Category Archives: Dicte

REVIEW: Dicte – Crime Reporter (S3 E5/5)


During the past few months we’ve had to say goodbye to another famous Scandinavian lead character, and tonight we had to do the same. Dicte Svendsen may not be in the same league as Saga Norén when it comes to global affection, but the headstrong, impulsive crime reporter-cum-sleuth has a place in our hearts nonetheless – over three series Dicte has felt like a friend, someone you can have a drink and a laugh with, and someone you could genuinely care for. Unlike a Saga or a Sarah Lund, you felt that Dicte could be your mate.

But, saying all that, this final series has been a bit of a mess; its central mysteries often being outshone by more family dramas and shifting personal dynamics. Dicte and her husband Bo, her daughter Rose and her pregnancy, her ex-husband Torsten and partner Anna’s rocky marriage, and new characters Nina (above) – who’s battling the bottle – and her boss Tonni, a pretty loathsome character, have all been spinning and shifting while the crime element of the crime drama has often felt like an afterthought. Which is kind of fine because I enjoy watching these characters, but, y’know, this is a crime drama.

This final feature-length episode pushed the boat out even more. With so much to wrap up, the crime mystery wasn’t something external – it was a personal case that was interwoven into the fabric of the family drama. This was a clever approach – and made for a fitting end – and even provided some tense and creepy moments, but you still felt that with everything going in the personal lives of the ever-expanding main cast of characters, there was going to be a hell of a lot to fit in.

The main story revolved around Dicte and her relationship with her newly-found half-sister, Maj. Mentioned – almost fleetingly – at the end of the last episode by Dicte’s father, Christian, Maj had been described as a loose cannon and a manipulator. And so it turned out to be, or at least so it seemed. Dicte, as you would imagine, was super-keen to establish a relationship; single mother Maj wasn’t so keen and more or less instantly asked for 5,000KR so she could move away from the city. Someone set her pram alight, and she claimed that someone was harassing her. Dicte believed her sister, but Nina, who looked into Maj’s background, suggested otherwise – she had moved around a lot an almost everything she told Dicte was lies.

And this is she/isn’t she conundrum played out across the whole finale, almost up until the end. Maj had claimed that an ex-lover called Kenneth had been stalking her and following her wherever she went in Denmark. He claimed it was the opposite way around, but more digging by Dicte revealed that Kenneth had been implicated in the disappearance of another ex. When the threats to Maj and her son Hektor increased, ending in an episode of physical violence (and we actually saw Kenneth at the scene of one of these instances so there was no real whodunit to be had here) Dicte decided enough was enough. She went to visit Tonni, who brushed her off, so she went to confront Kenneth herself at his construction site. This ended in Dicte pushing him to his death from a high wall after a chase scene.

Not quite the end to Dicte I was expecting if I’m being honest and it was a lot to process – that our heroine, who always sought to do the right thing, ended up becoming a vigilante murderer. Dicte has always been a bit of a loose cannon herself and has never played by the rules. But this? Wow. I was expecting some sort of fall-out to this incident (and it would have been a very bold move if Nina had found out about it and arrested her, the series ending with Dicte in jail) but no – it went from this shocking scene straight into an almost comic sequence. It was never mentioned again.

Elsewhere, Anna and Torsten’s relationship went from bad to worse. He decided to move himself and the twins out to a commune in the country, and Anna had some sort of panic attack, which left her in hospital. At the same time, there was confusion over who the father of Rose’s child was – was it Mikkel or was it Baldur? It was clear that the drippy Icelander and Rose truly loved each other and they did sleep with each other without a condom around the same time Rose had slept with Mikkel. So the baby could be Baldur’s. Or it could still be Mikkel’s. See what I mean about family drama?

Rose’s waters broke and she was rushed into hospital, just as Baldur was leaving to go and catch a plane home.

A scene straight out of a farce ensued, and in places it was pretty funny: Torsten and Dicte waited nervously in the corridor and went from Anna’s room to Rose’s room, finally all four toasting the arrival of a new daughter and granddaughter.

