REVIEW: Wisting (S1 E7&8/10)

So far, Wisting has been a big ‘ole bag full of contradictions. On the one hand we have a perfectly solid Scandi Noir, propelled by procedural fun and games, often with two investigations in play simultaneously; one by William Wisting himself and the other by his daughter, journalist Line.

Which is fine. I like that dual investigation approach, and it’s obviously a template that creator Jørn Lier Horst, whose novels this series is based on, also favours heavily.

On the other hand, Wisting has been a bit all over the place in terms of the cases themselves, sometimes confoundingly so.

The first five episodes were given over to one story, and this next five episodes – of which we saw the first last week – presents another.

They do have connective threads, though, and throughout these next two episodes, we saw the development of the Haglund case that Wisting was trying to comes to terms with and clear his name over, and the murder case Line was working in Oslo.

However, a third case emerged in these two episodes.

The young woman who came into the police station in the first story complaining of a stalker – lifestyle blogger Linnea Kaupang – and who had been almost laughed out of his office by Benjamin (not his finest moment it has to be said) went missing. All this was happening as Wisting was now officially suspended and Torunn put in charge.

With her parents naturally frantic and angry with Benjamin, it was down to him to feel the burn of guilt and try to put things right by finding her. Things didn’t look good though – Linnea had posted something on her Instagram account from a lake and said captioned the image that read like a suicide note. When they got to the lake, they found her mobile phone in the water and her neatly folded-up jumper in a boat.

Her parents noted that she was a messy teen and not one for folding things up. This was too neat a crime scene for her daughter to have committed suicide and they suspected foul play. (Although the question has to be asked, aren’t all teenagers messy?)

With Torunn having to go off to the hospital to get some eggs removed (I do like Torunn, she feels like a good, fully-rounded character), no one was really running the case. (It seemed Torunn was attempting to have her highly personal procedure in secret… why didn’t she just tell her superiors and book time off beforehand?) It didn’t take long for Linnea’s parents to find Wisting – now decamped to his summer cabin on the shoreline – to plead for his help.

He refused, of course, but what they didn’t know was that he had already been thinking about it.

In the cabin (I want to own a cabin like that someday, I’ve decided), he had set up a mobile incident room, with the case notes from the evidently flawed and corrupt Cecilia Linde investigation he had lifted from the station on his way out. Cecilia’s case – which was giving him more and more food for thought, especially Nils’s involvement – bore resemblances to Linnea’s. Could the fact that another young, blonde teen going missing in the same town have coincided with Haglund now being back in the community after his release from jail? Certainly, arch-conspiracist theorist Mad Franck thought so, and Wisting was beginning to think so too. But something smelled fishy about the Haglund conviction, and Wisting was also beginning to think that someone in his team (or some people) might have acted unlawfully.

And then there was Line’s strand: her investigation had brought her back to Larvik (now surely becoming the Norwegian equivalent of Midsomer). But her reporting the Oslo murder felt like it was sidelined a bit in these two episodes in favour of her hooking up with an old flame.

And perhaps there’s the problem with this story: it’s trying to spin too many plates all at once. In many ways, the Linnea story is the most interesting because it’s a straight-ahead procedural journey, and I’m pretty sure all stories will come together and connect in the final two episodes next week, but at this moment it’s lurching from one to other and, in Line’s case, not very satisfactorily (even though I like Line as a character).

With Torunn now back in the hospital, I do wonder if Wisting, suspension and all, will be called back in to help and finish the case. Is this the way he restores his reputation? And will Haglund’s tantalising piece of information on how to find out who visited him in jail and, therefore, tampered with the evidence be something that Wisting acts on?

We’ll soon see.

Paul Hirons