Bloodline: 'Riveting' Netflix drama gets darker in season two

Chills and thrills continue in Florida noir series as Rayburn family deals with the fall-out of their actions

(Image credit: Bloodline)

Warning: Contains spoilers for season one of Bloodline

The family crime drama Bloodline, tipped as the best original Netflix series when it debuted last year, has returned for a second season – and critics say it's even better and darker.

The thriller-drama was created by Damages writer-creators Todd A Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman, and stars Kyle Chandler and Ben Mendelsohn as brothers John and Danny Rayburn.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The series focuses on the lives of the Rayburn family, which owns and runs an elegant seafront hotel in the Florida Keys. When the eldest son and black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home for an anniversary celebration of the business, he stirs up secrets from the past, which threaten to undermine the family legacy. In the final episode he reaches an untimely end.

All ten episodes of the second season have just been made available on Netflix.

Deadline Hollywood's Dominic Patten, who tipped Bloodline as one of his top ten shows of 2015, says that if you liked season one of the drama the "much more kinetic" season two "reveals last year was just a warm-up act for the riveting rot and revelations that take hold of the Rayburn family and those around them".

The "binge-worthy" season gets "darker and darker", says Patten. There are intense performances from family members, but the real blood and guts is watching Chandler going further and further out to sea as his cop character flails from the fallout of the "near-peerless" Danny's murder and his haunting effect on the family.

Patten concludes that "the drama and the bone-crushing suspense are just so tremendously Florida noir you have to jump into these waters".

The first season of Bloodline was like your favourite Eighties soap operas in a blender with "essence of airport thriller", and served with "a sprig of Southern Gothic", says Ed Power in the Daily Telegraph. But he adds that the "frothy family melodrama" won him over with "sheer, eye-swivelling pugnacity".

The second season, he says, has calmed down and shed much of the "feverish overkill", but as a guilty pleasure this romp "continues to go down easily". He adds: "Just don't expect anything beyond surface level chills and thrills."

The knotty family saga is back, says Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair. And while it might be a little thinner than before, the "swampy slow burn" is "still plenty compelling".

The challenge for this season, says Lawson, was what to do without Danny. Wisely, he says, the writers have embraced this and plunged things into the darkness, with Florida's natural beauty "teeming with menace" as this proud, self-destructive family "scrambles to keep their heads above water".

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.