The BBC is billing The Interceptor as the new Spooks, but in truth it really badly wants to be the British version of The Wire. However, if you take a good look at moody, taciturn Special Agent Marcus ‘Ash’ Ashton (O-T Fagbenle in his first real UK TV lead), don’t you start getting a whiff of Jack Regan’s Brut aftershave? Yes, there’s no mistaking it; this series may have supporting female roles in crack squad leader Valerie (Lorraine Ashbourne) and slinky field operative Kim (played by Aussie Anna Skellen – Parade’s End, Outnumbered), but in many other ways it is a real throwback. Take away the four-wheel drive vehicles and replace them with an exhaust-belching old Ford Granada and it is The Sweeney reborn. Right down to some of the risible dialogue – all it lacked was someone yelling: “Leave it out, Guv!”
Like Dexter, Hannibal requires us to accept a totally unacceptable character as a sort of hero, and to revel in a level of gore that’s almost too much to stomach (pun intended). That the cannibalistic mass-murderer played with such sang-froid by Mads Mikkelsen is almost sympathetic says something about the monsters he encounters on his culinary odyssey. In incorporating the plots of the Hannibal movies and books into a much more complex and extended ensemble piece, the writers rely on flashback, delayed gratification and elliptical dialogue to such an extent that the casual viewer has no chance of keeping up. Suffice it to say that the first two seasons dealt with forensic psychiatrist and cannibal Hannibal Lecter’s relationship with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), an investigator whose empathy with psychopaths is so overwhelming, that he becomes one. But Graham isn’t the only character to have fallen under Hannibal’s control; his psychiatrist, icily beautiful Bedelia Du Maurier, has also become his puppet.
As we all know, anyone who mentions the words ‘Scandinavian’ and ‘drama’ is guaranteed to cause much frothing at the mouth. The successes of crime dramas The Killing and The Bridge, as well as political drama Borgen and the recent period war opus, 1864, means that anything remotely connected with Sweden, Norway, Denmark and, to a lesser extent, Finland (although I hope Finland soon gets the attention it deserves) is automatically gobbled up by folk eager to align themselves with the cool Scandinavian aesthetic. They’ll swoon at the modernist furniture, the liberal nature of their cultures and societies, the forests, the dry, matter-of-fact humour, the stunning landscapes and even the relentless gloom. Especially the relentless gloom. We have our own check-lists when it comes to Scandi drama, especially crime drama, and we haven’t had one for a while. Swedish 10-parter Jordskott is the new kid on the block, so take your pen in hand – let’s play Scandi Noir Bingo.