Elsewhere, the Nina and Tonni thread also came to a head. Slimeball Tonni was blackmailing poor Nina, who had seriously fallen off the wagon and was guzzling vodka whenever she could – he told her that if she slept with him he would stay quiet about the booze. Like Dicte, she resorted to extreme measures to alleviate her situation: she secretly filmed her and Tonni in a steamy carpark session and turned the tables on him. He was soon heading back to Copenhagen with his tail between his legs.

Nina has been an interesting character, and a welcome addition to the series – I just wish she had been introduced earlier: it’s always difficult to introduce a major new character in the final series and they’ve just about pulled it off. Nina has been an intriguing, flawed woman who’s battling demons. Crime drama likes that kind of character, and I do wonder if ever there was a spin-off whether Nina would or could be the main focus. I’m quietly hoping for this because there’s definitely mileage in this character and you feel that her story is only just beginning.

One whose story is ending is Dicte. She ended the series by reconciling with Bo – no real surprise there – and driving off to the next stop on her journey, wherever that may be. For us, we were left to ponder the uneven nature of this final series, the jarring and ungainly tonal shifts, and the fact that Dicte was now a murderer. It was a strange way to end things.

Despite all these shortcomings, we’ll miss Dicte Svendson. Unlike her Scandi Noir contemporaries, she’s flawed but in believable, human ways. You can imagine hanging out with her and having a laugh, and you can imagine talking to her about life, love and universe long into the night. She would laugh and joke and perhaps cry. Dicte the series might not have hit the heights of, say, a Bridge, but Dicte as a character will be remembered very fondly.

Skål, Dicte, skål.

Paul Hirons







REVIEW: Dicte – Crime Reporter (S3 E4/5)

Blimey. This episode (originally two episodes in its native Denmark) had a bit of everything, except for much of a case. In fact, I’d argue that the central mystery was really almost a MacGuffin – something in the background but far from the most important thing.

This was an episode where Nina and Tonni’s relationship came to the fore, the two engaging in a war of sorts: Nina was desperate to get the recognition she deserved on her return to the major crime departments, while Tonni wanted her out and resorted to dirty tactics. These two seemed to be the central focus, and certainly, Nina has developed into a really interesting character. An ex-alcoholic and Wagner’s ex-wife, she was doing some good police work, but Tonni was being very territorial and playing a very sneaky game. After he expressed his reservations to The Boss in last week’s episode, he began flirting with Nina and asking her out. When she spurned him, he turned nasty. Whether this was his strategy all along or whether he felt rejected, who knows, but throughout the episode, the two were hammer and tongs.

As for Dicte, her whole family dynamic was shifting. Her and Bo were officially over (for now) – he told her that he needed to go travelling for a long time and resolve his issues. Now. Dicte. I felt for her (crime drama’s shortest marriage?) but I also wanted to give her a good talking to. Bo had come back from a hostage situation with probable PTSD and was carrying the guilt over the death of his friend, which he was kind of responsible for. Instead of listening and being patient, she expected everything to be back to normal as soon as they got home and got frustrated and angry when they weren’t. These myopic, head-strong impulses serve her well (and are part of the reason why we all love her) but equally they must be difficult to live with. And before you say anything, Bo hasn’t exactly covered himself in rosettes either – hitting Dicte was unforgivable and sleeping with his ex-wife wasn’t the brightest idea.

Isn’t it funny (peculiar) we’re discussing family relationships and the like in a Scandi Noir? Dicte is, it could be argued, the most human and relatable of the lot.

Dicte, under instruction from Anna, tried to go out and have some fun. She almost found it: in a drunken poker game with her boss Steffan, she almost had a threesome with him and his wife (yikes!). She was also being given a way out by her dad, who offered her a job at his shipping firm. With her enthusiasm and motivation for her investigative work waning, I wouldn’t be surprised if next week’s finale saw her walk away from full-time snooping and settling down into a life more ordinary.

