Frank Mallon (Adam Fergus) owns a failing luxury car dealership, his wife has left him, he is raising his 16-year-old daughter Corrina (Kelly Thornton) who barely speaks to him, and he's made some bad financial investments that haven't panned out, leaving him on the verge of homelessness and complete financial ruin. The man with the ability to topple Frank's world is bank manager Desmond "Desi" Rane (Aidan McArdle), basically Frank's nemesis, mostly because Desi's wife Annette (Simone Kirby) used to date Frank and she still swoons and fawns every time she bumps into him. And truth be told, Frank eggs her on just to burn Desi up, so Desi is more than delighted to foreclose on Frank's entire world.
Meanwhile, Corrina hangs out with Desi's no-good nephew "Snowy," a local druggie and altogether off-kilter lad. The pair also happen to be hanging around a place called Kilran's Crossing when they witness a body dump and, of course, fail to report it. Corrina soon ditches Snowy for Danny Dempsey (Damien Moloney), a former local boxing celebrity who trains kids at the local boxing club owned by Ben (Sean McGinley, Republic of Doyle), and Corrina convinces her father to hire Danny at the car dealership to bring in sales. Things are going fairly well, but then Frank gets the "brilliant" idea to kidnap Desi's wife and daughter Jenny (Amybeth McNulty) to get the money to save his home and business and he asks Danny to help him with it, as well as asking the two creeps he just repo'd a car from, local scumbags Noel (Ned Dennehy) and "Teeth" (Packy Lee) to assist as well. Danny doesn't want to participate, but he has mounting gambling debts, so he agrees, if only to watch over young Jenny, since he knows her from the boxing club. I know this will come as a shock, but nothing goes according to plan, and when all is said and done, Desi has used a shady casino's bank deposit to pay the ransom, Danny gets injured and goes on the run, and Frank ends up with no money, since Noel hid the dough.
As the four episodes play out, we see that far more people than originally thought are involved and are double-crossing one another. The body dump from the beginning rears its ugly head, more folks are killed or injured, and we find that the criminal conspiracy runs far and wide in this small community. By the end of the season, which the showrunners clearly thought would be renewed for a second go round, nearly everyone is left in a precarious situation, except for one person, who achieves a very strange lifelong goal and leaves you hating him even more than earlier, which is tough to accomplish because he is an annoying prat from the start.
While the acting is good in Clean Break, it is really hard to recommend it. The show leaves you with multiple horrible cliffhangers and is just confusing all the way through, as character after character make the most stupid decisions they possibly could. It's like watching a horror flick where you want to tell the teenager not to go down into the creepy, dark cellar while the scary music plays because you know what is going to happen, but with these people, there isn't necessarily a hockey mask-clad killer about. They are just creating their own personal destruction and are completely frustrating to watch. Perhaps if there was going to be a second season, I could recommend it more, but even still, I just wasn't fond of the show in general.