REVIEW The Hunt For A Killer (S1 E5&6/6)

Swedish crime drama The Hunt For A Killer has, as we’ve said before, has been an engrossing, interesting and, furthermore, a fresh look at the crime drama genre.

At the end of episode four, Monica Olhed had received a tip from woman about a former work colleague Ulf Olsson. The woman had made the initial tip-off in the chaos of the original investigation. It had either not been logged properly or dismissed. Olsson had owned a Volvo. Olsson also had a dog, one that he destroyed immediately after the Helén Nilsson murder. Olsson had also displayed worryingly aggressive behaviour towards women.

Elsewhere, Per-Åke Åkesson had broken the rules to send off some evidence to the forensics lab in Birmingham, England. Naturally, when his superiors found out they were furious and the ice he was skating on got a hell of a lot thinner.

When it comes to final episodes, I’m always interested when the killer is revealed and how he or she is done so. In this final double-bill, the killer – Ulf Olsson – was revealed early on in episode five. We had, of course, seen him in shadows throughout the series, but the reveal saw the camera make a very deliberate movement – from his back all the way around to his front. As befitting The Hunt For A Killer, Olsson was eating his dinner as he watched the news when we finally saw his place.

Devastating mundanity.

As Monica made more enquiries into Olsson, she became convinced he was the man they were looking for.

Per-Åke, meanwhile, had another bureaucratic nightmare to deal with – the labd results from Birmingham had come back with a positive DNA profile, but he had burned so much of the budget on the tests, the new chief (who was on his side) gave the team until Midsummar to process all the suspects.

The beauty of these two episodes was the subtle tightening of the screw and the tension. Suspects were swabbed, information was gathered… and there was a match on Olsson.

The next step was to get a confession out of him, which proved to be difficult. A disturbed alcoholic who had been abused all his life, he maintained he did not commit the murders of Helén Nilsson and sex worker Jannica Ekblad. With a deadline in front of them – and us – the tension rose, until a variety of modern forensic techniques revealed Jannica’s blood in Olsson’s cabin, and prints on a mobile sim card he had used to telephone Per-Åke Åkesson (but the wrong Per-Åke Åkesson by mistake).

It was engrossing, addictive almost, and the interview scenes with Monica and Olsson retained the intimacy the series will be remembered for.

I have to say I loved the series, and this is someone who has problems with adaptations of true crime stories (see every review I’ve ever written on a true crime adaptation). It eliminated the sensational and focused on the mundanities of real police life – the bureaucracy, the changing times and cultures inside the force and the dead ends and elapses of time real police work often encounters.

So The Hunt For A Killer wasn’t flash. It was low-key, sombre, mundane and felt very authentic. And, crucially, it gave the victims of murders a personality and treated them with respect, which is important in true-crime adaptations. I also found the structure interesting and well done – it moved through time, decade after decade, again in a non-sensationalist way. As the technology and the people and faces changed (the period detail in the production design was excellent, by the way), I became aware The Hunt For A Killer didn’t want to hit the same kind of beats other crime dramas hit. It deliberately set out to tell this story in a different way.

Quietly subversive, this one.

Paul Hirons

Episode rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Series rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.



Craith: Series three transmission date confirmed by S4C

Another series that’s coming back – and one we can’t wait to watch – is Craith (Hidden).

The landmark Welsh series, that infiltrates the mind and soul like no other, premieres on S4C on Sunday, 10th October. The third and final series consists of six weekly episodes.

Sian Reese-Williams, who plays the lead character DCI Cadi John, said:

“In the first two seasons we ask, is someone born evil or does having bad things happen to them, make them do bad things? In this series, that theme is even stronger. It’s an emotional roller coaster.”

The drama takes us back to the shadows of the bleak slate-strewn mountains of Snowdonia.

Filmed back to back in Welsh and English, the Welsh language version, Craith, is produced for S4C, while Hidden is produced for BBC Wales in English.

This time around, DCI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) and DS Owen Vaughan (Siôn Alun Davies) will be called to investigate when a local farmer’s body is found in a stream.

And, of course, it will remain true to the original format of asking ‘whydunnit’ rather than ‘who’ committed the cruel and violent crime.

Viewers across the UK will have the opportunity to watch Craith on BBC iPlayer, before Hidden airs on BBC One Wales in 2022.

Series one and two of Craith will be available on S4C Clic as a Box Set from Wednesday 22 September, to give viewers the chance to catch up with Cadi and her partner DS Vaughan’s story from the beginning.


NORDIC NOIR Stella Blómkvist season two transmission date confirmed

Icelandic thriller Stella Blómkvist is coming back for a second series.

The show, starring Heida Reed, features quick-witted lawyer Stella Blómkvist.

Stella Blómkvist is not your typical lawyer. Smart and ruthless, with a dark past, a fluid sexuality and a taste for whiskey, Stella takes on cases that always lead to danger and only loves rules when she’s breaking them or using them to break those who oppose her. Her moral flexibility and sympathy for the underdog ensure that she is always the right person in the wrong place at the worst possible time!

We don’t know the plot for series two, but once again it’ll be shown on outlets like Viaplay, DR and Síminn across the Nordic territories. And we still not sure where it will be shown in the UK.

More news as we get it.