Wednesday 13 December 2017

Love/Hate gang on knife-edge as hit series draws to close

IT started out as an idea from inside Blanchardstown A&E and went on to enthral the nation. Gripping gangland drama Love/Hate has become a TV phenomenon, with some 800,000 viewers expected to tune in to the finale of series three on Sunday.

Will Tommy survive his horror beating? Can Nidge escape the clutches of the RIRA?

With series four already being planned, fans can expect a cliff-hanger or two.

The RTE drama was devised from the stories of Dublin's young criminals and the motives that pulled them into the dark underworld.

Writer Stuart Carolan's mother worked as a nurse in the emergency department of Connolly Hospital and he drew on some of her experiences to help shape characters in the show.

Although society viewed them as 'scum', she thought of them as someone's son, Carolan says.

The parallels with real-life crime in Dublin were uncanny from the start.

The shooting of gang boss John Boy in series two was eerily similar to the assassination of crime boss Eamonn Dunne -- the Don.

The episode attracted some of the highest viewing figures for RTE and cemented the series as a cult classic.

Stuart said that he can't help but be constantly affected by the real gangland stories around them.

He said that the tragic case of murdered Mariora Rostas stuck with him as he prepared to write the brutal rape scene of Siobhan in the third series.

Viewers have seen a RIRA funeral for mobster 'Git' which had similarities to the scenes after the murder of terror boss Alan Ryan in September.

Audiences have witnessed the unravelling of the tight-knit gang as they break apart and form with new allegiances.

Fran evolves from a vicious low-level thug in opposition to the gang -- who narrowly survived a botched hit by Tommy -- to being Nidge's right-hand man. Tommy is more hapless than ever and finds himself on the wrong end of Nidge's golf club.

The show's upcoming fourth series will be from the viewpoint of Dublin gardai.

Depending on the budget, Carolan said that the action may transfer to Spain --the central European distribution hub for the drug market in Ireland.

Love/Hate has been compared to everything from Shakespearean drama to the criminal series of The Wire. The killers are not always cold-hearted and the victims are not always innocent.

The show has taken hits for the unsuitably good-looking cast, the violence and the heartless treatment of women. But it is certainly real. Love/Hate airs on RTE 1, Sunday, at 9.30pm.

clairemurphy @herald.ie

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