REVIEW Beck (S8 E4/4)

When the passengers on a bus are massacred, Beck faces one of his most harrowing cases – but does the key to the crime lie closer to home than he imagines?

This has been a rattling good season, and The Crying Cop ends it in style. The action starts with an anti-police riot after a young boy is accidentally shot by cops – a firebomb is thrown and two riot squad officers are injured. Smarmy Klas Fredén goes on TV to justify the police action – but there’s a horrific sequel when a busload of passengers is machine-gunned. Were police cadets the target? Martin Beck’s grandson Vilhelm narrowly escapes being on the bus.

Ulf Kvant (Joakim Sällquist) and Ellinor Kristiansson (Elina Du Rietz), the two incompetent cops who were first on the scene, are well known to Beck, and their patchy report seems to be hiding something. They say that two men on a motorbike fled the scene, but a witness claims that he didn’t hear a motorbike, and his dog didn’t bark – shades of Sherlock Holmes’ curious case of the dog in the night-time.

Ballistics reports from the scene confirm what we suspected – some of the ammunition used was police issue.  

Beck questions old activist Börje Järnlund (Jakob Eklund) about possible motives, and is told that video evidence from the anti-police riot has gone missing – could this contain a motive for the massacre?

Jenny questions a colleague of one of the victims, and has a fling with her – will this put an end to her relationship with her girlfriend? Oskarr’s main concern seems to be whether this means his sperm donation has been wasted.

Alex closes in on Klas Fredén, who she suspects of concealing the video evidence – in fact this shows that the petrol bomb thrower was incompetent cop Kvant, presumably acting on Fredén’s orders to stir up trouble.

When an incandescent Beck has Kvant and Kristiansson suspended, Kvant goes rogue, and we discover that he massacred the bus passengers to silence a police witness. Tying up Kristiansson and heading for the funeral of the victim of the police shooting with his machine gun, Kvant is fired up with resentment over Beck and Fredén’s career success.

Now, if Klas Fredén were to take a bullet, few tears would be shed, but it’s Beck who seems to be in Kvant’s sights – only for him to be overpowered by Börje Järnlund. What he was doing wandering about in the bushes isn’t explained, presumably going for a pee.

In a final scene, we see Freden disposing of the video evidence of his crimes – he’s finally crossed the line from being merely insufferable to being criminally liable. Let’s hope he gets his comeuppance before too long. Kvant, after all, is still alive and able to finger him.

Martin’s faith in the force may be shaken, but grandson Vilhelm is made even more determined to be a good cop.

With Jenny’s girlfriend’s IVF treatment seemingly being successful, she will have to face up to parenthood, though with Viktor’s sperm in the mix, goodness knows what the result will be. Alex and Josef revive their affair, though we can’t see that one ending in domestic bliss.

Martin’s eccentric neighbour Grannen has a thankfully small contribution in this episode, limited to reassuring Beck that he is the friendly face of policing. Well, yes, friendly if miserable.

It’s a depressing episode, with all the needless death and suffering basically brought about by the police. Some reviewers have marked it down for ‘political correctness’, but they forget that Beck has always been a very political series. Kristiansson & Kvant might have made a good sitcom, were it not for the tragic conclusion.  

This has been a fast-moving and satisfying series, slightly tempered by the absence of ginger giant Kristofer Hivju as Steinar Hovland in the second half. Teasing us with appearances in episodes one and two then leaving him out for the rest of the series seems mean.

With Martin Beck considering leaving active service for a life as a tutor in the police college, we don’t know quite what to expect from the next series, which started shooting in February. We’d certainly like to see more of enigmatic technical expert Ayda Çetin (Elmira Arikan), who we’re sure must have a rich and fruity private life.

But with the momentum of this season behind it, we’ll be happy to sign on for another gloom-fest in Season Nine.

Chris Jenkins

Episode rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Series rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.




Beck is shown on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer in the UK

One Comment Add yours

  1. Elaine says:

    Overall a solid series, some good stories, strong characters, a chance to see all the team and even Oscar did a bit of police work in the final episode rather than just being the comic relief. And dodgy cops. Is there a police series that doesn’t now contain dodgy cops? But I did miss Steiner in the latter two episodes, and I still miss Gunvald, I find Josef annoying. A pleasing 7/10 for the series.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.