Somewhere between “Entourage” and “The Godfather” lies “Love/Hate,” an Irish TV series about a group of young men involved in various criminal activities. Similar to “Entourage,” the characters in “Love/Hate” are trying to find their way as they transition into adulthood while dealing with family responsibilities and changing relationships with each other. There is also a lot of partying. The underworld lifestyle, just below a thin veneer of normalcy, where loyalties are constantly questioned or in doubt, along with the mafia style hit that opens the series, bring to mind “The Godfather.”
UPDATE: As of September, 2014, “Love/Hate” is currently not available on Netflix. You will have to turn to other sources to watch this show. In the meantime, feel free to contact Netflix (live chat or phone) to ask if “Love/Hate” will return. Netflix says they are sensitive to customer feedback. In the meantime, it can be found for instant streaming on Amazon.
“Love/Hate” is fast-paced; scenes are often brief with edits taking us back and forth between parallel or contrasting situations. With several main characters, it takes a while to figure out who is who and what the relationships are. The early episodes also set the stage for later events, but everything falls into place and begins to move forward in episode three.
Halfway into the first episode we meet John Boy, played by Aidan Gillan, leader of the drug trafficking gang. (“Game of Thrones” fans will know him as Littlefinger.) He is a little older, wiser and less volatile than the rest of the guys. The main gang members include Darren and Nidge, played by Robert Sheehan and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Also in the gang is Tommy, Killian Scott from “Jack Taylor.” Ruth Bradley and Aoibhinn McGinnity play two of the central female characters.
As the show begins, Darren has been in self imposed exile for legal reasons. Back in Dublin, he is brooding and more sensitive than the others, perhaps less interested in the gangster lifestyle. Of course, circumstances keep him tied to a life of crime, despite his intentions.
“Love/Hate” season 1 could have served as a complete mini-series as a general sense of resolution is reached at the end of episode 4. “Love/Hate” season 2 picks up a year or so later and takes off quickly. The show seems to have a better sense of itself and the characters. There are also a couple of new characters. If you enjoyed the first season, you may end up binge watching the second one.
Three seasons (or series as they are called on Netflix) of “Love/Hate” are available for streaming on Netflix. The first series has four episodes; later series have six each. “Love/Hate” season 4 was shown on Irish TV in the fall of 2013, but is not yet available on Netflix in the US. It can be found on Amazon. “Love/Hate” is a gritty, urban crime drama and recommended for fans of that genre.