Swedish thriller The Machinery in the works

It must be that time of year again because we’re getting all kinds of news about new shows coming out of the Nordic and Scandinavian region.

Streaming service Viaplay has announced another new show, The Machinery.

The Machinery is an action-packed thriller in eight episodes set in the borderlands between Norway and Sweden, and between truth and lies.

Olle Hultén is a regular family father. After a company outing he wakes up on the ferry between Sandefjord (Norway) and Strömstad (Sweden), with no clue how he got there. Next to him there is a bag filled with money, a gun and a ski mask. Olle has no idea what’s going on and no memory of what’s happened, but when the police chase him his instincts tell him to run. He sets off on a violent hunt for the real robbers. 30 million Kroner have been stolen from a cash repository in Sandefjord and several people were killed in the process. Olle is on his own, trying to find the people who are framing him. His only chance is to clear his name before the police catch up to him – but why has he been targeted?

Olle is forced to leave everything he holds dear behind in his quest for the truth behind what is happening to him, desperate to hide his true identity – and what made him run away many years ago. Who is Olle Hultén? What is he hiding? And is he guilty of what he is being accused of?

Look out for it later in the year.

The Truth Will Out recommissioned for second series

In a few weeks’ time, we’ll be getting Swedish series The Truth Will Out (Det som göms i snö) on Walter Presents/All4.

But Swedish streaming service Viaplay has already recommissioned the show for a second run.

The series – which starts on Channel 4 on 11th February and then transfers over to All4 under the Walter Presents banner – is inspired by the true case of the biggest miscarriage of justice in Swedish history and follows troubled detective Peter Wendel as he attempts to create a new, dedicated cold case team.

Wendel’s goal encounters a set-back when an unknown killer leaves a message for the police. It states that Sweden’s most notorious serial killer is actually a fraud. In order to uncover the truth, Peter has to pull his cold case team together quickly but is limited to an unusual bunch of misfits of the police force – the only officers currently available in Stockholm. His newly formed team find themselves at odds with the powerful group of people who got the serial killer convicted in the first place. With a more personal connection to the case than he’d like to admit, and the political media hot on his trail, will Wendel’s inept team be able to expose the truth that has been hidden for so long?

Expressen reports that the second series Robert Gustafsson will reprise his role as Peter Wendel in series two, and that filming starts in this spring.



Swedish channels developing Eight Months

Swedish channels C More and TV4 are developing the political thriller series Eight Months (Åtta månader), based on the acclaimed suspense novel of the same name by Magnus Montelius.

Åtta månader (Eight Months), written by Magnus Montelius, was published in 2019 by Albert Bonniers Förlag and was quickly praised by critics. It was ranked in second place in December among the best detective novels of 2019 by newspaper Dagens Nyheter’s literature critic Lotta Olsson, and was recently voted the best foreign suspense novel by Det Danske Kriminal Akademi.

It tells the story of journalist Nina Wedén, who reveals Sweden’s foreign minister as a sex buyer. When a new foreign minister – Jacob Weiss – takes office, he appoints Nina as his press secretary. Both rumours and dubious employees circulate around Weiss, and Nina is forced to question who is actually in control of the corridors of power.

At the same time, political advisor Max Boije starts investigating Weiss’s past and discovers a gap of eight months. When one of his sources is found murdered in Riddarfjärden, Max begins to suspect that he has gotten too close to a secret that someone is ready to kill to protect.

More news as we get it.


REVIEW: White House Farm (S1 E4/6)

I’ll admit it, I’ve not really been enjoying this series.

My worst fears – that this grisly, harrowing true-life crime adaptation was being dragged out as far as it possibly could – were beginning to come true.  The last few episodes were slow, with only one meaningful twist or cliffhanger. (Obviously, I’m judging the adaptation here, NOT judging any of the events and trauma that actually happened.)

So I came into this fourth episode with low expectations. And, wouldn’t you know it, and with low expectations in tow, I actually enjoyed this episode from a drama standpoint. There was a sense that there was a quickening and a raising of the stakes.

At the end of the last episode, we saw Stan accrue new evidence (the silencer) but couldn’t get it to the prosecutors in time. Instead, Jeremy Bamber got access to the bodies and was free to cremate.

