Review: Arne Dahl (S2 E9&10/10), Saturday 14th November, BBC4

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Programme Name: Arne Dahl - TX: n/a - Episode: Eye in the Sky Pt1 (No. Eye in the Sky Pt1) - Picture Shows:  Ida Jankowicz (NATALIE MINNEVIK) - (C) Filmlance International AB - Photographer: Johan Paulin

(C) Filmlance International AB – Photographer: Johan Paulin

Gunnar and Ida are doing a spot of Christmas shopping – Gunnar has a new girlfriend, the first we’ve heard of that, so he’s looking for something special. They find a badly battered girl collapsed in the street, and soon establish that’s she’s escaped from captivity in a sports store, which turns out to be stuffed with illegal steroids – an area bodybuilder Gunnar knows only too well.

Paul’s secret service contact, Tore, is apparently killed in a caravan fire; Paul is asked to investigate, though he doesn’t get much help. The trail leads to a care home where he finds a psychiatric patient holding a mysterious memory stick containing documents about a disgraced agent, Junker.  

Clues from the sports store leads to a drug cartel and dealer Walter Englund, but when he’s tracked down, another tortured woman is found dead in his flat. The two victims were in school together, and a third girl from the class is also found murdered.

Gunnar seems distracted, perhaps worried that his cop girlfriend will find out he has a history of violence, and Paul has to investigate Kirstin when she messes up a raid.    

So far, then, we have two separate plots, both of which seem to be going nowhere fast; do the torture murders of the women involve the drugs cartel? Is Tore’s murder somehow connected? And on the personal front, will Paul and Kirsten get it together again (probably not, if he has to have her up on charges); and will Gunnar be getting some at last?

In Part Two of Eye in the Sky – another Arne Dahl title that doesn’t seem to relate to the plot at all – Sara and Ida question the murdered girls’ class teacher, and establish that they had bullied a vulnerable boy who tried to kill himself; Arto questions the last of the girls, ring-leader Emilia, and identifies the bullying victim as Joakim, who by complete coincidence is a new recruit to the police pathology department. Ida winkles the truth out of him; the gang of four girls got him drunk and forced him to have sex with a classmate, Mikaela, who is now involved in the drug cartel. Is she taking her revenge on her abusers before fleeing the country?   

Paul finds a way to let Kirstin off the hook over her botched raid, but while investigating the caravan fire, he’s shot at. His secret service contact Helena, it seems, cannot be trusted.   

Chavez turns up evidence suggesting that disappeared spy Junker and drug smuggler Englund are the same man, and that Paul’s contact Helena worked with him in Moscow. Confronted wi th the evidence, Helena confesses that Tore is not dead, but has gone under cover to investigate Junker, and a possible mole in the secret service; now revealed as Signe, the only other person to know Paul had gone to the caravan.   

Paul gets his boss Frank to spook Signe into going to meet Englund, who has already killed the unstable Mikaila, and in a tense final shootout, Kirstin shoots Englund as he’s about to kill Paul, and Signe is arrested.

Christmas festivities are in order as the team celebrates clearing up not only the torture murders, but also the drugs cartel. What’s more, Paul and Kirstin look like being on the road to reunion, and Gunnar has confessed his violent past to his new girlfriend, who has shown understanding.

So, we pretty much got what we wanted for Christmas too, which was a rattling good plot, a bit of bedroom action for Gunnar, and a chance at reconciliation for Paul and Kirstin.

Despite the nonsense of a suspect working in Forensics, this story required the most solid detective work, and least phone-tapping and computer hacking, of any of the episodes in this series, so as a police procedural it was the most satisfying. We were hoping for a wedding but as Gunnar presented his girlfriend not with a ring but with a pair of frilly red pants, perhaps that was too much to hope for.

We leave Arne Dahl with high hopes of a return for the A-Unit, though as there are no more of the original Intercrime novels left to adapt, it may be some time before we see them on screen again.      

Chris Jenkins

For our episodes one and two review, go here
For our episodes three and four review, go here
For our episodes five and six review, go here
For our episodes seven and eight review, go here

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