 viewers here, it was picked up by BBC Four in the UK, where it earned positive reviews.

Peter McKenna’s pan-European thriller has returned with several significant tweaks. Angeline Ball’s shin-kicking Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) detective, Emer Berry, has exited. She is replaced by Nora-Jane Noone, playing the ambitious CAB newcomer Claire Wallace. In Antwerp, meanwhile, the fallout from the terrorist bombings from series one continues, with the bad guys staging a broad-daylight attack on the cops in a set piece that plays out like a penny-pinching version of Michael Mann’s Heat.

Hidden Assets isn’t terrible, and there are moments it verges on decently average. The best bits are in Limerick, where a data breach compromises CAB headquarters. The hackers want millions in bitcoin, or they’ll start to share sensitive information. (Echoes of the cyberattack on the HSE in 2021 are, presumably, deliberate.) It’s a big headache for Wallace and her colleagues Norah (Cathy Belton) and Josh (Kwaku Fortune).

These scenes crackle with genuine chemistry, and it’s a shame the entire show isn’t about Wallace and her fellow CAB officers. Alas, the Belgian plot, which has carried over the confusing writing that was a feature of season one, is harder to care about. There’s lots of Simone Kirby, as the corrupt businesswoman Bibi, wandering around looking angry. Later, back at her home in Ireland, she is bewildered when someone tries to kill her with a car bomb. (Note to the writers: you’ll never get anywhere with an anti-hero named Bibi.)


The first season of Hidden Assets was pitched as a vehicle for the charismatic Angeline Ball. It felt reasonable to wonder if the series might fall apart in her absence. Noone slots in comfortably as her replacement, however, and there are times when it functions well as a cheerfully mediocre police procedural.

There’s still too much story, though, and it’s a pity RTÉ had to agree to have so much of the action in Belgium (presumably to secure funding). But Hidden Assets is halfway to being an effective Irish cop show – so, in the spirit of positivity, let’s celebrate it for what it is rather than condemn it for what it isn’t.