Monday 23 October 2017

A Swede little thriller to enjoy . . .

What is it about Scandinavians when it comes to televising thrillers?

Kenneth Branagh's BBC versions of Henning Mankell's Wallander books have been stodgy, solemn and laboured, whereas the Swedish TV series, starring Krister Henriksson as the troubled detective and Johanna Sallstrom as his even more troubled daughter, were mesmerisingly good -- expertly paced, wonderfully characterised and with lovely droll touches, too, to alleviate the darkness of the storylines.

Indeed, for the last two years the Swedish Wallander was one of the weekly glories of the BBC4 schedules and for the life of me I can't understand why RTE didn't snap it up ages ago. Maybe they'll make amends by acquiring The Killing, another addictive Scandinavian series, this time from Denmark, that's being shown on BBC4.

Filmed in 20 hour-long episodes that mirror the 20 days of a police investigation, this chronicles the repercussions of a teenage girl's murder on the lives of the victim's family, the aspirations of an ambitious local politician and the detectives assigned to the case -- notably the principal character, Sarah Lund, hypnotically played by Sofie Grabol.

BBC4 is showing it in two-hour instalments over 10 weeks and word of mouth from anyone who's been watching it has ensured its reputation as an absorbing and intelligent drama that devotes as much time to considerations of grief and guilt as to unravelling the mystery at its core. It's the best thing I've seen on television since . . . well, since Wallander.

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