Swedish crime drama fans are getting a Christmas Day treat this year – a brand new Beck film will premiere on 25th December itself on C More.
The Death Trap tells the story of Vilhelm Beck – Martin’s grandson – a police officer and on his first internship in the real world.
He and his supervisor Trine (Maria Sundbom Lörelius) are routinely called to a burglary. At the crime scene, Vilhelm is the one who discovers a dead 17-year-old boy and the mission goes directly to the Beck group.
Vilhelm feels deeply affected by the situation. He wants to contribute to the investigation more than what his supervisor says is ok, which leads to unforeseen consequences. The dead boy’s father is distraught and has no idea what his son may have been involved in. Martin Beck (Peter Haber) wants to be involved in the case, but Vilhelm asks his grandfather to take a step back.
Alex (Jennie Silfverhjelm) is also committed to Vilhelm and wants to support him. Jenny (Anna Asp) is a new mother and struggles with both her relationship and parental role. Both Martin and Oskar (Måns Nathanaelson) want to do everything to support her when she makes a fatal mistake that turns out to have really serious consequences.
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.
Martin Beck and his team do a Jack Bauer in this tense siege drama, acted out in real time. Will morning TV turn into a bloodbath, and if so, will it be good for the ratings?
Alex is appearing on a morning TV chat show together with a businessman, Tormalm (Dag Malmberg), whose charity enterprises, we are led to believe, conceal shady if not criminal business practices.
When a security guard, Peter (Joakim Natterqvist), pulls a gun and locks down the studio, Tormalm escapes. Peter gives the cops just 58 minutes to return him – but what’s his beef with Tormalm, and why the time limit? The clock ticks down, 24-style, though we’re not sure that anyone is particularly keeping track of whether the events unfold in real time or not.
As their obnoxious boss Klas Fredén points out, this isn’t a case for the Beck Group, as there hasn’t been a homicide – but it looks like there might be, and Alex is involved, so Beck ignores his boss, and assigns the team to dig into the background of the hostage taker and Tormalm. (Martin and his team defy their boss so often that in reality they would all be on suspension for ever, and lose their pensions every week).
The on-site tactical officer seems quite happy to take guidance from old hound Martin, but tensions and temperatures in the studio rise and the softie presenters and crew start to lose their cool. Alex tries to keep everyone calm, but as the old ‘snipers in the air ducts’ plan unfolds, shots are fired and blood is spilled.
Josef goes rogue in an attempt to get Tormalm to return to the studio, against the wishes of his shrewish wife Helen (Ingela Lund, for some reason playing the part as English). Tormalm finally complies, though this touch of conscience doesn’t seem to mark any real change of heart.
Jenny and Oskar, meanwhile, unravel the hostage taker’s motivation – his diabetic daughter has been kidnapped to force him into his acts. But who’s behind it? Not a red herring political activist, it turns out, but a cleaner in the studio whose family were killed when one of Tormalm’s shoddy buildings collapsed. Alex tries to talk her down, but with studio security breached, the tactical squad arrives and the cleaner is tragically gunned down.
The ‘reluctant hostage taker’ plot seems a bit familiar – surely it’s the story of The Man Who Knew Too Much, or something with Nicolas Cage – but here it unfolds with some originality.
You would have thought, though, with all this tragedy and unnecessary suffering on show, there would be no time for comic relief – but no, we have to endure Oskar’s excruciating offer to lend Jenny and her girlfriend some of his sperm, and a bizarre closing anecdote from Martin’s neighbour Grannen. If looked at in the proper way, Grannen’s homily might sum up the moral of the tale – ‘a good man is one who shares his sausages with others’. But to be honest, we could have done without it, in what otherwise would have been a particularly gritty, moving and politically insightful offering from Beck.
Now that Martin Beck has an allotment, can we expect him to come into the office offering his colleagues a look at his massive marrow, or the pick of his aubergines? Seemingly not – as his daughter says, you can take Martin out of the police, but you can’t take the police out of Martin.
