Review: Beck: Steinar, Saturday 17th September, BBC4

14257538_914040532035684_5403064023821102296_oWe’re still in shock at last week’s senseless death of Larsson, so like Beck, we’re spending a lot of time staring into the abyss. He makes it clear he doesn’t believe in an afterlife. But despite being zonked out on Propavan and wine, Beck has to deal with a replacement, Steinar Hovland.

NB: There are spoilers galore after the jump

Holding a dual Swedish/Norwegian passport,  Hovland is described as the ‘Petter Northug’ of policing – though Olympic skier Northug also had a drink-driving conviction. This doesn’t seem to daunt Beck’s boss, the prim Freden, who we discover is gay, though with his dress-sense, this doesn’t come as a great surprise.

Beck isn’t the only one who thinks the bearded man-mountain Hovland looks more like a hobo than a cop, but he seems to show sympathy for the team as they investigate the death of drug addict Mercedes Petterson, apparently killed in a caravan fire outside Stockholm.

Mercedes’ father Kaj is a suspect, as is sulky youth Morgan Vlasic, but was it more to do with his mother, a local politician with plans for a building development on the site? We suspect the body isn’t Mercedes at all, as fingerprints and DNA are inconclusive.

Hovland’s dry sense of humour goes down well, despite everyone’s problems with his accent, and it looks like the depressed Beck might have competition in the leadership stakes, particularly since he can’t find his spectacles. But Hovland clearly has a Tragic Secret connected with his family – his ex-wife turns up to say their daughter has gone missing.

Oskar confesses his feelings of guilt over being unable to save Larsson, and Hovland confesses that he’s still haunted by an unavoidable shooting; Beck meanwhile is being comforted by the fragrant pathologist Gunilla, though loopy neighbour Grannen advises caution with a tale of his own unintentional bigamy. Trust Grannen to be no help at all.

Ayda the Vulcan establishes that the caravan was owned by a Dr Falkengren, and it turns out that he is the charred corpse, which rather changes the game, as he was a respectable charity donor, and Mercedes is now a suspect. She’s hiding out somewhere, and shooting up.

Questioning of Mercedes’s caseworker and the members of a neighbourhood watch scheme throws up some interesting suspects, and Morgan Vlasic is questioned again, and admits to stoning the Falkengrens’ house.

Mercedes breaks cover to sell her car, and after administering a bit of physiotherapy to Hovland – which at least causes Ayda to crack a smile – Beck follows the leads to Mercedes’ caseworker Roger, who of course has been shagging her. Hovland cracks him by offering him buns – well, he makes it look that easy – and he leads them to Mercedes in time to save her from being roughed up by the neighbourhood watch.

Hovland calms the frantic Kaj and takes him to see Mercedes in hospital, where there’s a touching reunion. Hovland’s own daughter Lina, though, has been arrested buying cannabis, and the irony of the situation doesn’t escape him.

So if Roger and Mercedes alibi each other, who killed Falkengren? Hovland suspects neighbourhood watchman Wikstrand, and Freden supports him – but things come to a head when Freden makes it clear he’s lining up Hovland to replace Beck. Beck catches a lot of killers, but he does it so slowly, Freden complains – well, we kind of know how he feels. But Hovland tells Freden where to stick his offer.

Ayda comes up with a connection between Morgan and Falkenberg, who had been prescribing him anti-depressants; Hovland goes poking around the boatyard and finds widow Falkenberg’s spectacles. Turns out, she caught her husband abusing Morgan and paying him with drugs, and killed him in disgust.

The staid Beck isn’t entirely approving of Hovland’s illegal search of the boatyard,  but offers him the compliment that the approach reminds him of Larsson; mind you, Larsson would probably have driven a tank through the boatyard and thrown the suspects in the river.

Though he still has his sulky daughter to deal with  – what is it about teenagers in Sweden? – Hovland has certainly settled into the team, and displayed a loyalty to Beck which in the circumstances is remarkable. We’re not sure that we don’t sympathise with Freden in his desire for a faster clean-up rate.

Will Beck ever get over his bromance with Larsson, and fall for Hovland? Or will he take Grannen’s advice, and go for Gunilla? We know which we’d be inclined to, but then we’ve always disliked scratchy beards. If Hovland goes clean-shaven, we might reconsider.

Chris Jenkins 

For all our news and reviews on Beck, go here

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Charlotte Carling says:

    So, grannen isn’t actually a name, it just means the neighbour. For the longest time they didn’t bother to even give the character a name but then in one episode he finally introduced himself to Martin’s German guest as Valdemar.

    I really like Steinar. I think he’s just what was needed to keep this series interesting.


    1. Seija says:

      I agree with you, Charlotte. Steinar is a good add-on to the series. For some reason I have always considered Gunvald as a cartoon like character, because no person is so “cool” and statuelike as him :). Steinar, on the contrary, is all bone, flesh and blood. He seems very human – the total opposite of Gunvald.


      1. Charlotte Carling says:

        Judging from a bunch of comments on twitter and such Gunvald was really popular with the English viewers, but to be honest I just found him bit two dimentional. Well there was more to the character as he grew older but still… Or it might be that more time was devoted to each of the characters rather than just the crime plots in the later series. I’m not sure.

        Anyway, Steinar’s way of handling Klas and trying to gently become part of the group was quite well done, in my view. I’m looking forward to the final two episodes. (Also, I think Steinar and Hinrika from Trapped would form an absolute killer interrogation team.)


      2. Paul Hirons says:

        Charlotte, what’s your email address? Could you send them to: (that’s me, Paul)


  2. Mike Sargent says:

    Please avoid Spoilers before the jump!!!


    1. Paul Hirons says:

      Apologies Mike, I’ll put that in now


  3. rose hill says:

    I love your site and newsletters. However,would it be possible for you to put what Series/Season and Episode you are talking about in your reviews?????? thanks

    On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 5:14 AM, The Killing Times wrote:

    > Paul Hirons posted: “We’re still in shock at last week’s senseless death > of Larsson, so like Beck, we’re spending a lot of time staring into the > abyss. He makes it clear he doesn’t believe in an afterlife. But despite > being zonked out on Propavan and wine, Beck has to deal wi” >


    1. Paul Hirons says:

      We do Rose. Check the title of each review post!


      1. Charlotte Carling says:

        To be fair Paul, for Beck there is only the titles of the episodes and date of broadcast in your recent review titles. Steinar is S6E2. It is relevant as the Beeb, for some odd reason, have chosen to broadcast Beck episodes this way:
        Autumn 2015: S4E2 (2009), S5E1-4 (2015)
        Summer/autumn 2016: S3E5-8 (2007), S4E1 (2009), S6E1-4 (2016)


  4. Jon Gemmell says:

    Anyone watch the Watford vs Man Utd game today? Referee was a dead ringer for Oscar.


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