Harry Wild: Series 2
R0 - United Kingdom - Acorn Media
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (17th May 2024).
The Show

Having tired of trying to teach "arrogant shits the whys of human existence through literature," Dr. Harry Wild (Somewhere in Time's Jane Seymour) retired in hopes of writing a great novel. Winding up on the wrong end of a mugging, she made the acquaintance of Fergus (Whitstable Pearl's Rohan Nedd), a student acting out in school due as much to boredom as his troubled home life raising both his eight-year-old sister Liberty (Rosa Willow Lee) and his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father Malky (Michael Inside's Shane Lynch). She also reconnected with her estranged Dublin police detective son Charlie (Copper's Kevin Ryan), his wife Orla (The Stag's Amy Huberman), and granddaughter Lola (Rose O'Neill). With the reluctant help of Fergus who she has taken under her wing to keep him out of trouble and foster his literary interests Harry applied her unwelcome mystery writing expertise to her son's cases and found her second act as a private detective.

Series two finds Harry professionally-partnered with Fergus and in the awkward position of having to defend her romantic rival (and Charlie's boss) Vivian (Fair City's Ciara O'Callaghan) when she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of her estranged husband, Charlie's mentor, and Harry's on-again/off-again lover Ray Tiernan (Hunger's Stuart Graham) in the series two opener "Silence Dogood Did Bad" (48:53). While Harry is keeping her feelings of loss to herself, Fergus is distracted by the sudden return of his mother Paula (singer Samantha Mumba) who he suspects has ulterior motives for trying to get back into his life. Like every other cozy mystery series, Harry Wild takes a stab at a whodunit using folk horror trappings in "The Village Has Eyes" (44:48) when a young novelist vanishes from the tiny village of Wicklow Way while working on a book about a local cult of devil worshipers, while in "A Botox a Day Keeps the Mortician in Pay" (42:31), a "bridezilla" hires Harry and Fergus to discover who murdered her much-disliked Maid of Honour with an overdose of botulism-laced Botox lest her death delay the wedding. In this case, Harry is less interested in the whodunit than the how since the entire hen party was captured on video with seemingly no opportunity for the killer to strike. Orla finds herself having to beg for Harry's help without Charlie's knowledge in "Orla Wild's Wicked Wicked Ways" (44:00) when her shady ex-boyfriend becomes the suspect in the death of his fencing partner and the police do not believe his claim that he is being hunted by crossbow-wielding assassin known as "El cazador" (the hunter), while like recent seasons of felklow Acorn cozys The Madame Blanc Mysteries and Midsomer Murders "Professor Wild in the Library with the Revolver" (43:05) has Harry and Fergus stranded with a "cast" of suspects at a murder mystery weekend with a real corpse (and more to come). In the season final, "He Could've Been a Contender Until They Chopped His Arms Off" (43:48), Fergus himself hires Harry to investigate the death of a community-minded boxing gym owner whose body was strewn in pieces along the Dublin coast.

One of the better Acorn attempts to replicate the "cozy" brand of genteel British murder mysteries, Harry Wild's second season features several familiar case scenarios which seem to be cycled through the various Acorn mysteries and detective series in general but the cases this time around are fairly diverting (apart from the opener in which the killer is as obvious upon introduction as the red herrings). After killing off a major character and "neutralizing" as Vivian concedes that she owes Harry a substantial favor the secondary detective characters are reduced to comic relief on the level of regulars shifty Glenn (Informer's Paul Tylak) who takes over the local pub when Harry's pub hangout and attempts to innovate it in incompetent ways and Harry's exposition-providing university colleague Graham (Morgan C. Jones). Rather than just being exasperated by his mother meddling in his cases, Charlie and his time no-nonsense Vicky (Vivarium's Danielle Ryan) and beans-spilling Jordan (Fair City's Anthony Delaney) racing to solve cases before Harry and Fergus whenever the pair are hired by potential suspects lest the reputation of the Garda suffer (which is just as well because the police procedural aspect is less interesting than Harry's and Fergus' investigation). While the first series felt self-contained even in its open ending as far as the main partnership, it appears as though series two is deliberately leaving things open for the third series in terms of Fergus' family subplot, "competition" between Harry and her son not to mention secrets in his own family and what need Harry may have to call in the favor owed by Vivian. All series two episodes preface the closing credits with an "in memoriam" for executive producer James Flynn (The Banshees of Inisherin) who passed away last year.
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Video

Shot in HD and framed at 2.00:1 - which really only seems to be well-utilized in Irish landscape shots - series is split between two dual-layer discs and the anamorphic PAL encode gets the job done with more breathing room than some earlier Acorn releases that tried to cram as much video onto the fewest discs. It is not a technically-demanding production but it probably would look more inviting on Blu-ray than on SD DVD or an HD stream.
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Audio

The sole audio option is a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track that features clear dialogue, scoring, sedate atmosphere, and makes good use of directional effects during murder scenes and action in general (including the paths of a few "piercing" crossbow arrows). Optional English HoH subtitles are included.

Extras

The sole extra is a short behind the scenes (1:56) piece, also with optional English subtitles.
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Overall

Series two of the Irish cozy mystery Harry Wild features some diverting cases and seems to be planning ahead for a third series.

 


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