From writer Colin Teevan, Resistance follows on from Rebellion, which aired in 2016, moving on to focus on the War of Independence. The series features Jimmy Mahon (Brian Gleeson), who works as a hit-man for Michael Collins, while his brother Patrick (David Wilmot) is working for the British as an RIC officer. It marks the centenary of the War of Independence in Ireland.
The narrative thread that holds the series together is a plot by the Irish (fictional, but based on what was to follow) to get rid the British administration and their system of spies and secret police at Dublin Castle. This world is one of shadows and echoes; double-agents and unreliable narrators at a time of high tension, fear and anxiety.
“The story has moved forward to November 1920 and we are right at the centre of the War of Independence,” said series producer Catherine Magee. “What we were interested in looking at was not the ‘great man’ version of Irish history, but what it was like to be caught up in events of the time.
“Filming period is always a really big challenge, this period was more about guerrilla warfare, it was bloody and it was brutal, there was brutal repression by the Black and Tans. We filmed in the winter which added to the atmosphere.”
Ursula Sweeney (Simone Kirby) is working as a cryptologist in Dublin Castle, while her estranged sister Agnes Moore (Natasha O’Keeffe) is working in the Sinn Féin midnight courts. Eithne Drury (Aoife Duffin) must learn who to trust as a journalist for Sinn Féin’s propaganda department.
The fictional characters occasionally cross paths with historical figures including Collins (Gavin Drea), British Spymaster General Ormonde Winter (Paul Ritter) , his Civil Service opposite number Mark Sturgis (Tom Bennett), and Sinn Féin founder Arthur Griffith (Andrew Bennett). Jordanne Jones, who also starred in Rebellion, returns as Minnie Mahon. Catherine Walker plays Constance Butler and Aoibhinn McGinnity stars as Josephine Carmichael.
Brian Gleeson on playing Jimmy Mahon
“Jimmy’s an Irish volunteer who is out on Easter week with the Irish citizen army. He fought in the Rising and in Resistance, it’s four years later at the height of the War of Independence. It helps having been already having a character there. It’s great, it means that you really get to go deep with it and it’s very rewarding in that sense.”
“Really what the show addresses is that fog of war aspect of the conflict with informants and spies, it was all very murky and there’s no good guys or bad guys, it’s just about people. It’s very pacey and very snappy and it’s just more of a thriller I think.”
Simone Kirby on playing Ursula Sweeney
“Urusla is highly intelligent and sort of a tunnel visioned person, which makes her socially not great. In her personal life, she has had a tragedy a few years before when her fiance was killed when he went to war. She was pregnant and she wasn’t married so she had to give her child up. That’s where we find her in the first episode, she’s about to lose her child to an American person.
I love her because she’s not great with people, which is a really interesting part to play. It’s that weird time in the middle after the Rising and before the Treaty where people kind of went underground. There are people like Ursula who doesn’t choose to be one side or the other. To find herself suddenly in between the IRA and Dublin Castle is not somewhere she really thought she would ever be.”
Episode 1 Sunday 6th January 9:30 PM on RTÉ One
Set in 1920, at the height of the Anglo-Irish war, Michael Collins’ squad member Jimmy Mahon is given an intelligence role while Ursula Sweeney a code-breaker with British intelligence, contemplates treason, but what could be her motivation for taking such a risk?
In a grand Dublin mansion, a number of men, including Michael Collins, gather for a session of the Dáil. Hostess Constance Butler welcomes them to her home. Collins justifies the ongoing terrorist war against the British occupying force as Arthur Griffith (Andrew Bennett) argues for peaceful negotiation. Maurice Jacobs (Fergal McElherron), a Dublin Solicitor, warns Eithne not to take notes on divided government. The session is interrupted when Captain McLeod leads a raid on the Butler residence.In her role at the Bulletin, Eithne is encouraged to show English journalist and socialist sympathiser Robbie Lennox (Ben Smith) around Ireland’s ‘Sinn Féin institutions. Can he be trusted?
Having been identified, Jimmy is reluctantly relieved of his duties on the Assassination Squad, given a suit and a pseudonym, and promoted to a role as Intelligence gatherer.
Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drJDh328cpk&feature=youtu.be