Dear ladies and gents,
you know I love me some blood and gore. And while the British have been churning out good crime shows for years, with the likes of Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbø, Henning Mankell etc growing in popularity it’s the Scandinavians where it’s at these days. And the thing is they don’t need doodahs and wizzbangs to make it interesting is all I’m saying.
A co-worker of mine (hiya Kell!) and me bonded over our mutual fascination with blood and gore and it seems we are not the only ones – Marian Keyes, one of my favorite authors (oh please don’t pretend like you don’t enjoy chick lit from time to time. Also Keyes’ books are kinda sorta more hmmm heavy than what you would expect from chick lit vulgaris) is also a bit addicted, check out her latest newsletter, her description on what she is going to do when she runs out Wallander episodes is hilarious.
Anyhow here are a few Scandinavian crime series worth checking out.
UPDATE: Just put together a post with links where some of these shows can be found online/viewed.
ANOTHER UPDATE: This post is still getting a lot of clicks (waves to all you people) so a short FYI – MZHChoice launched a subscription service where you can stream a number of Scandinavian shows.
Wallander the series was adapted from Kurt Wallander books written by Henning Mankell. Only one episode was lifted directly from the novel, others were developed for television with Mankell’s input. The series stars Krister Henriksson as titular character, police inspector working in town of Ystad. After a few episodes Ystad starts to seem like Midsomer of the Sweden due to the fact people keep dropping like flies. The series was so popular that BBC remade it for British audience with Kenneth Branagh taking the role of Wallander.
The Killing (also known as Forbrydelsen)
You all might or might not know I had mixed feeling about AMC’s the Killing. Mainly I thought it was rather good until they decided to end it with a mother of all cliffhangers, which you know – WTF?! (Btw anyone who is still interested to learn who the killer is will might want to tune in on April 1st when the Killing returns. Although I’m not holding my breath will learn anything if last season is anything to go by).
Anyhow don’t know if you know but the Killing is based on Danish TV series Forbrydelsen about Detective Sarah Lunde (played by Sofie Gråbøl) who wears a lot of cozy sweaters and investigates murder cases. Each episode corresponds to one day of investigation. There have been two series while the third series is currently in production.
Borgen is another Danish TV series, about Birgitte Nyborg (played by Sidse Babett Knudsen) who unexpectedly becomes the first Danish female prime minister. The series follows her rise to power with plenty of intrigue, scandal and interesting story lines to keep you occupied. So far two series have aired, while the third one is in the production. Meanwhile NBC is producing an US version (insert collective groan here).
Those Who Kill (also known as Den som dræber)
Another Danish series this time about unit within Copenhagen Police Department that investigates serial killers. There are 10 episodes in total or rather the series aired as 10 episodes in Denmark while in other countries the series aired as 5 full feature film length episodes. Even though Denmark’s TV2 decided to not renew the series A&E Network in the US is developing the US version.
The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey (also known as Ørnen: En krimi-odyssé)
The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey is about Halgrim Ørn Hallgrimsson (played by Jens Albinus) who is half Icelandic, half Danish lead investigator in International Crime Unit. he Unit investigates international crimes (obviously) in both Denmark and neighboring countries. The Eagle: A Crime Odyssey aired three seasons (24 episodes in total) and got canceled in 2006.
Rejseholdet (also known as Unit 1)
The premise of Rejseholdet kinda reminds of Criminal Minds – it is about Danish mobile task force (that goes under the name Unit 1) whose members travel across Denmark and help local police force solve high profile criminal cases that the locals might be out of their depth to solve. There were 4 series (32 episodes in total) as Rejseholdet got canceled in 2004.