Subscriber OnlyTV & RadioReview

Harry Wild review: Jane Seymour charms as a latter-day Miss Marple unleashed on the Dublin 4 set

Television: Harry Wild, simply through not being dire, feels like an improvement on 99 per cent of recent Irish drama

Jane Seymour in Harry Wild: the amateur sleuth caper is set in leafy parts of Dublin. Photograph: Szymon Lazewski/AcornTV

We are in the midst of a cosy crime epidemic, whether it’s Daniel Craig’s Knives Out blazing an eccentric trail at the box office or Death In Paradise mopping up on BBC One. Likewise breaking out the banner for amateur sleuthing and hokey plots is Jane Seymour in the Dublin-set Harry Wild (RTÉ One, Wednesday, 9.35pm), returning to the Irish airwaves after doing well on the Acorn streaming platform in the US.

There is, of course, a universe in which Harry Wild would be unwatchable. Seymour, the veteran British actor and one-time Bond Girl, plays an English-born retired academic turned private detective who passes her days solving mysteries in leafy contemporary Dublin. You can imagine the Martin McDonagh-esque hellscape it could so easily have been – a boozy blur of sweary old ladies, poitín-powered cops and murderously repressed priests.

Harry Wild is nothing like that. It’s lightweight, and the production values won’t knock your socks off – but it doesn’t work itself into hysterics over the fact that it is set in Ireland, and Seymour charms as a latter-day Miss Marple unleashed on D4.

She is joined by a solid supporting cast, including Amy Huberman (always at her best when not trying to be funny) as her exasperated daughter-in-law, Orla, Rohan Nedd as Harry’s sidekick, Fergus, and Samantha Mumba as Fergus’s semi-estranged mother.


As with all good crime telly, the latest episode starts with a killing, when a Garda superintendent (Stuart Graham) is gunned down, and his estranged wife is discovered slumped over his body, murder weapon in hand. The case is personal for Harry as the victim is an old flame – and a mentor to her garda son Charlie (Kevin Ryan).

In a recent interview, Seymour attributed the success of Harry Wild – which has a respectable cult fan base in the US – to two factors. First, casting an older woman as protagonist. “I don’t think they’ve ever had a series with a woman in her 70s in the lead, a very independent woman full of life. She’s changed her career this late in her life; she was a professor, and now she’s a detective,” she told a US entertainment website.

The second, she said, was the backdrop of contemporary Ireland. “It takes place in Dublin. We’ve seen Ireland in movies, but we haven’t seen contemporary Ireland. It’s always pretending to be England, somewhere else, or back in the day”.

The obvious point to make is that it’s all hugely straightforward – a masterclass in adequacy. The plot is perfunctory, and you won’t be surprised to discover that the dead man’s wife is innocent and that the culprit turns out to be a police mole working for an imprisoned gangland box while serving as assistant to a senior garda.

But isn’t straightforward what you want from a Wednesday night drama starring Jane Seymour as a posh Southside Dublin gumshoe? Inoffensive, easy to follow and lacking Banshees of Inisherin levels of cringe, Harry Wild is average with a vengeance – a perfect midweek nightcap which, simply through not being dire, feels like an improvement on 99 per cent of recent Irish drama.