TV Interview: Jed Mercurio – Bloodlands, Or Jaded And Goliath

July 23, 2022

Jed Mercurio is the Executive Producer of Bloodlands on Britbox. Bloodlands is a thriller about fictional detective Tom Brannick, who is forced to grapple with his past when he is sent on the hunt for a mythical assassin. His journey asks questions about what we will do to protect the ones we love, and how far will we go to achieve that end.


How did the series come about?

Chris Brandon wrote a script of the first episode of Bloodlands. I loved the thrilling story of a police manhunt, the theme of justice versus peace and the eerie setting of Strangford Lough. Once HTM Television optioned the material, we set about developing Chris’ idea into a series. We took the script to Tommy Bulfin at the BBC. BBC Drama responded well to the first episode and commissioned a second episode to enable Chris to prove he could build the story across a series, which he duly did, and Bloodlands was commissioned into production through the BBC.


What is Bloodlands about?

Bloodlands is a contemporary thriller series with one foot in Northern Ireland’s emotive past. The present-day hunt for a suspect opens up the cold case of a legendary serial killer, codenamed Goliath, who evaded capture during the Troubles. In addition to being a gripping police thriller, Bloodlands explores the dilemma of whether seeking justice for Goliath’s long-dead victims should jeopardise the fragile and hard-won peace of present-day Northern Ireland.


How did you work with the writer, Chris Brandon?

Chris Brandon wrote the original script on his own. I was fortunate enough to read it and, once HTM Television had secured the rights, we started to collaborate on a redraft that would serve as a launchpad for a returning police thriller set in Northern Ireland. I gave my thoughts on how to develop the series and Chris created new drafts. He was incredibly hard working and collaborative. Once the series was commissioned by the BBC, Mark Redhead came aboard as an executive producer for HTM, with Chris Hall later joining as producer and Pete Travis as director and we all contributed feedback to Chris’ writing process.


What do you think James Nesbitt brings to the role?

James Nesbitt was attached to Bloodlands before the series was ordered into production. I’ve wanted to work with James for a long time as he’s one of the top leading actors working in British TV. Mark Redhead had produced two dramas with James – Bloody Sunday and The Secret – and sang his praises. We were all incredibly honoured that James responded to the script and the character of Tom Brannick. I’d say James Nesbitt’s commitment to Bloodlands was instrumental in the series being commissioned by the BBC.


What was filming in Belfast like?

Bloodlands was mainly filmed in the rural area around Strangford Lough, a rugged and beautiful location that serves as the eerie setting for the series. It looks amazing on camera but the weather can be quite challenging at times. We all made sure we had our thermals and waterproofs with us.


What can viewers expect from this series?

Audiences should expect a compelling cat-and-mouse thriller led by a riveting performance from James Nesbitt and a thought-provoking drama exploring the balance between seeking justice for past crimes and protecting present-day peace.


As well as Bloodlands, Jed Mercurio also has two other new and exclusive titles on BritBox: DI Ray and Trigger Point.