Review: Dicte (S1 E4/5), Friday 24th June, More4

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 17.49.29Apologies for the delay in writing this review, but the little (and odd combination) of an EU referendum and its inevitable fall-out and lots and lots of football (the European Championship, no less) meant that my mind wasn’t really on crime drama or casting a critical eye over it. But now, looking for a distraction or two from the world, I took the opportunity to dig back into Danish crime series Dicte. And, wouldn’t you know it, this fourth episode of the five-episode series, was the best yet.

As entertaining as it has been, Dicte has been following a well-trodden structure so far: Dicte, headstrong and tenacious crime reporter for her local Aarhus Dagbladet, often finds a dead body (sometimes while having a coffee with her friends). Wagner, the tall, repressed and studious-looking policeman then starts his investigation, while Dicte starts her’s. They criss-cross, play and a cat-and-mouse game about what kind of information and access to the case to share, they shout at each other until they, eventually, coalesce.

This structure was beginning to wear a little thin, so when this episode started with Dicte and Bo in a car waiting for Wagner and Bendtsen to finish investigating the body of a young man on the kind of Danish coastal industrial wasteland (scrub everywhere, cranes and docks in the background) previously seen on The Killing, it felt more believable – it wasn’t Dicte finding the body this time.

But, sure enough, there was a personal angle to the case involving Dicte. The lifeless, naked corpse was that of a gay man who had had his eyes gouged out. While Wagner and Bendtsen worked the leads, Dicte (after taking some hash cookies into work) received a call from a local prison. There, a young inmate called Peter Boutrup took an uncommon interest in our sleuthing reporter. He gave her some leads and suggested that this case was all about the illegal sale of body organs and parts on the black market. He had read all of Dicte’s articles, he had told her as he leered at her slightly creepily. He knew she had a daughter. He would be getting out soon, he smiled.

Peter was being built up as a stalker-type, but in the end nothing could be farther from the truth – he revealed, after Dicte had found out he was waiting for a new kidney because of a condition he had, that he was her son. The same son that she was forced to abandon at birth. Turns out he had been watching her career since he was 18 and able to find out who his real mother was. Now that he had found her and reeled her in with the promise of leads, he told her that only a relative could help him with a kidney donor. Again the question was asked: how far would you go to save one of your children?

Naturally, this shook Dicte considerably but it did give the whole story and feel of the programme an extra, poignant layer as well as more emotional clout. Peter’s need for a kidney almost mirrored the case Dicte and Wagner were working on. We had a murder victim, implicated in the black market human organ trade while Dicte herself was willing to give up one of her’s to help her son.

It was interesting stuff. Add in Anne’s affair with Torsten and Rose’s relationship with her new ‘brother’ (as well as a brilliant scene where Wagner said bugger it all and walked into a gay sauna to interview a suspect), and this episode was full of things to ponder. It also, being Dicte, had some inconsistencies and a typical Dicte ending to the case – Dicte, one step ahead of Wagner, confronts the main suspect (in this case a cremator at a cemetery), and is put in extreme danger until Wagner turns up to rescue her.

Still, there was always her frisson-heavy relationship with Bo to fall back on when she revealed she couldn’t give her son her kidney because of high blood pressure (he didn’t take it too well). In fact, she fell back rather well on him… right onto the office floor in a steamy clinch.

All happening!

Paul Hirons

For our episode one review go here

For our episode two review go here

For our episode three review go here


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