The first episode of the last series of Dicte was a bit of a wild diversion and, I felt, went against the DNA of the programme. But still we were left on an almighty cliffhanger – Wagner was shot in Lebanon (not a euphemism) and surely they wouldn’t kill off a main character.
In Wagner’s Footsteps (I Wagners fodspor)
They did it. They actually did it. Wagner – that stolid and repressed but ultimately good man – was killed off in the Lebanon while he was negotiating Bo’s release. It takes balls to kill off a main character, especially one whose chalk-and-cheese relationship with the show’s main character was the real thrust. The episode started at Wagner’s funeral, where Dicte – having a quiet moment alone – was approached by a young girl on a bike who told her that ‘the policeman’ had promised to find her mother, who had been missing for a month. Whether it be guilt or a sense of duty, Dicte decided that she wanted to not only honour the girl and her mother, but also Wagner, so she got to work investigating the case.
Dicte was back to what she does best – being an amateur detective.
This episode was all about the after effects of trauma and how different people deal with it in different ways. Dicte, after her ordeal, threw herself into this new case, which saw her pick up Wagner’s trail and clues. Bo, on the other hand, was finding things difficult. He was distant and plagued by survivor’s guilt to the extent that his new marriage was suddenly in deep trouble – headstrong Dicte just wanted things to be the way they were before he was abducted, Bo couldn’t stand to be near her. As a photo emerged implicating him in Johan’s death, he was really teetering on the edge by the end of the episode.
This was certainly one of the best Dicte episodes ever, I think, because it was perfectly balanced between an intriguing investigation that didn’t rely on Dicte on being in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time and a really emotional relationship drama.
Elsewhere, Nina (Wagner’s ex-wife) was trying desperately to move from her post in missing persons to the crime squad, and together she and Dicte forged a new investigative team and saw the case as a way to find her way back to what she really wanted to do. But there was also a new crime squad detective in town – Tonni Pederson (played by old favourite Søren Malling). It seemed strange that new dynamics and new characters are being introduced half-way through the last series, but it was good stuff nonetheless.
I may not have cared too much for the first episode, but it really did set things up for the rest of the series, both in terms of narrative and character arcs, as well as emotional heft.
When The Mind Gets Sick (Når sindet bliver sygt)
The third episode of the series initially revolved around Rose, Dicte and Torsten’s daughter. Always a peripheral character, it was good to see her take more of a central role.
In episode two, she made noises about going to Chicago, but here we saw her work in a psychiatric hospital. And, like her mother, she found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time – a patient was murdered. This brought Dicte into play, naturally, and she began to sniff around. When another young woman turned up dead in the same hospital, Tonni and Nina established that they died from the same cause: a shot of a deadly drug. First it looked as though it might be a murderer into pregnant women, then they had a potential caregiver serial killer on their hands and, of course, this put Rose in the heart of it all. Why? Because a) Rose worked at the hospital and b) she was pregnant.
It looked for all the world that this episode was going down a road we’ve been down countless times before (eg the offspring of a main character is put in danger), but mercifully it resisted the temptation. Instead, we had Tonni and Nina investigating one angle (just like Wagner and Bendtsen used to) and Dicte – now back at the newspaper – working another angle, eventually meeting somewhere in the middle.
A word about Tonni and Nina. They’re not getting on. Tonni is un-PC and a bit of a shirker, while Nina is all energy and deduction. By the end of the episode, Tonni was not only doing his best to take credit for solving the case but also trying to seriously undermine Nina in the process. What’s the betting that Tonni doesn’t last the distance and Nina will step into the shoes once filled by her ex-husband?
Elsewhere, Dicte and Bo’s relationship went from bad to worse. In a moment of rage he lashed out and hit her, but towards the end the two looked as though they had begun to reconcile (until he admitted he slept with Eva). Back to square one.
Another good episode, one that once again explored parenthood, what it means to be a parent and what will happen when you become a parent (favourite themes of Dicte). With Bo out of the picture and Anne in Geneva, it was left for Dicte, Torsten and Rose to toast her news, just like the family they used to be.
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