He was also free to begin ruthlessly selling off his parents’ wares – including his dad’s war medals – to the chagrin of Ann. And he began to act strangely, too. He was cracking jokes, taking any opportunity to have a dig at Julie, and flirting with anyone he came across (including his strange Kiwi travelling mate).

His behaviour was beginning to attract attention.

Elsewhere, Stan was still waging his one-man mission inside the force to bring Bamber to justice. And it wasn’t going well. The coroner still disputed the silencer evidence, his superiors told him to pack his suspicions up and accept the murder-suicide verdict, and then Taff demanded he take his month’s worth of holiday, or gardening leave as he didn’t call it.

Before the suspension-in-all-but-name there still things that were nagging away at Stan, not least when he and his young partner were in the Bamber farmhouse when they noticed a new phone had been placed in the kitchen. They found that the phone had been taken from the bedroom, which again contradicted the idea that Nevill Bamber was able to make his 999 call.

So we had a classic set-up here. It looked for all the world that Stan’s investigation was dead in the water and Bamber was going to get away with it. (Stan wept when he returned home after being suspended.)

But then along came Julie.

We saw her begin to disintegrate from guilt and Bamber’s steady pressure over the course of the episode, and she had taken skulking in the corner of rooms to new levels throughout this whole stories, and there was a sense that it was only a matter of time until she stopped skulking and started talking.

As the funerals took place, and despite Stan’s occasional invitation to give him a call to tell him what was on her mind, the guilt got the better of her.

She went to the police.

So there was a sense that from the ashes of failure the Phoenix of justice was beginning to rise. And that made it an engrossing, compelling watch.

There was once particular shot that really impressed me: Colin had gone round to Sheila’s old flat on the invitation of Bamber. When he got there he had found that his brother-in-law had taken down all the pictures of the children from the wall, showed him Sheila’s semi-naked glamour photos from her modelling days, and was all jokes. Colin was furious.

There was a horizontal shot that showed Bamber and Colin stand, facing each other, on opposite sides of the living room, divided the wall. It was an apt visual metaphor.

Paul Hirons







REVIEW: Deadwater Fell (S1 E3/4)

Up until this point, the guilt or not of Tom (David Tennant) had been in question, but at the end of episode two, it seemed likely that he was the person who was behind the deaths of his wife and three children.

In episode three, the drama lifted the lid on the terrifying homelife of Tom and Kate before the fire. And these flashbacks certainly served to make Tom the villain of the piece in our eyes.

The way he coldly manipulated Kate, and administered coercive control over her was breathtakingly callous. He had sex with her, asked her if she came afterwards. When she refused an answer, he told her that Jess had orgasmed when he ‘had fucked her’ it was an unbelievable moment, the cruellest post-coital put-down. Imagine: you’re anxious and depressed, know that you’re married to a brute, and already feel humiliated and worthless because you can’t orgasm during sex. Then add to the fact that your husband – perfect in so many people’s eyes – drops the bombshell that he had not only slept with your best friend, but he satisfied her, too.

How cruel.

And yet, this was nothing new to Kate. She asked him the next morning – when Tom was acting as if it was business as usual – why it had to be her friend… again.

This wasn’t the first time this had happened.

There was another example of his awfulness. Tom and Kate had his mother over for dinner, the night after he dropped his bombshell. His mother wanted some more food because it was delicious. Tom had been leading the conversation because Kate was quiet, off her food. Lynn had noticed.

They bickered slightly over who should get Lynn more food, and Tom snapped at Kate. He didn’t shout or scream, he just bore his eyes into her and quietly snarled, “Fucking get the food”. It was such a flip in mood, such an unexpected outburst, you were suddenly wondering what he could be capable of…

Elsewhere, Steve was having a hard time processing Jess’s own bombshell from the previous episode. He was drinking – a lot – and cracking onto his boss, Sandra. he also had the opportunity to interview Tom during the investigation, and properly laid into him.

Tom’s arrest, you may remember, was due to the testimony of a youth from the village – a drinker and smoker, a lad who came from a broken home – and therein lay a problem: it was revealed that Steve had coerced the lad into giving a false witness statement. Now the investigation was in peril, Steve’s career was in tatters and the last we saw of him he was standing on the each of a cliff contemplating his own mortality.

