Welcome to IGN’s new recommendation series, Binge It! Movies, TV shows, books, comics, music… if you can binge it, we’re here to talk about it. In each installment of Binge It!, we’ll discuss a piece of content we’re passionate about… and why you should check it out.
You can’t celebrate out at the pub — because of you know what — on this St. Patrick’s Day. Instead, you’re at home trying to figure out something to watch — and maybe have a pint or two — to compensate for that. Luckily, I’ve just the show you can start to binge-watch on this very holiday.
Before The Departed, before Black Mass — and before the real-life Irish-American gangster James “Whitey” Bulger who inspired both films was caught, incarcerated, and killed behind bars — there was Brotherhood.
Brotherhood, which ran for three seasons on Showtime, transposed the now widely known story of gangster Whitey Bulger and his politician kid brother Billy from South Boston to Providence, Rhode Island, and followed the parallel rises to power of Irish-American mobster Tommy Caffee (Jason Isaacs) and his politician brother Michael (Jason Clarke).
And like Whitey corrupting his FBI handler and fellow Southie resident John Connolly, Tommy and Michael have a complicated relationship with their childhood pal Declan Giggs (Ethan Embry), a Rhode Island state trooper who often finds the lines between right and wrong, loyalty to the badge and to his friends, blurred.
Running from 2006-2008, Brotherhood was a serialized story about the complicated bond between brothers, each of whom are corrupt and righteous in their own ways. Indeed, the “bad” brother and the “good” brother weren’t always so easy to distinguish. The series wasn’t just about the brothers, mind you, but also their conniving mother Rose (the great Fionnula Flanagan), their criminal cousin Colin from Belfast (Brian F. O’Byrne), Tommy’s no-nonsense boss Freddie Cork (Kevin Chapman), Michael’s estranged wife Eileen (Annabeth Gish), their kids, their neighbors, and assorted other morally challenged characters they interact with for power, money, love, or to settle scores.
There was plenty of violence and scheming, as well as a host of powerful performances from the entire stellar ensemble. Brotherhood is an engaging crime drama about family, tribal loyalties, and the pursuit of power. Give it a binge.
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