REVIEW: Dicte – Crime Reporter (S3 E5/5)


During the past few months we’ve had to say goodbye to another famous Scandinavian lead character, and tonight we had to do the same. Dicte Svendsen may not be in the same league as Saga Norén when it comes to global affection, but the headstrong, impulsive crime reporter-cum-sleuth has a place in our hearts nonetheless – over three series Dicte has felt like a friend, someone you can have a drink and a laugh with, and someone you could genuinely care for. Unlike a Saga or a Sarah Lund, you felt that Dicte could be your mate.

But, saying all that, this final series has been a bit of a mess; its central mysteries often being outshone by more family dramas and shifting personal dynamics. Dicte and her husband Bo, her daughter Rose and her pregnancy, her ex-husband Torsten and partner Anna’s rocky marriage, and new characters Nina (above) – who’s battling the bottle – and her boss Tonni, a pretty loathsome character, have all been spinning and shifting while the crime element of the crime drama has often felt like an afterthought. Which is kind of fine because I enjoy watching these characters, but, y’know, this is a crime drama.

This final feature-length episode pushed the boat out even more. With so much to wrap up, the crime mystery wasn’t something external – it was a personal case that was interwoven into the fabric of the family drama. This was a clever approach – and made for a fitting end – and even provided some tense and creepy moments, but you still felt that with everything going in the personal lives of the ever-expanding main cast of characters, there was going to be a hell of a lot to fit in.

The main story revolved around Dicte and her relationship with her newly-found half-sister, Maj. Mentioned – almost fleetingly – at the end of the last episode by Dicte’s father, Christian, Maj had been described as a loose cannon and a manipulator. And so it turned out to be, or at least so it seemed. Dicte, as you would imagine, was super-keen to establish a relationship; single mother Maj wasn’t so keen and more or less instantly asked for 5,000KR so she could move away from the city. Someone set her pram alight, and she claimed that someone was harassing her. Dicte believed her sister, but Nina, who looked into Maj’s background, suggested otherwise – she had moved around a lot an almost everything she told Dicte was lies.

And this is she/isn’t she conundrum played out across the whole finale, almost up until the end. Maj had claimed that an ex-lover called Kenneth had been stalking her and following her wherever she went in Denmark. He claimed it was the opposite way around, but more digging by Dicte revealed that Kenneth had been implicated in the disappearance of another ex. When the threats to Maj and her son Hektor increased, ending in an episode of physical violence (and we actually saw Kenneth at the scene of one of these instances so there was no real whodunit to be had here) Dicte decided enough was enough. She went to visit Tonni, who brushed her off, so she went to confront Kenneth herself at his construction site. This ended in Dicte pushing him to his death from a high wall after a chase scene.

Not quite the end to Dicte I was expecting if I’m being honest and it was a lot to process – that our heroine, who always sought to do the right thing, ended up becoming a vigilante murderer. Dicte has always been a bit of a loose cannon herself and has never played by the rules. But this? Wow. I was expecting some sort of fall-out to this incident (and it would have been a very bold move if Nina had found out about it and arrested her, the series ending with Dicte in jail) but no – it went from this shocking scene straight into an almost comic sequence. It was never mentioned again.

Elsewhere, Anna and Torsten’s relationship went from bad to worse. He decided to move himself and the twins out to a commune in the country, and Anna had some sort of panic attack, which left her in hospital. At the same time, there was confusion over who the father of Rose’s child was – was it Mikkel or was it Baldur? It was clear that the drippy Icelander and Rose truly loved each other and they did sleep with each other without a condom around the same time Rose had slept with Mikkel. So the baby could be Baldur’s. Or it could still be Mikkel’s. See what I mean about family drama?

Rose’s waters broke and she was rushed into hospital, just as Baldur was leaving to go and catch a plane home.

A scene straight out of a farce ensued, and in places it was pretty funny: Torsten and Dicte waited nervously in the corridor and went from Anna’s room to Rose’s room, finally all four toasting the arrival of a new daughter and granddaughter.

Elsewhere, the Nina and Tonni thread also came to a head. Slimeball Tonni was blackmailing poor Nina, who had seriously fallen off the wagon and was guzzling vodka whenever she could – he told her that if she slept with him he would stay quiet about the booze. Like Dicte, she resorted to extreme measures to alleviate her situation: she secretly filmed her and Tonni in a steamy carpark session and turned the tables on him. He was soon heading back to Copenhagen with his tail between his legs.

Nina has been an interesting character, and a welcome addition to the series – I just wish she had been introduced earlier: it’s always difficult to introduce a major new character in the final series and they’ve just about pulled it off. Nina has been an intriguing, flawed woman who’s battling demons. Crime drama likes that kind of character, and I do wonder if ever there was a spin-off whether Nina would or could be the main focus. I’m quietly hoping for this because there’s definitely mileage in this character and you feel that her story is only just beginning.

One whose story is ending is Dicte. She ended the series by reconciling with Bo – no real surprise there – and driving off to the next stop on her journey, wherever that may be. For us, we were left to ponder the uneven nature of this final series, the jarring and ungainly tonal shifts, and the fact that Dicte was now a murderer. It was a strange way to end things.

Despite all these shortcomings, we’ll miss Dicte Svendson. Unlike her Scandi Noir contemporaries, she’s flawed but in believable, human ways. You can imagine hanging out with her and having a laugh, and you can imagine talking to her about life, love and universe long into the night. She would laugh and joke and perhaps cry. Dicte the series might not have hit the heights of, say, a Bridge, but Dicte as a character will be remembered very fondly.

Skål, Dicte, skål.

Paul Hirons







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