Grim Gritty Grimness: We Review RTÉ’s Latest Grim, Gritty Drama


SUNDAY night viewing on RTÉ has just changed forever with the release of Hell Streets; the latest grim, gritty series from the state broadcaster, which presents a warts-and-all look at what is really going on in the crime-infested open sewers that we call the streets of our capital city.

Starring Iochra O’Laoighre-Wellington as tough Dublin detective Declan Hell, Hell Streets starts as it means to go on with an opening scene which features a 4-year-old girl injecting heroin into an infected vein while a flock of pigeons eat her recently-overdosed Mam on Grafton Street while shoppers, probably culchies, just walk out of Brown Thomas without giving so much as a second glance.

Arriving on the scene of the grim death, Detective Hell, himself a borderline alcoholic after turning to the bottle in a bid to get over a cocaine addiction, which he had turned to to get over a crack cocaine addiction, which he had turned to to get over an alcohol addiction, which he had turned to to get over a troubled past where his dad hit him so hard he knocked him right onto the penis of the local paedophile priest, tasks himself with finding the source of the heroin that killed the woman, putting him in the line of fire of not just the local drugs cartel, but the IRA, his crooked fellow cops, his old Bean An Ti from one time he went to the Gaeltacht, and his bitch of an ex-wife.

Over the course of the 9.30pm to 10.30pm slot vacated by Love Hate, Hell Streets takes an unflinching look at drugs and murder and heroin, but still finds time to include other subjects such as sex trafficking and forced prostitution, allowing for brief flashes of nipples; on RTÉ, no less. This ain’t the station of Our Lady’s cross anymore. This ain’t your Grandmother’s state broadcaster. This is a production starring some of South Dublin’s most-connected acting talent, doing northside accents to the best of their abilities and wearing enough make-up to still look their Tatler-mag best but not so much that they don’t look grim and gritty and real, dammit, REAL.

All in all, Hell Streets is an unflinching, grim, gritty, warts-and-all, unwavering, grim, gritty, searing, dark, bleak, grim, gritty, down-and-dirty, true-to-life, grim gritty grimminnygrits production full of cursing and partial nudity and scenes that viewers may find disturbing. It holds a mirror up to society and says; “look at yourselves you cunts”. We recommend watching it, because it’ll be all your co-workers talk about for the next 8 weeks so you may as well join in.