It was a neat twist to make the good guy do a bad thing, which added a layer to the ‘perfect man being not very perfect’ storyline of Tom. And that’s the point of Deadwater Fell – the things that happen behind the curtains, and bubble under the surface. The fact that this is a bona fide whodunit, make this addicted viewing as well as shining a light on domestic abuse of a kind that doesn’t leave physical scars; it’s the kind that wears someone down, destroys their confidence and self-esteem and makes someone tread on eggshells.

So this is the question we’re all asking heading into the final episode: is Tom, a manipulator, a psycho-sexual abuser, a philanderer, also a murderer. Because you can be a spousal abuser and a horrid person, and not be a murderer.

We’ll soon see.

Paul Hirons



Icelandic crime drama Sisterhood coming in 2021

Stand by for a new Icelandic crime drama in 2021.

Sisterhood begins with the skeletal remains of a young girl, Hanna, who disappeared 20 years ago, being unearthed in a picturesque fjord town in Iceland. Vera, a newly-promoted investigator is assigned to the case and delves deeper into it than anyone expects. Her peers consider Hanna’s case to be open and shut, especially as the girl’s mother was the prime suspect at the time, and has spent most of the intervening decades in state institutions as a result. But, the discovery of the remains and the renewed investigation rattles a small group of women, now in their thirties, who one fateful night killed the young girl in a fit of manic rage, and have had to live with their guilty secret ever since.

The series, Variety reports, is produced by Sagafilm and Sky Studios for broadcast on Viaplay across the Nordic territories, Síminn in Iceland and as yet unnamed UK broadcaster.

Sagafilm is also rolling out Signals, a nine-part series penned by Margrét Örnófsdóttir and Johann Aevar Grímsson, as well as Óskar Jónasson and poet/lyricist Sjón.

The series follows police officer Magnea as she investigates a series of terrorist acts and cyber-attacks from an unknown extremist group. At the same time, her girlfriend, journalist Salka is digging into the same story but in a different way and both cannot compare their information nor discuss the case. Their daily life becomes difficult while the country is on the brink of collapse.

REVIEW: The Outsider (S1 E3&4/10)


The Outsider had continued to impress these past few weeks, as it seeks to lure us ever further into its murky web of dark intrigue. Ostensibly a glacially-paced police procedural on the surface, it’s been wisely coy with how it works in the core chills from Stephen King’s source material, whilst successfully building an overwhelming aura of creeping dread that permeates the narrative like a deadly virus – resulting in something that has become eminently watchable.

If it’s initial two episodes were wrapped up in Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) trying to untangle the frankly bizarre circumstances around Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) and his subsequent death, then these following episodes were given over to his proxy investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo in incredible form). Fans of King and Mr Mercedes will recognise the character from the STARZ series as played by Justine Lupe, but here Erivo delivers arguably the more nuanced performance as the savant-like private detective with almost mystical abilities, and is a pleasure to watch in the role.

With the Maitland case winding down and the majority of the victim’s family now dead through suicide or illness, Anderson joins forces with Glory Maitland’s attorney Howard Salomon in a bid to clear Terry’s name (and by extraction, assuage Ralph’s own guilt). The core mystery around how Terry came to be in two places at the same time stems back to a family vacation in Dayton, Ohio where the van used in the subsequent child murder was originally found. Salomon recommends Gibney as the best tracker in the country for this kind of work, and so we follow her path re-tracing Terry’s steps on that fateful holiday which seems to be the origin point for all this madness.

It’s not long before Gibney is able to place Terry in his father’s retirement home the day he had an accident with nurse Heath Hofstadter (Martin Bats Bradford doing great work in the few scenes he has these two episodes to round out his character), who it later transpires was arrested for a double child murder in remarkably similar circumstances to Terry – with a wealth of evidence placing him at the scene despite being miles away visiting his mother on the day in question. Unfortunately for Holly, Heath isn’t available for interview – having killed himself in a bid to prevent being murdered by his fellow inmates. This seems to be a dead-end until she is able to trace Heath’s movements back to a prior holiday in New York, where he had been in contact (or so he thought…) with a young woman called Maria Caneles – who wouldn’t you know it, is currently serving a life term for killing a child despite video evidence of her being miles away at the time of the murder.