He’s fascinated by two complex cases that turn out to be connected. A goldsmith has died of a heart attack while his workshop was being robbed, and the police have bungled the investigation. Josef foolishly gets involved in the case, as the victim’s daughter was an old flame, and soon he’s tracking down the burglar while getting into Cissi’s bed.
In another case, an antiques dealer is found dead in a forest – his partner suggests gangsters wanted to buy the business. But his story doesn’t quite add up.
As Martin doesn’t seem to do any gardening – his allotment seems to be used only for al fresco dining – he’s happy to get involved in the two cases, which turn out to be connected by the same hit-man, a failed share-dealer who is found dead at the scene of one of his hits. His victim, the goldsmith’s cleaner, seems to have been responsible for the burglary – so who paid to have her killed? Could it have been Cissi, or was it her unstable sister?
Josef should certainly have learned the lesson not to mix business with pleasure, particularly when he has previous chewed out Alex for doing the same thing, as she points out. But, having spectacularly messed up with Cissi, he has the consolation of Alex comforting him. (Hopeless Oskar seems to have given up on finding love, a relief to every woman living in Stockholm.).
When the hitman’s employer turns out to be Cissi’s sister, but she is also found dead, another suspect is identified by CCTV – the cleaner’s father. Since he’s been quoting Robert McCall from Equalizer 2 on the subject of revenge and murder, that one should have been easy to spot.
The climax comes in Cissi’s place of work, an adventure room, where she takes out her tormentor using night vision goggles, in a scene reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs. The antique dealer’s killing was paid for by his own partner – as shown by money transfers from his bank account. Aren’t hitmen always paid in cash, though?
Not as action-packed as last week’s episode, but satisfyingly twisty-turny, this episode maintains the standard, and gives us a bit more insight into why Josef is so shouty and furniture-smashy; he had an abusive childhood, and his older brother, who he visits in jail, killed their father. That would be enough to make anyone a bit twitchy.
As Martin’s eccentric neighbour Grannen sings in a final barbecue scene on the allotment (and since when does Grannen come out of his apartment? We don’t think we’ve ever seen him in the open air before), don’t try to swap pants with someone when you don’t have any pants to swap. A lesson that Josef could certainly do with learning.
Beck is back! That was by no means a foregone conclusion, as the last time we saw the gloomy Swedish police chief, Martin Beck (Peter Haber) he was being wheeled into an operating theatre, with a slim chance of surviving an operation on a brain tumour. But Haber’s contract negotiations must have gone well, because here is Beck again, his usual doleful self, though he tells his team that he’s grateful for this second chance at life.
As before though, Beck tends to take a back seat in investigations (Peter Haber is now 70), with the legwork and action scenes going to the rather more youthful Alex Beijer (Jennie Silfverhjelm) and new boy Josef Eriksson (Martin Wallström), who is referred to as the team’s “John McClane” in a nice little Die Hard reference.
But another welcome return comes in the form of ginger giant Kristofer Hivju as Steinar Hovland, who had returned to Norway after being shot at the end of the last series. Again, contract negotiations must have gone well, as Hovland is called in to help with the case of a Danish criminal found dead in a river, and decides to stay on as his family has conveniently decamped to Mozambique.
Also returning are Anna Asp as the efficient Jenny Bodén, and Måns Nathanaelson as comedy cop Oskar Bergman. Oskar’s main contribution to this episode is a little sub-plot about a disastrous online date.
Finally, Ingvar Hirdwall (now 87) returns as Grannen, Beck’s eccentric neighbour, serving again as comic relief with an anecdote about a psychedelic experience up the Amazon, which leaves Beck as baffled as usual.
As for the case itself, it’s a particularly action-packed one, with car chases, shoot-outs and daring rescues. A gangster is shot dead, but was it just for the suitcase of money he was carrying? His body is found in a river near a suspicious warehouse – but we know the young punks who operate it didn’t do the killing, as we’ve seen that take place in a forest near a health spa. A ruthless assassin from a Danish crime ring is sent to get revenge for the killing and to recover the money – all he has to do is follow the police as they close in on the killer.
Josef and Alex have a little moment as he reminds her of their dalliance in the last season – will this flare up again?
