Review: Beck: In The Name Of God, Saturday 28th August, BBC4

13932837_898285733611164_3133615319632647428_nThis week’s episode is called In the Name of God, an obviously ironic title as the theme is a neo-nazi organisation conducting a vicious campaign against the gay community. With several assaults and murders having taken place, Jansson, a paparazzo, is beaten to death by a masked man, and his work stolen. 

As is always the case with paparazzi, it seems he’s been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and has caught a  photo of someone who will kill to keep a relationship secret. In this case it’s a married politician, Lundmark, who is sharing more than facetime with right-wing nutcase Erik Gindorf.

When Beck’s boss Oberg sees the photos of her friend Lundmark, she filches them; big mistake, as she’s killed in her home by a masked intruder, presumably the murderer of Jansson.

Beck’s investigation is hampered because his sidekick Larsson is laid up as a result of going on a bender, and is talking of quitting the police. Larsson, always the more interesting character than Beck, is galvanised into action by the murder of Oberg, and sets off on a one-man mission of vengeance.

In an excellent example of why it’s always best to follow procedure in these cases, Larsson’s plans all go awry. Undercover with right-wing loonies the Brotherhood of Lot, he steals a hard drive and fights off thug Borsin, but Borsin responds by kidnapping Beck’s grand-daughter.

In a single bound, which involves practically no tension at all, she’s freed when Larsson returns the hard drive; but Beck has planted a tracker in Larsson’s vest, turns up with a SWAT team, and a shoot-out ensues. Larsson escapes with Borsin, takes him to the morgue, and forces a confession out of him with threats of rape or being locked in a freezer cabinet. That one would definitely not stand up in court.

It’s a clunky episode which exposes two of the common problems with Beck; one is that he is a far less interesting character than Larssen, the other is that the plots are full of holes and unexplored avenues. For instance he has worked with her for seven years, but Beck’s feelings for Oberg seem to be more of respect than affection; anyway, he gets through the press conference with barely a sob.

Gindorf and Borsin are arrested without either actually confessing to a crime, or with apparently any hard evidence against them; while Lundmark gets off scot free, claiming rather uconvincingly that she was working to expose the right-wingers, not to support them.

Forensic evidence is just ignored if it doesn’t support the plot; for instance there’s no attempt to identify the killer from the weapon used.

Furious that Beck followed him using a tracker, Larssen hands in his badge; but he’s in uniform, along with Beck, for Oberg’s memorial service, so has he resigned, or not?

Interesting potential plot turns – maybe Lundmark’s husband did it, not the neo-Nazis – are just ignored, so basically there’s no selection of suspects.

Though we admire Larsson’s knock-down, drag-out interrogation style, he creates more problems than he solves, and he’d be so busted after this week’s antics that he’d never work again. Beck’s only contribution to events is a bit of shouting, and the idea of putting a tracker in Larsson’s vest.

One of the regular features of Beck, his encounters with eccentric neighbour Grannen, takes a strange turn when a distraught Grannen talks about his brother dying; it neither advances the plot nor does it seem relevant. Perhaps Swedes found it hilarious. Anyway, in the end Grannen reveals that he’s  moving out – but only to the next floor down. Presumably he’ll still be able to annoy Beck from his balcony.

Next week we have to anticipate a new boss for the squad (assuming that the episodes are being shown in any logical order) – maybe the new broom will bring some much-needed discipline and vigour to Beck’s somewhat shambolic department.

Chris Jenkins

For all out news and reviews on Beck, go here


One Comment Add yours

  1. J says:

    I gotta applaud you for having the strength to keep watching Beck. I didn’t even know they STILL make those, and I’m Swedish. I think I got tired of them around the turn of the century.


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