Perhaps she needs it. Tonight we saw her get involved with a case involving a robbery at a fairground casino, and a nasty armed robbery syndicate. But really, it was Nina’s show tonight – unfortunately, she went back on the drink and saved the day, while drunk… Tonni’s eagle eye was watching.

With side stories involving a stressed Anna and a pregnant Rose finding to difficult to come to terms with her pregnancy, the case itself really did take a back seat. Whether that was a good or a bad thing, I’m not entirely sure.

Paul  Hirons



REVIEW: Dicte – Crime Reporter (S3 E1/5)

It’s not often that you find the main character in a so-called Nordic Noir get married in the first scenes of a new series. But this is Dicte, after all. Unlike her contemporaries, Dicte Svendsen (the excellent Iben Hjejle) is socially-adjusted, has friends, is funny, likes a smoke and a drink and is a bit headstrong. Yes, she’s had her turmoils over the years, but the Danish reporter-cum-crime-novelist is, essentially, someone you can relate to and imagine even hanging out with.

So the start of series three (two years old in its native Denmark) sees Dicte – complete with new, peroxide hair-do – marry her freelance-photographer lover, Bo Skytte (Dar Salim) in a ceremony that was all smiles and all fun. You couldn’t help but smile with them.

But this is Dicte and nothing ever goes quite that smoothly. A day after the wedding Bo goes off to the Middle East on a job, and is ram-raided and taken hostage by an unnamed group. They establish contact by Skyping Dicte herself, which immediately tells everyone involved that this lot is not IS or a politically-motivated group, but instead a group of mercenaries who just want money. The last time we saw Dar Salim it was in hostage drama Below The Surface, so it was strange to see him once again in captivity. He must be sick of hostage situations now.

We’ve seen plenty of the Middle East in crime dramas before, especially in Nordic and Scandi Noir, so it was no surprise to see that Dicte herself ended up there negotiating her new husband’s release herself (Dicte always steams into situations and lives by the motto: if you can’t do a job properly do it yourself).

Up until that moment, there was a frantic effort to raise the cash needed (eventually her smarmy, estranged father stumped up the cash), and plenty of those little Dicte extras: BFF Anne Skov Larsen was coming to terms with having twins (by Dicte’s ex-husband, Torsten, played by Lars Ranthe who we saw playing nasty Dan in The Bridge IIII), there was some exasperation at the changing nature of journalism, and Wagner was dealing with the return of his ex-wife Nina, who he hadn’t seen in seven years, and was trying not to get drawn into his colleague Linda Bendtsen’s relentless training for an Ironman competition. 

Wagner’s relationship with Dicte has always been the driving force of this series, and so it continued. Desperately wanting to help his friend against his best interests it has to be said, he acted as a negotiator and ending up travelling with her to Lebanon to hand over the money. In the end, his kindness got him a bullet in the gut, which was the only genuinely shocking moment in this under-par series opener.

It was great to see Dicte (and Wagner) back onscreen again, but, unlike, say, The Bridge or The Killing – where the detours to the Middle East are essential to the story and help to fill in the ‘second story’ – this detour felt a bit empty, by-the-numbers and something about nothing. It was like the scriptwriters sat down and said: how can we start the series off with something different and with a bang? I know, let’s send Dicte to the Middle East…

I find it hard to believe that Wagner will die in the desert – I may be wrong on this (I often am), but it would be a shame to see him go – and I’m looking forward to getting the regular Dicte back.

Paul Hirons





Review: Dicte (S2 E1/5), Friday 7th July, More4

The first series of Aarhus-set crime drama Dicte (starring the excellent Iben Hjejle) was, on the whole, pretty good – yes, it was a Nordic Noir yarn, but there was something different about it. Dicte was indeed flawed and headstrong, but she was also – and this is what set it apart from other, now, standard Nordic Noirs – sociable. She externalised, she got involved in messy relationships and she shared bottles of wine and gossip with her friends. She was no lone wolf like her compatriot Sarah Lund or that other Nordic Noir character over the bridge, Saga Noren. This made her refreshing and human. The first series was extremely watchable, if extremely far-fetched, so I was happy that it was back on our screens for a second run. Continue reading Review: Dicte (S2 E1/5), Friday 7th July, More4

