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.
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.
On 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!)
Apologies 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.
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.
Last 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.
So 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