Category Archives: First Look

FIRST LOOK: Trapped (Series 2)

Fair warning. This text contains some limited details from the first episode of Trapped 2, which started in its native Iceland on 26th December. I’m not giving you lots of big spoilers, though.

This year started with one of the most anticipated Nordic returns in the final series of The Bridge, and at the end of the year we have its rival for top spot. Finally, we are returning to northern Iceland and Ófærð (Trapped). Let’s be hopeful that BBC Four will be quicker about importing this one. After all, woolly-jumpered stories should be enjoyed from under a blanket with hands wrapped around a warm cup of tea and the dark, chilly night looming outside the window.

Two years have gone by and Andri is now living in Reykjavik. Contact with ex-wife Agnes and younger daughter Perla, who are also in the city, seems to be working decently. The situation is worse with rebellious 15-year-old Þorhildur, who has gone back north to live with aunt Laufey. From the trailer, we have already seen that she isn’t much inclined to talk with her parents.

Part of the appeal of Nordic crime series over the past decade, and one of the reasons for their international success, is that more attention is given to the ramifications of crime. We get to know the victims’ families better and we also get closer acquainted with detectives and their families, or lack thereof as the case may be. This has also been one of the influences apparent on crime series elsewhere. We have moved away from classical procedurals with one-hour cases and occasional momentary glances at the personal lives of the detectives who solve them. The fuller story is so much more interesting.

Where we find troubled Þorhildur seems to be one of the aspects we will be given insight to over the 10 episodes. Of course, as the child of a Noir detective, she is per definition at risk of finding herself in harm’s way, but let’s hope she will be ok.

The story opens with a disturbing attack on the Minister of Industries, outside the Parliament. Andri is soon on the scene and it’s discovered that the perpetrator, and in fact brother of the victim, is Gísli – a farmer from the north who had protested the building of a new power plant. Andri is sent back home to investigate Gísli’s background and to find out if the motivation for the attack was personal or political and if there is still a threat to be dealt with.

The palette has been changed from white-out to black, brown and green for the beautiful sweeping shots of the vast rugged landscape as we’re approaching the little town by the fjord. The steaming powerplant provides the stark contrast – the concrete symbol of conflict.

There is familiarity and warmth from both Hinrika and Ásgeir as they welcome their former colleague, but a slight hint of initial discomfort at being back is detectable in Andri. We have our trio together once more. Ólafur Darri Olafsson, Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir and Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson are all on form, which is especially noticeable in the moments where the vulnerabilities of each of their characters are on display: Andri in relation to his daughter, Hinrika to a lesser degree with some tension between her and her husband, and Ásgeir’s knowledge that he doesn’t naturally command the same respect as the other two.

On with the task of talking to Gísli’s family members and monitoring protests that flare up again. There are unsavoury racist opinions spouted from some of the displeased farmers. Certainly, a current enough societal theme in many places alongside environment, immigration etc.

As the initial basis for the plot begins to form, there is an eerie, nasty feeling of other sinister things to come. Apart from our old acquaintances, not all of them mentioned here, there are many new characters introduced and at one point I was a bit confused about who was related to whom. Never mind, we’re only at the beginning, it’s to be expected. The mystery and gradual development is the point. It draws us in. What old family feuds and dysfunctionalities will be uncovered? What political secrets and lies will be revealed?

We’ve been waiting for this sequel for three years and after the first episode I was left immediately wanting more. Every aspect of the first episode is promising the same high quality as the last series gave us. If I had it all at hand I’m sure I’d binge it in full without much pause. However, the best ones are better served by being watched at a traditional slow pace rather than as instant box sets. It gives you more time to reflect on the details and ponder over how the plot will develop. Well, maybe the typical double episode of BBC Four’s Saturday foreign drama slot is the happy medium?

We have already heard from creator Baltasar Kormákur that he has started work on a third series, so we know before the start that there is more to come. Excellent, I hope that means at least the main characters are safe. We wouldn’t want to lose our favourite milk-drinking detective or his friends.

Charlotte Carling


Now, this isn’t a site that normally recommends films, but I feel an exception is in order for those of you who might like a Kormákur story to tide you over until Trapped 2 reaches British shores. Film 4 is showing thriller Eiðurinn (The Oath) tomorrow, Sunday, at 11.35pm. They are describing it this way: “A man attempts to save his daughter from her drug-dealing boyfriend, regardless of danger to himself, legality and whether or not she wants his help.” Kromákur is even acting in it along with some familiar faces. 


First Look: Save Me, Sky Atlantic

Sky Atlantic’s six-part thriller, Save Me, starts next week (Wednesday 28th February), and there was a screening at London’s BAFTA building in Piccadilly last night. Written by and starring Lennie James – and also starring Stephen Graham and Suranne Jones, among others – it’s set in and around a south London housing estate, and features a central character plunged into a noirish nightmare. By that description you might think that Save Me is Scandi-style dark, but it’s not – there’s plenty of humour, incredible, flawed characters and a powerful story of redemption at its heart. Continue reading First Look: Save Me, Sky Atlantic

First Look: Modus series 2

Last year;s first series of Modus was… well, you can read the reviews to what we thought about it (here). But the news that series two of the Swedish crime drama had drafted in big names like Kim Cattrall, Greg Wise and Bill Campbell but us all sit up and take notice. The series is set to start in Sweden next Thursday (2nd November) on CMore, and materials have been released ahead of its transmission. Continue reading First Look: Modus series 2

First Look: Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling, BBC One

Well, I’m back from my little break and slowly but surely I’m catching up with the things that I’ve missed this week. Last night I went along to the BFI Southbank to watch the first episode of the first of the eagerly-awaited BBC adaptations of JK Rowling’s (or Robert Galbraith’s) Cormoran Strike novels. The first, three-part series is based on The Cuckoo’s Calling book, and stars Tom Burke as Strike and Holliday Grainger as Robin Ellacott. The good news is that it’s good. And the extra good news is that we now know when it’s going to appear on our screens. Continue reading First Look: Strike: The Cuckoo’s Calling, BBC One

First Look: Sweden’s Before We Die

ivd-infor-jpgInnan vi dör (Before We Die) is the new big crime series on Swedish public service channel SVT. Of course, it’s not a given that every Scandinavian crime series will be exported to the UK, but as this one is showing a good amount of potential after two episodes, let’s have a look at what’s on offer. Continue reading First Look: Sweden’s Before We Die

First Look: Midnight Sun (Sweden)

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-19-05I’m aware this site wouldn’t normally do something like this (extensively preview a show that hasn’t been signed by a UK broadcaster) but Midnight Sun sounds so intriguing and could be the next big Nordic thing. With all that in mind and being a resident in Sweden, I wanted to at least see what it was like and give you an idea of it. Midnight Sun (Midnattssol) started in Sweden at the weekend and it got off to a promising start. I do think this will be picked up by some channel in the UK, so here are my first impressions… Continue reading First Look: Midnight Sun (Sweden)