(L to R) Robyn Cara as Emmy Sizergh, Siobhán Cullen...

(L to R) Robyn Cara as Emmy Sizergh, Siobhán Cullen as Dove, Will Forte as Gilbert Power in Netflix's "Bodkin." Credit: Netflix/Enda Bowe

SERIES “Bodkin”

WHERE Netflix

WHAT IT'S ABOUT The seven-episode series “Bodkin” finds an American podcaster named Gilbert Power (Will Forte) dredging up unwanted memories and ghosts of the past when he arrives in an Irish coastal town to investigate long-ago disappearances.

The team joining him on the search for the next great serial consists of Emmy Sizergh (Robyn Cara), a researcher, and Dove Maloney (Siobhán Cullen), a newspaper investigative journalist from Ireland, who lives and works in London. Dove has been banished to podcast duty after the death of a source.

Bodkin, the fictional town in question, exists in the same universe as Inisherin. From the wind-swept landscapes to the crowded pubs and locals with dark secrets, it plays recognizably. 

But, as with the Oscar-winning “The Banshees of Inisherin,” it's also too smart to indulge in stereotypes.

The Netflix show arrives with the backing of Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground production company. The creator is Jez Scharf, whose previous credits including multiple shorts.

MY SAY If there were any real flaw in “Bodkin,” an engaging and worthy show, it would be an excess of ambition. It has a lot on its mind.

In the most basic sense, it's a slow-burn mystery, with the podcasting team unpacking the back story behind the disappearances of three people from Bodkin 25 years earlier, during an annual festival.

The villagers are not thrilled to have this dredged up, repeatedly reminding the protagonists that Bodkin's a nice town, with nice people.

That is, of course, always a signal of something deeply rotten below the surface, which the show unfurls with deliberate speed.

This is not for audience members seeking the visceral thrill of instant gratification. But if you're willing to meet “Bodkin” on its level, to accept that the revelations will arrive slowly and carefully, it offers its rewards.

The broader target here, of course, happens to be the podcast industry writ large and, in the twin portrayals of Gilbert and Dove, the laying out of a deliberate contrast between podcasters and serious, old-school investigative journalism.

A viewing of the first three episodes reveals a tangible vision, built around the interplay between Gilbert's go-along-to-get-along persona and Dove's relentless, hard-charging desire to get the story.

This should not be mistaken for “Only Murders in the Building.” As a satire, at least initially, it grasps for something unique to say.

It's hardly the first depiction of this world to suggest that podcasting is a less serious or meaningful business than “real” reporting, and that's a simplistic understanding of the two journalistic mediums at best. Faith holds that the full seven episodes complicate the picture.

Layered on top of it all: the cultural clashes between the visitors and the small-town folks, defined by mistrust and condescension but also a gradual softening. 

This is a lot for any single series, and the show sometimes feels suspended between all these elements.

But that, too, rings true. 

As one character puts it: “Purgatory's an Irish creation after all.”

BOTTOM LINE The elements don't quite congeal, but it's intriguing and well-crafted.

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