Last week’s opening, feature-length episode of Dicte introduced us to a new, modern crime drama heroine from Denmark. She had all the baggage a character in a bleak Scandi Noir should carry around with them, but what made Dicte a little different was that she was a social, agreeable – if headstrong – person who was immediately likeable and functioned well within her circle of friends and family. It only remained to be seen whether she could continue in this vein or if the case of her missing son would consume her.
This week’s case featured the murder of a next door neighbour. Dicte and her friends and family (yes, that’ll be her ex-husband who still doesn’t quite get that he’s an ex-husband) were celebrating Midsummer in their back garden with a barbecue, when they noticed smoke bellowing from Dicte’s next door neighbour’s garden. After a close shave with an exploding car, Dicte found the owner of the inside house hanging from her banister. When Wagner and Bendtsen (still prone to wearing old-school Adidas – my kind of person) got involved they eventually determined that this woman’s death was not by suicide… she was *Taggart voice* murrrrrderrred.
Dicte focused her efforts on finding the neighbour’s missing daughter, while the police concentrated on a local student who, it was soon discovered, was having an illicit affair with the victim, a teacher. From then on it was a case of mothers who are deemed, by someone, to not have been good mothers. The first victim – Inger, Dicte’s next-door neighbour – was once part of a cult whose main claim to fame was ordering everyone to shag each other senseless. The next victim, who we met in the latter half of the story, was murdered because of her perceived failures as a mother, too.
So the case ebbed and flowed, with not only the motherhood link uniting them but also, curiously, rabbit hair. But, like the first episode, what elevated Dicte from the rest of the pack was Dicte herself, her arc and the relationships she had with her friends and family. They all give Dicte a richness and a believability other detectives perhaps don’t.
The main, big storyline in Dicte’s personal life was that her own story was leaked to the press after she was pictured rescuing a child from the second murder scene. Her daughter, Rose, didn’t know about her mother’s story and the way she exploded with disbelief and anger was believable. Dicte’s story also struck a chord with one of her closest friends – Ida Marie – who was hurt that she, as one of her best friends, wasn’t told about it. Again, believable and an element that adds emotional depth to the whole thing.
It was obvious that Dicte’s own story arc was being pushed and pulled by the cases themselves – both now involving parenthood and so-called unfit motherhood – which is clever and keeps things contained. If there’s a criticism it’s that I’m beginning to ask myself how long I can go along with Dicte sneaking around a crime scene, invading a crime scene under the nose of Wagner and getting away with it Scot-free.
Nit-picking aside Dicte is still extremely watchable and the character herself hugely likeable.
For our episode one review, go here