Review: Striking Out

Bronwyn O'Neill


If you know anything about Irish television it is either a masterpiece or garbage. Rarely, however is it both. RTE’s latest endeavour into original drama has split the nation, with either rave reviews or dismissive hatred.

The show is led by Ireland’s princess, Amy Huberman, as a once successful barrister, Tara, who must rebuild her life after finding out that her fiancé was having an affair with one of her co-workers and leaving her job.

So what better way to make a female character relatable to a patriarchal society than to literally tear her down to her most vulnerable and rebuild her as the “perfect” woman.

Huberman spends most of the first episode with mascara running down her cheeks and looking distraught, whilst also managing to defend a celebrity in a case of revenge porn. It’s not hard to realise this show is in no way realistic as she sets up a pop-up law firm in the back of a café.

The supporting cast are easily forgettable, although that is not from lack of trying by the talent of Emmet Byrne and Neil Morrissey. However, Bynre’s character is a bland caricatures of a Dublin petty criminal whose back story is being tragically pushed from foster home to foster home; while Morrissey portrays a stereotypical middle class, middle aged white English solicitor. (The originality is mind blowing!)

Huberman’s character, Tara, is completely controlled by the men in her life, from her ex-fiancé who is a constant shadow in her life to her mentor, Vincent, who guides her through cases and her own life struggles. The bonds between characters seems forced and unrealistic; would any barrister really lie about one of their random clients job prospects and then hire them? I doubt it.

Perhaps this is due to the rushed nature of the show, with the miniseries only having four episodes with an hour run time each. It was hardly enough time to flesh out the show and characters and, in turn, make the show more realistic.

It’s easy to see the appeal of the show as on the surface it is a smart crime drama. However, the final project fell far from the mark with a superficial, unlikable product.

There was of course a recurring theme throughout the four episodes and that was cheating, this possibly be due to the fact the original title was “Cheaters”. The first three episodes revolved around legal cases about a sex addict cheating on his wife, a husband cheating with his wife’s sister and a bigamist, as well as the main plot point of Tara’s failed engagement due to her sleazy fiancé cheating on her. However, with each case the cheater is forgiven, it gives the audience an idea of how Tara’s story will end. Of course her parents want her to return to her fiancé despite her wishes.

The series ends on a cliff hanger leaving fans enraged as it seemed like Tara would return to the cheater, whilst her friend looked to be double crossing her. Which either meant the writers gave up or a second series is planned.

While the project should have worked, it simply fell flat. Huberman is intriguing as the main character, however, it just didn’t seem to mesh together in any way.

Bronwyn O’Neill