Review: Beck: End Of The Road, Saturday 1st October, BBC4

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14500589_926765090763228_531270101849683962_oThe gloom factor is at critical this week, when an ex-policeman, Rickard Birgersson, and his family are found shot in their home. Is it something to do with his security work, or the stash of stolen weapons found in a panic room in his house?

NB: Spoilers

While we’re still missing the ineffable Larsson, this week Beck at least gets to do something more positive, both in terms of police work and his love-life. It’s still up to man-mountain Hoveland to crack the case, though.

Prints on the stolen guns lead to a line-up of the usual suspects, one of whom, Santos, has fled to Greece after being investigated by Beck’s fey boss Freden in connection with two murders and missing money from a bank robbery. Freden won’t discuss the case, so what’s he covering up? And there’s no point hoping for help from the Greek police, says Ayda, nothing works over there.

Another suspect, Johan Wredin, accused Birgersson of making off with money from a bank robbery, but Wredin has an alibi, though since it’s from his mum and her cats, it’s not very reliable.

But we suspect cop Sylvander, whose insistence that Wredin is guilty leads us to imagine that Sylvander himself has something to hide.

Beck’s actually had a date with delectable pathologist Gunilla, so he’s not entirely given up on life, but her jealous husband is following her around, so maybe it’s an ill-starred relationship. Eventually Beck gives Gunilla the brush-off rather than get involved in a potential divorce, so he can’t have been very passionate about her – unsurprisingly.

Nutty neighbour Grannen is trying to get Beck interested in weight-lifting and steroids, so maybe that’s a more practical alternative.

Hovland is still running around looking for his wayward daughter, who has fallen in with yet another drug addict – we blame the mother, who seems to be completely ineffectual. Mind you, the daughter proves completely obnoxious when he tracks her down, so maybe he’s better off without her. Unfortunately she ends up taking an overdose, and he promises to take her in, so it looks like he’s stuck with her.

Oskar too is suffering marital problems – his wife has moved out with the children, and Hovland’s relationship advice is hardly helping matters – in fact it lands both of them in the shit with Beck when a surveillance goes to pot as Oskar makes a call home.

Sylvander slips up when Wredin kidnaps Santos’s wife, convinced that he’s still alive and has the money from the bank robbery. Sylvander bumps off Wredin, making it look like self-defence, but Hovland sees through him, tricking him into a drugs arrest which will produce DNA linking him to the Birgersson murders.

Although the plot just about hangs together despite the constant interruption of the cops’ family problems, it’s one of those cases where the evidence has been obtained by such underhand means that it would surely never stand up in court. You can maybe bend the rules now and again, but if you’re going to do it every time, it becomes implausible.

Beck at least has the satisfaction of proving that his slimy boss Freden messed up an investigation into police corruption, but  as Freden reveals he’s moving on to another job, there’s not much time to gloat.

We’ll be glad to see the back of him anyway – Freden was nothing but an irritation to Beck as much as to the viewer. Perhaps his replacement will prove a more compelling character.

We find out a little more about Hovland’s angst this week – he doesn’t like to carry a gun because he shot a 17-year-old previously – but it’s Beck we’re really sorry for, always having to clear up other people’s mess, and never having any time for himself. Somehow we always imagine that in his retirement he’ll move in with Grannen, and maybe then he’ll cheer up a bit.

Chris Jenkins

13 thoughts on “Review: Beck: End Of The Road, Saturday 1st October, BBC4

  1. Charlotte Carling

    Cheer up a bit?! Good lord, it would drive him to murder or suicide. Maybe a combination of the two. I reckon 5 minutes a day of the neighbour on adjacent balconies is about as much as Martin can take of that very particular brand of cheeriness.

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    • Chris Jenkins

      Oh yes, I meant that ironically… I’ve always assumed that the actor playing Grannen is a comedian beloved of the Swedish audience, who break into broad smiles every time he appears… but I find the character as annoying as I’m sure Beck does. Actually I imagine that Beck’s last case will be to investigate who threw Grannen off his balcony, and there will be only one major suspect…!

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      • Charlotte Carling

        Haha! Well that irony went straight over my head (when it really shouldn’t have) so I’ll just sit here and feel a bit embarrassed :P

        I believe Ingvar Hirdwall has done mostly dramatic roles but I imagine that he quite enjoys playing the neighbour, and I think you are right, smiles all round when he delivers his words of wisdom. Whoever is doing the subs for the Beeb must have fun with those lines.

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  2. Seija

    Charlotte Carling, I must ask you this as you seem to know Grannen Waldemar/Swedish culture and language (?) so well… Where does the Swedish word ‘stänkare’ originate from? I know it means ‘a drink’ or ‘a schnapps’ but the actual word, where are its origins in Swedish? I can not find the meaning in any dictionary, regular or online.

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    • Charlotte Carling

      (My cultural and linguistic knowledge is probably as good as that of the next Swede.) That’s quite funny actually. Not too long ago I asked my parents, thinking it might have been be a generational thing, if they had heard the expression “stänkare” in a non-Beckian context. They couldn’t think of any example and weren’t sure if they had heard it anywhere else.

      The litteral translation of en stänkare is a splasher. I just did a quick search and couldn’t find any proper etymology or first example for it. However, I think it may have been a regional word (I’m from the south, Stockholm slang is really not my area of expertise) that already existed but since it was made Valdemar’s catchphrase it had a revival and is now very much linked with him.

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      • Seija

        I did some detective work on the net myself, and this is the only reference I found in connection with the word ‘stänkare’: “…viskositeten (stänkare)…” in Lars Melin’s text (http://www.larsmelin.se/pdf/vinord.pdf) but I can not for the world of me fathom what he means by that? What has viscosity to do with ‘stänkare’!?

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      • Charlotte Carling

        He’s simply pointing out that the different slangwords highlight different aspects of an alcoholic drink e.g. fortifying, medicinal and intoxicating. Stänkare highlights the fact that it’s a liquid that is splashable. This is true of most liquids really but a higher viscosity liquid would be less prone to splash. He could just as easily have said “stänkare relates to it’s liquid form” as that’s all he’s after.

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  3. Seija

    Your interpretation of the culturally denoted Swedish vocabulary helps a lot, C.C. I read up on fluids and viscosity myself but as physics is not my forte I thank you dearly.

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    • Charlotte Carling

      Just heard the word stänkare in a non-Beck setting for the first time. Though I’m not sure if it counts as it was fictional as well, series 2 of Åland drama Thicker than Water. Maybe the writers just had a bit of fun getting it in there.

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