More4 confirms transmission date for series two of Dicte

Danish series Dicte might have stretched the bounds of credibility on numerous occasions, but it did feature a character that bucked the trend in so-called Nordic Noir – crime reporter Dicte Svendsen was messy, sociable, funny and hung out with a group of female friends that made you laugh and snort and feel for them. She was hugely likeable, as was Iben Hjejle, who played her. So it’s great news that series two is looming large on the horizon, and Channel 4 has now confirmed its transmission date. Continue reading More4 confirms transmission date for series two of Dicte

Interview: Iben Hjejle, Dicte

13_DICTE_Epi_8_Fotograf_Per_ArnesenOn the eve of the DVD release of series one of Dicte, via the Acorn Label, I managed to snaffle a chat with Dicte Svensson herself, Iben Hjejle. If anyone’s been reading the site during the show’s run on More4 you’ll know that I’ve enjoyed the show immensely and Hjejle’s performance as the central character, so I was delighted when she agreed to speak with me and The Killing Times. Her words are after the jump… (and don’t worry, there’s a review of the series one finale coming in the next day or two… it has been a busy weekend!) Continue reading Interview: Iben Hjejle, Dicte

Review: Dicte (S1 E4/5), Friday 24th June, More4

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 17.49.29Apologies for the delay in writing this review, but the little (and odd combination) of an EU referendum and its inevitable fall-out and lots and lots of football (the European Championship, no less) meant that my mind wasn’t really on crime drama or casting a critical eye over it. But now, looking for a distraction or two from the world, I took the opportunity to dig back into Danish crime series Dicte. And, wouldn’t you know it, this fourth episode of the five-episode series, was the best yet. Continue reading Review: Dicte (S1 E4/5), Friday 24th June, More4

Review: Dicte (S1 E3/5), Friday 17th June, More4


Up until now we’ve seen Dicte Svendsen, crime reporter for the local Aarhus newspaper, get herself involved with cases that have touched a nerve – cases that have involved motherhood, and the concept of motherhood, that remind her of her own past. And, wouldn’t you just know it, in tonight’s feature-length episode she at the forefront of a case that has elements of motherhood yet again. Continue reading Review: Dicte (S1 E3/5), Friday 17th June, More4

Review: Dicte (S1 E2/5), Thursday 9th June, More4

1381306810487_0570x0320_1381306872423Last week’s opening, feature-length episode of Dicte introduced us to a new, modern crime drama heroine from Denmark. She had all the baggage a character in a bleak Scandi Noir should carry around with them, but what made Dicte a little different was that she was a social, agreeable – if headstrong – person who was immediately likeable and functioned well within her circle of friends and family. It only remained to be seen whether she could continue in this vein or if the case of her missing son would consume her. Continue reading Review: Dicte (S1 E2/5), Thursday 9th June, More4

Review: Dicte (S1 E1/5), Friday 3rd June, More4

1381306810487_0570x0320_1381306872423So here we are back in Scandinavia. It feels like a while since we’ve been in Denmark (well, not that long actually… we were there for February’s Follow The Money on BBC4), but this new five-part drama (for UK broadcast it has been re-packaged into five feature-length episodes instead of the 10 stand-alones that appeared in its native Denmark) is back on more familiar ground. The series has been adapted from Elsebeth Egholm’s novels (Egholm was also the creator of Scandi noir hit from 2011, Those Who Kill) and stars Iben Hjejle as crime journalist Dicte Svendsen who returns to her home town of Aarhus to not only confront ghosts from her past but also to help the police solve a gruesome murder investigation. So far, so crime-drama-by-the-numbers, but what sets Dicte apart from the rest is a good pace, and, unusually for a Scandinavian crime drama, a character that feels more three-dimensional than usual.

NB: Spoilers ahoy Continue reading Review: Dicte (S1 E1/5), Friday 3rd June, More4