Roush Review: A Rom-Com Escape to ‘The South Westerlies’

Orla Brady in The South Westerlies

How does an escape to a quaint seaside Irish village sound? (Like I have to ask.)

Binge-watching almost sounds too hectic when applied to Acorn’s The South Westerlies, a low-key, six-episode charmer with an environmental message. Hey, at least it’s a break from the Christmas-movie onslaught.

The appealingly frazzled Orla Brady (Fringe) stars as Kate Ryan, a single-mom careerist at a Norwegian-based energy company that’s planning an offshore wind farm in the sleepy Irish town of Carrigeen. Kate knows the area well from her checkered past and is sent undercover with her teenage son (Sam Barrett) on a “working holiday” to use her art of gentle persuasion to influence the locals who are protesting the green project as a blight on their seascape.

“I’m not the right person for this,” Kate frets as she awkwardly reconnects with former friends she left behind long ago — including the prickly diner owner Breege (Eileen Walsh), who doesn’t exactly welcome her long-lost buddy back with open arms, especially once the unhappily childless Breege discovers Kate has a teenage son she never knew about. Like others in this scenic burg, Breeze has her own domestic problems, and the wind-farm debate has a way of bringing everyone’s conflicts out into the open.

For the reluctant Kate, her double-agent subterfuge becomes a reckoning with lies and evasions she has long feared to face, even as she is once again beguiled by this benign backwater and its endearing citizens. Can she even change others’ hearts and minds when caught up in her own drama?

The South Westerlies Acorn TV

(Credit: Acorn TV)

Her Big Secret That Dare Not Speak Its Name is rather easy to figure out, especially once we meet potential rom-com love interest Baz (Steve Wall), a freelance surfing instructor who’s part of the opposition and remembers Kate all too well. The series takes its very sweet time dropping its gentle bombshells, but what’s the rush?

The South Westerlies is a fun show to visit, and chances are you’ll never want to leave there.

The South Westerlies, Series premiere, Monday, November 9, Acorn TV