Steinar has a testosterone-fuelled confrontation with an imprisoned crimelord who we sense we might meet again, and Alex questions a suspicious farmer on whose land the killing took place.
There’s a tense stand-off when the assassin closes in on the farm, and it turns out that the killer was his ex-wife, an informant now living under a new identity. Steinar and Josef ride to the rescue in a helicopter (a bit implausibly, as they seem to have done the flight in the time it took the assassin to walk from his car to the farmhouse’s front door).
The case concluded, Beck’s daughter Inger presents him with an allotment; the ‘shed’ is almost palatial, so allotments in Stockholm must be a bit fancier than they are in this country. Is digging up potatoes actually how Beck actually wants to spend his twilight years? We think he’d actually appreciate more juicy murder cases like this one.
The English title of this episode, Haunted by the Past, misses the double meaning of the Swedish title Ett Nytt Liv, or A New Life – both for Beck, and for the informant-turned-killer.
On the evidence of this episode though, this short series of four may mark a return to form for Beck. There’s a suggestion that he might have a successor too, as his grandson Vilhelm is now a police cadet. There’s a little joke about him having changed – in fact, this is a new actor in the part, Valter Skarsgård, and yes, he is from the acting dynasty which includes Stellan and Alexander. Helmon Solomon plays his girlfriend Rebecka Kullgren, also a police cadet and a fangirl of Martin Beck’s – will she feature in later series?
So, a new life for Beck – we’re glad to see him back, and as miserable as ever.
Beck is on its way back to BBC Four with a new series.
The four-episode series starts in early May with the episode Haunted By The Past.
The episode – Ett nytt liv in its native Swedish – aired in Sweden on Christmas Day 2021, but now, finally, comes to the UK.
The story goes something like this: after a period of rehabilitation, Martin Beck is back on duty. He and the rest of the group are thrown into a case where the body of a notorious Danish professional criminal is found in the water at Liljeholmen.
The Swedish procedural series – based on the Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö novels – is back for more. Specifically, C More.
The streaming service has announced four new Beck films, numbers 47-50, have started production.
Beck, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, continues to be a heavy hitter for its Swedish channels C More and TV4, as well as BBC Four in the UK.
In the upcoming films, Martin Beck (Peter Haber) wrestles not only with increasingly challenging murder cases but also internal strife. At the same time, he is affected on a more personal level when his grandson Vilhelm Beck (Valter Skarsgård) ends up in the middle of the action.
We haven’t had the new Beck films in the UK yet, but they’ll surely be coming.
In Sweden, host service C More is now onto the next one, which will be broadcast on Friday 18th February.
Here’s a trailer for ’58 Minuter’.
Alex Beijer is on morning TV along with the entrepreneur Tomas Tormalm. But in the middle of a live broadcast, an armed man appears and threatens Tormalm and suddenly everyone in the TV studio is drawn into a hostage drama. For the Beck group, it’s a fight against the clock.
We know that the first of the new Beck films will be released on Christmas Day in Sweden. Now we have a trailer.
In the new episode – entitled Ett nytt liv – a new life a corpse is found floating in the water near Liljeholmen in Stockholm. The body turns out to be a 39-year-old Dane who was a member of a Danish drug gang with competitors in Sweden.
The world is getting a brand-new film from Beck, and it’s set to premiere in Sweden on Christmas Day.
Beck – A New Life will be the first of four new films.
Swedish broadcaster C More says: “This season, the Beck group is facing more complex cases and also major private challenges.”
A body is found floating in the water near Liljeholmen. The body belongs to a 39-year-old Danish citizen with a solid criminal record and a member of a notorious Danish drug gang. When his car is found near suspicious premises, Alex and Josef start guarding it.
The Danish gang has weakened for several years after a major intervention and when many high-ranking officials went to prison. Maybe the Swedes are ready to take over now? Should Martin and his team prepare for a gang war? The league’s leader is in Swedish prison and the only one he wants to talk to is Steinar.
Valter Skarsgård plays Martin’s grandson, Vilhelm in A New Life. Skarsgård says: “To Mother Inger’s horror, Vilhelm follows in his grandfather’s footsteps and has started at the Police Academy, but Martin Beck is proud,”