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The Wins and Losses in Life on 'Striking Out'
March 17, 2018  | By David Hinckley

Striking Out, an imported Irish legal drama, focuses on the small stuff. 

Because to the people involved, it reminds us, drug busts or custody fights are just as important as spectacular cases that make international headlines.

The second season of Striking Out, which became available Friday on the streaming service Acorn, starts with our main character finding herself homeless.

Well, at least office-less.

Tara Rafferty (Amy Huberman, top) was living large when Striking Out launched last year. She was a rising solicitor employed in one of Dublin’s top law firms and engaged to Eric Dunbar (Rory Keenan), son of the firm’s senior partner Richard Dunbar (Paul Antony-Barber).

On the eve of the wedding, she discovered Eric having a toss with one of the firm’s worker bees, Caroline Walsh (Natalie Radmall-Quirke).

Tara promptly left Eric, and the firm, to hang out her own shingle. Which, owing to her shortage of startup funds, was in the back of a local pub run by her friend Pete (Brahm Gallagher).

She soon hired Ray Lamont (Emmet Byrne, above), a small-time hustler she hoped could use some of his con-man skills to help her and her clients.

Tara also got considerable support from her old friend and mentor Vincent Pike (Neil Morrissey). Still, it wasn’t an easy launch, particularly when Tara’s friend and tech specialist Meg Reilly (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) apparently betrayed her.

As Season 2 begins, things have become a bit worse. Ray has been busted for possession and Pete has been informed his pub is being evicted.

Tara fears she is responsible for that, which is sort of true because when she learns who was behind the eviction, it turns out to be someone with more a grudge against her than against Pete.

Still, she needs someplace to work while she scrambles to make things right for her friends. She ends up moving her desk to the office of another friend, George Cusack (Maria Doyle Kennedy, right, with Huberman), a long-time solicitor who realizes that Tara brings some baggage with her.

In a couple of ways, Striking Out echoes Harry’s Law, a fine series axed a few years back by NBC. Tara tends to get cases many big firms wouldn’t think were worth their time, or that seem to be unwinnable.

The main case in the Season 2 premiere, besides Tara’s personal quests, involves an African woman who faces imminent deportation.

The legal case against her seems solid. She came to Ireland illegally, worked illegally and finally got busted.

Tara agrees to help, though she sees little hope for any relief, and in the process, we gradually learn the woman’s backstory, which is both chilling and common for too many immigrants.

We also see her human side, like when she jokes about “the endless cold you people in Ireland call weather.”

It’s a small story by TV standards and at certain points a bit soapy. It also marks Striking Out as just different enough from most other legal dramas that it has a certain freshness. 

Striking Out defies its own title. It still feels like a hit.

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