Review: Beck: The Last Day, Saturday 8th October, BBC4

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14556586_929394623833608_987834701674842846_oNow that Beck has the obnoxious  Freden out of the way, he might have expected an easier ride, but his new boss Hedvall seems to be a bore if not worse. But surely going on about football all the time can’t be the reason Beck chooses now to hand in his resignation?

NB: Spoilers

One might have thought Beck would have been offered the top job – he’s a plodder, maybe, but he has a good arrest record and usually does things by the book. But it seems that counts for nothing. Beck says he just doesn’t see the point any more – then a traffic cop (on the verge of retirement, natch) is shot dead by a reckless driver, and Beck finds a bit of motivation.

The dead cop, Britt, leaves a distraught husband and a wounded partner, but it takes Beck some time to work out that there was a witness, a woman out shopping. CCTV leads to the owner of the killer’s car, Henning, but he is found at home shot dead. So did he know his killer, and was it the same man?

Henning seemed to have been a boorish, ordinary divorcee with no friends or visitors, so there’s no obvious motive for killing him. The killer, meanwhile, has calmly gone swimming, and is sitting in sauna, so what’s his plan – is he waiting for a payoff?

Oskar is trying couples therapy with his estranged wife Petra, so Beck is left to question Henning’s ex-wife alone. She has the jitters about something, which turns out to be her current boyfriend, the volatile Mikael Axberg. He’s taken at home after a tussle – Hovland, incidentally, seems to have taken to carrying a gun now. Axberg, though he seems to be a cheating louse, isn’t our killer, so why were his fingerprints found at Henning’s place?

The killer is busy buying a suit, ready he says for a party, while Hovland’s daughter is rehearsing for an end of year school concert. We have a bad feeling that the festivities might be interrupted. The killer is spotted on CCTV, but by then he’s changed cars, by boosting one rather easily – don’t they have electronic security in Sweden?

Beck’s hatchet-faced daughter Inger turns up to scold him for missing lunch, and he tells her that he’s handed in his notice, but we sense her joy at the prospect isn’t going to last.

Gun evidence produces a long list of licensed owners – ‘United States of fucking Sweden’ Hovland comments disparagingly –  but this goes nowhere, and it’s the CCTV that produces a tentative identification of the killer as sports instructor Stefan Mattsson.

A search of his apartment produces a dead cat, lots of medication and a series of job rejections. Meanwhile, Mattsson is out in the suburbs visiting an old colleague; we discover he’s been sacked unjustly after accusations from female students, and we fear that he’s now out for revenge. Clearly this is the school where Henning worked, and where Hovland’s daughter Lina is studying.

Mattsson kills his ex-colleague, takes her car and heads off for the school; Beck and Hovland, having made the connection with Henning, are in hot pursuit, with the SWAT team, who have done most of the work this week, this time lagging inconveniently behind.

Time is wasted when the cops go to the wrong hall, and Mattsson is closing in on the school assembly in a nearby church. Mind you, he only has the one automatic pistol, and to pull off an American-style school massacre he’d need considerably heavier firepower.

In the event, he wounds the headmaster but Beck arrives in time to talk him out of any further violence; but at the last moment Mattsson kills himself.

Beck’s not a bit happy with the result – why can we never do enough, he asks himself? –  but the events may have brought Hovland and his daughter closer together, and indeed Beck and his daughter. Even annoying neighbour Grannen gets in on Beck’s retirement dinner; see, we told you the two would end up together. Unless, of course, Beck forgot to send in that resignation letter…

A tense but ultimately disappointing episode, neither a triumph fo Beck nor a confirmation that he’s actually achieving anything in the world. It seems pointless to have set the denouement in Lina’s school when she wasn’t really involved in the events.

With this the final Beck film to have been made to date, we’re not sure at this stage whether there will be any more, or whether the BBC will ever show the first two seasons, which must be looking pretty dated by now.

Peter Haber’s portrayal of the character has been solid and reliable rather than exciting, much like the character of Beck. In the original novels, Beck seems to have climbed through the ranks through persistence, and the incompetence of his colleagues, rather than through any detective genius of his own. Certainly this week’s case could have been solved by anyone who could look at CCTV footage and read a news report.

Here’s to Beck, then, and what could be a happy retirement with Grannen, the most reliable element in his world.

Chris Jenkins

For all our news and review on Beck, go here

 

5 thoughts on “Review: Beck: The Last Day, Saturday 8th October, BBC4

  1. Charlotte Carling

    I argee, series 1, 2 and first half of 3 would be fairly dated and I don’t really think the Beeb will have any interest in showing them at this point. Presumably there are enough current foreign drama series to choose from. The trailer for next Saturday’s Danish crime story looks interesting: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2239736857?playlistId=tt2438644&ref_=tt_ov_vi )

    If things fall into place there may be a new film of the first Beck novel, Roseanna, directed by Tomas Alfredson (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). Back to 60’s Stockholm in that case.

    I still want more of present day Steinar though. And a few more quotes from the neighbour.

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  2. I agree it was a so/so episode. Have we not had that storyline in other dramas, revenge for false accusations that destroys the accused lives. Felt the clues were being dropped onto their laps. Predictable end. Steiner was great again , he is such a refreshing character. He’s a man’s man. Strong, dependable typical allrounder. I think him and gunvald would have been an interesting duo. I don’t think its the end of Beck..

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