Review: Arne Dahl (S2 E3&4/10), Saturday 24th October, BBC4

Programme Name: Arne Dahl - TX: 24/10/2015 - Episode: Requiem Pt1 (No. Requiem Pt1) - Picture Shows:  Kerstin Holm (MALIN ARVIDSSON) - (C) Filmlance International AB - Photographer: Johan Paulin

 (C) Filmlance International AB – Photographer: Johan Paulin

Kirstin Holm’s day doesn’t go to plan when her visit to a bank is interrupted by trigger-happy robbers. But the bank is a virtual one that holds no cash – so what are they after?

Holm’s relationship with Bengt seems to be blooming, but he has to take charge when she becomes a hostage. Tiny Ida gets shoved into an airshaft to aim a camera into the bank, and the SWAT team breaks in and saves the hostages, but the robbers escape under the cover of smoke bombs, disguised in SWAT uniforms.
Now, if the criminals’ intent was to compromise the bank’s network, this is manifestly daft; you don’t break into a bank branch to breach a network. But if no-one had got shot, presumably the A-Unit wouldn’t have been assigned to the case, so this dramatic opening had to be engineered.
Two of the robbers are identified as Russians with KGB connections, but the third, the computer expert Max, was only seen by Holm. The SWAT commander isn’t impressed by the idea that the robbers may have worn uniforms stolen from his unit.
Tensions rise as the robbers kill time in a cabin in the woods; whatever they stole wasn’t complete, and their mysterious boss isn’t happy. It takes an extraordinarily long time for the bank to figure out that 20m kroner has been transferred to Switzerland – is a bank official implicated? And why was a house adjoining the bank broken into at the same time as the robbery? Apparently it was to get access to a mysterious conduit – is this why the CIA has taken an interest?
Paul, clearly missing Holm’s muscular thighs, turns up with a takeaway to comfort her, only to find Bengt with his feet well under the table;  clearly she prefers home cooking, and she looks like she’s getting her five a day. Might Paul console himself in the arms of his snippy secretary, who seems to be warming to him?
Paul discovers that a member of the SWAT team had disappeared with some uniforms; she is found dead in her holiday home, where the robbers were hiding. They are almost caught after they use a known mobile phone, but they escape just in time.
Fleeing ahead of schedule, the robbers make it to a port, but one uses the mobile again, and as the cops close in, one robber is killed by a mystery gunman, one is captured, but a wounded Max escapes.
On the domestic side, Chavez and Sara are having their ups and downs, but Sara thinks she’s pregnant again; will this put an end to the arguments at home and make her take it easy?  Well, we reckon one of the team might bite the bullet at the end, and leave his or her personalised A-Unit mug, lovingly hand-crafted by Ida, sitting unwashed in the office kitchen.
Wounded Max goes to his boss for help, and we discover that what he was after was some kind of plan relating to an old East German energy research project – the money seems to have been incidental. His boss wants to sell the plan to the highest bidder, while Max wants to publish it on the web, Julian Assange-style – but what is the plan, and where is its other part?
Ida’s research suggests that the pipe may have been installed when the bank was a travel agency, a front for the East German secret service, the Stasi. Chavez tries to track down Max, who was the son of East German scientists who defected, but is beaten to it by a white-haired American, Hicks, who has been threatening Max’s boss, and, we assume, was the one who shot at the robbers at the docks.
Ida flirts with a hunky young professor while researching cold fusion energy, and  Chavez tracks down Hicks through his rental car, but he escapes again.
Paul confronts Kirstin about her relationship with Bengt, but she understandably tells him to do one; Ida gives him his own mug, not much consolation.
Arto questions Fischer, another defector from the GDR; this is Max’s boss. He claims not to know Max, but suggests that there may be a second set of documents hidden away somewhere. Hicks kills Fischer before Arto can question him further.
Max, Arto and Hicks all converge on the former East German Embassy building in search of the missing plans; Max finds the plans but is killed by Hicks, who escapes.
In the aftermath, the CIA refuses to admit that Hicks was their man, but both parts of the plans are safely in the hands of the A-Unit. Their boss Becker is pleased with the result, particularly as Fischer turns out to have been the alter ego of a Russian crimelord; but there’s still some question as to whether the cold fusion plans are of any value.
Requiem is another rather odd Arne Dahl story, more of a Cold War espionage tale than a detective thriller, and gives the cast little to do except to intercept phone calls and look at maps. It’s interspersed with the familiar domestic complications, but even they don’t move along much; by the end of it, Paul and Kirstin are still split up, Chavez and Sara are still uncertain of their future (but no, she’s not pregnant), and family man Arto, lonesome Gunnar and geeky Ida are still pretty much sidelined.
We’d like to see a bit less about wimpy Paul’s lack of commitment, more bedroom action for the supporting cast, and a bit more detecting in future episodes; there must be crime in Sweden  that can’t be solved by phone-tapping and drinking coffee.
Chris Jenkins
For our episode one and two review, go here
For all our Scandinavian crime drama news and reviews, go here

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