AMC+’s new drama Kin introduces viewers into the brutal world of Dublin’s Kinsellas, a tight-knit crime family who find themselves embroiled in a gang war following a sudden tragedy.
Keeping people together like glue is Bridget “Birdy” Goggins played by Outlander‘s Maria Doyle Kennedy, who is the family’s technical matriarch or as she calls it de facto mam. “Birdy is at the top end of the family. She’s the sister of Frank [Aidan Gillen], who’s the acting head of the family,” Kennedy says, teasing how Birdy fits into the Kinsella family fabric.
A childless widow herself, Birdy has taken her brothers’ children under her wing. “She’s very, very bonded to her brother’s children and their families. They’re really important to her.” It’s a fact that’s made quite obvious in the early episodes as she reminds her nephews time and again that they’re family and they need to stick by one another.
The request might be harder to adhere to at certain times, especially when her nephew Michael (Charlie Cox) returns home after a years-long stint in prison. Eager to have him back in the mix, the rest of the family encourages Michael to come back to work with them, but he’s trying to make a better life for himself.
As tensions flare, Birdy uses her maternal role to manipulate those around her. “She’s definitely a woman of her time,” says Kennedy. “I think that she should have been made head of the family… She has the metaphorical balls for it, and she has the smarts. She’s really rational and practical.”
But she can be tough when she needs to be as Kennedy teases Birdy’s dark side. “She’s ruthless, and I think she’s developed that because she grew up in this world.” So don’t expect a “one-note mammy type in the background,” says Kennedy.
Birdy is just one of a few strong female figures introduced in the series including Clare Dunne‘s Amanda Kinsella who is married to Birdy’s nephew Jimmy (Emmett J. Scanlan). Their interactions forge an interesting dynamic between the established matriarch and an up-and-coming presence in the family’s activities.
“She definitely does have a really grudging admiration for the bravery Amanda has to suggest things, to go on the offensive as opposed to the defensive,” Kennedy shares of Birdy’s feelings towards her in-law who begins calling shots early in the season. “If she was her niece, I think things would be different,” adds Kennedy. “[Amanda] is, what Birdie would call, a blow-in. Even though she’s been in the family for years, she’s an outsider. So there is that line still.”
Kin, Series Premiere, Thursday, September 9, AMC+