KIN – Season 1 Episode 1 – SPOILERS
The Kinsellas are a clan that deals drugs for a living. A conflict develops when their primary supplier (whose boss is Eamon Cunningham, played by Ciarán Hinds) insists on becoming their only supplier. Frank (Aidan Gillen), the head of the family, wants to go along with the idea though he doesn’t like it because the Kinsellas’ organization is not large enough to effectively take on Cunningham.
Frank has a sister, Bridget “Birdy” Goggins (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and all we see her do (at least in this episode) is stage a welcome home party for Michael (Charlie Cox) who has just been released from prison. Michael has one brother and that’s Jimmy (Emmett J Scanlan), who is married to Amanda (Clare Dunne). Jimmy and Michael are the sons of Frank’s brother Bren, whom we have not yet met.
Amanda runs a car dealership that is a money laundering operation for the clan and is trying to keep her children from following in their father’s footsteps and into a life of crime. Eric (Sam Keeley), who is nicknamed “Viking”, and has a significant other named Nikita Murphy (Yasmin Seky). Eric is something of a hothead. (Frank, his father, calls him an “embarrassment”.)
At the launch of Raidió Teilifís Éireann‘s 2021 season , Gillen described Frank as being a somewhat reluctant but efficient leader. “He’s not straightforward, said Gillen, “but he is efficient, and he has a whole mysterious or semi-mysterious social life going on. He’s also prone to violent flare-ups.” Claire Dunne told Ali Condon of extra.ie: “In the beginning, we just see Amanda as a mother and someone who’s not quite involved in that gangland stuff. But as the series progresses, she inevitably ends up involved in it.”
Michael also has a daughter, whom we do not (at least so far) get to meet. He wants to get a legitimate job so that the powers that be will allow him contact with her again. We do not know why Michael was imprisoned, but when he returns to his house, he spends a lot of time staring at a bullet hole in a brick wall there. (As one might expect, there is quite a lot of gunplay in this story.) Frank gives him a job washing cars at the dealership, then Amanda has lunch with Michael and advises him that his daughter would be better off if he stayed out of her life. Amanda could be acting in his daughter’s best interests by doing that, or she might have a more personal stake in persuading him to get involved in the family business again. (Amanda had to fortify herself with cocaine before Michael’s welcome home party, and there are other indications that Amanda and Michael might have been more than friends before he went to prison. She is certainly the most intriguing character in this episode.)
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Kennedy described her character Birdy to Sam Stone of CBR: “She could have had a lot more responsibility within that family and probably would have if her gender had been different. That was one of the things I wanted to look at, that she is constantly torn with this idea of really wanting to support her brother Frank because of loyalty and family but also kind of being annoyed with him some of the time and resentful that he’s making these decisions that she could’ve and should’ve made and possibly would’ve made better.”
The show’s tagline reads: “‘Kin’ tells the story of a fictional Dublin family embroiled in gangland war and speaks to the enduring unbreakable bonds of blood and family.” (In the first episode, they are not yet embroiled in this war, but there are skirmishes.) Episode One is directed by Diarmuid Goggins. (That could be where the last name of Maria Doyle Kennedy’s character came from.) Goggins also directed twelve episodes of another Irish crime drama, RED ROCK. The episode was written by the show’s creators: Ciaran Donnelly and Peter McKenna. (Donnelly directed the first two episodes of the second season of ALTERED CARBON. McKenna directed the first episode of the BBC’s new adaptation of AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, which should be released later this year.) Episodes five through eight of KIN are directed by New Zealander Tessa Hoffe, who also directed the award-winning short film SPINOSAURUS.