REVIEW Beck (S8 E3/4)

As Beck undergoes medical examination after collapsing, his team forges on without him – but dissension in the ranks and political interference threaten to derail the investigation of a murder. 

Last week, Martin Beck had a funny turn on his balcony, and we’re not talking about barmy neighbour Grannen. So what’s the matter, and how will his illness affect the performance of his team? 

Well, as to the performance, they hardly seem to notice his absence; in fact, even his icy daughter doesn’t get very emotional when Martin goes for an MRI scan and is diagnosed with a deep brain tumour.

The only one who gets a bit sobby is Martin himself, and that seems to be largely because he doesn’t want to be off work. It’s all kicking off in the office when a political activist, Hanoush, is stabbed to death outside a hotel. He was meeting with two colleagues, Sana, and Majid, a former colleague of Alex’s in Syria (and a bit more, we suspect). Alex, still covered in the dead man’s blood, brings in the suspects, and Josef takes an instant and irrational dislike to Majid – is it just because they both have a thing for Alex?

In fact, his suspicions are so strong that he has both Sana and Majid tailed, without informing Alex, who has a huge paddy when she finds out. 

This conflict between Josef and Alex is unconvincing – if they got along so badly, they wouldn’t be able to work on the same team. In fact, Josef’s digging does come up with a suspect, Navid, a diplomat from the Libyan embassy whose sharp suits and smooth personality mark him as a baddie from the word go. 

While Alex is clearly compromised by her previous relationship with Majid, who she later meets in his hotel, the evidence points towards the Syrians when Sana goes missing – but was she seen getting on a train, or was this a deception? In the end, as we suspected, the murder of Hanoush, and the subsequent killing of Sana, were both to cover up not a political conspiracy, but an affair between Amir Navid and the wife of a Swedish diplomat.

Though Navid is covered by diplomatic immunity, Josef is so incensed by the thought of him getting away with double murder that he ‘accidentally’ runs him over to prevent him fleeing the country, ensuring that his ruthless bosses deal with him in their own charming way. 

There’s a lot going on in this episode, what with Martin’s illness, some revelations from Alex’s past, a political element in the involvement of NGOs, foreign diplomats and Swedish intelligence service SAPO, topical parallels (such as the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul), and Josef’s continuing flouting of the rules. 

Josef and Oskar get to fight a Syrian heavy, slimy Klas Freden makes a bid for promotion, Grannen tells a seemingly irrelevant anecdote about ice hockey, and Martin comes up with a rather more pointed one about the futility of trying to evade death. 

And Martin’s operation?

Well, he tells everyone that it’s a complete success and that he’ll be at work soon – but he keeps secret the fact that they couldn’t get all of the tumour. We expect he’ll be back at work next week – and with no sign of an operation scar – but will he be back to normal?

In fact, can the series ever get back to normal, with the clear implication that Beck himself can’t last for ever? A sound episode with a satisfying conclusion, if some bumps along the way – but it brings home the message that in the end we can’t escape the inevitable. 

Chris Jenkins

Rating: 4 out of 5.



6 Comments Add yours

  1. mnemosene says:

    Small point: Grannen is Swedish for ‘the neighbour ‘; it’s not his name.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Charlotte Carling says:

      His name is Valdemar, although that has only ever been mentioned once so far in the 40 odd films.


  2. eurocelt says:

    best episode of the current series so far.


  3. Valda says:

    Maybe they could do a Taggart, and carry on without Beck? He is rather sidelined now. No one can replace Gunvald, but Josef could go a few more episodes.


  4. Kate says:

    Given how volatile Josef is, and easily roused to anger and flouting rules, I find it hard to believe he would have been trusted to work undercover in a violent drugs set up, as in episode 1 of this season.


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