The Outsider has gone to great lengths to obfuscate the obvious supernatural element to the show, and whilst we get a little exposition around the nature of what our characters are facing toward the end of episode four, the show-runners have been very sensible to keep it’s “big bad” at bay, using our imaginations to fill in the blanks as any good horror or suspense film should. Whilst it’s becoming more apparent there are dark forces here at play beyond our investigators’ understanding, the heavy lifting around this is largely done with the actors themselves in portraying the chain of “dopplegangers” with a chilling effectiveness (Diany Rodriguez as Maria is especially captivating here displaying a sort of alien indifference as Heath clumsily romances her over breakfast). It brings to mind the grim paranoia of Philip Kaufman’s remake of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, with that deeply unsettling feeling of loved ones behaving in a sinister fashion for unknowable ends.

The show is a very slow burn, which might turn some viewers off – but that languid pace fits its core material perfectly. This isn’t the kind of criminal case which will end with any kind of traditional sense of justice – and whilst it’s narrative is currently taking us around the country as the pieces of its puzzle slowly cohere, it’s clear that the story is bent on returning to end with Glory and her children, and maybe some form of redemption for Ralph along the way. This seems to be signposted both in the fairy tale aspect of “The Grief Eater” returning to “digest” the remaining tragedy of his victims’ families, as well as Ralph’s fellow detective Jack Hoskins preparing for something deep in the woods at the behest of an invisible malevolence. What shape these stories might take is what holds your attention – and with six episodes left on the slate, hopefully The Outsider can stick the landing.

Andy D

The Outsider is currently showing on Sky Atlantic



BBC One confirms transmission date for Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse

Mark this down as another winner from screenwriter Sarah Phelps (yes, we’ve seen the first episode).

Phelps’ next Agatha Christie adaptation is a two-part series of The Pale Horse, originally released in 1961.

And now we know when it’s going to be broadcast.

The Pale Horsefollows Mark Easterbrook, who, after a mysterious list of names is found in the shoe of a dead woman, begins an investigation into how and why his name came to be there. He is drawn to The Pale Horse, the home of a trio of rumoured witches in the tiny village of Much Deeping. Word has it that the witches can do away with wealthy relatives using the dark arts alone, but as the bodies mount up Mark is certain there has to be a rational explanation. And who could possibly want him dead?

The Pale Horse: Sunday 9th February, 9pm, BBC One

True Detective pair reunite for Redeemer

Nic Pizzolatto and Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey are reuniting for a new series.

The writer and actor pair forged a winning team in the first series of True Detective, and now they’re back together, working on a series called Redeemer for the FX channel in the US.

Deadline reports that the series is: “Created by Pizzolatto and inspired by Patrick Coleman’s debut novel The ChurchgoerRedeemer stars McConaughey as a minister-turned-dissolute security guard whose search for a missing woman in Texas leads him through a corruption-steeped criminal conspiracy, as his past and present impact and entwine around a mystery of escalating violence and deceit.”

It has been picked up for a pilot order.

It’s not clear what this means for True Detective, although the same article did say that HBO – the show’s home network – was ‘open’ to changes in the creative team going forward.


ITV releases first trailer for series seven of Endeavour

Stand-by… series seven of Endeavour is just around the corner, and now we’ve got our first look.

ITV has released a trailer from the series, which starts in early February.

Series seven is set in the 1970s and the new episodes finds the team reunited at Castle Gate CID, with Chief Superintendent Bright back in charge. However, the events of the past year have left their mark, and the new series will see old friendships challenged and new relationships blossom. In the dawn of women’s liberation, social progression and scientific growth, the 1970s begin for Oxford’s finest with the discovery of a body at the canal towpath on New Year’s Day. With the only clue in the investigation a witness who heard whistling on the night of the crime, the team have their work cut out to uncover their culprit. This season will test Endeavour’s moral compass to breaking point, both personally and professionally.

And the good news? No moustache in this series.

Stand by for transmission date news.