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.
Ninety-ninety-six’s Jägarna (The Hunters) was a medium-sized hit in its native Sweden. It told the story of a policeman from Stockholm who goes to Norrland to join his brother after their parents died. While there he started to work on a long-running case where deer have been poached and soon discovers that his brother is involved. Now it’s back, this time as a TV series.
Modus, which premiered in the UK just before Christmas 2016, was a good-looking if underwhelming Swedish thriller that investigated the links between a Christian religious fundamentalist group in the US and a nutjob lone operative causing death and destruction in Sweden. Series two is just around the corner, and on top of Kim Cattrell’s addition to the cast (she’s playing the US president), two more American actors have joined the cast.
As long-time readers of the site will know, I was a fan of series one of Swedish environmental (or just mental) procedural, Jordskott, when it first hit UK screen in 2015. We’ve known for a while that series two is on its way and that filming had taken place earlier this year. Now we know when series two will premiere in its native Sweden.
The Bridge is currently filming in Sweden and Denmark and it’s very exciting really – we’re starting to get little drips of news filtering through from the set as the show gears up for its New Year’s Day transmission day (in northern Europe and the Nordic regions, at least). The news today is that Danish actor Mikael Birkkjær – who we all know and love from shows like The Killing and Borgen – has joined the cast of series four.
Last year we brought you news of an Icelandic series – Stella Blomvist – and the fact that one of the writers on Trapped, Óskar Thór Axelsson, had been drafted in to work on the project. It was an interesting premise: Based on a series of first-person novels penned by the pseudonymous Stella Blomkvist, a hard-nosed lawyer who takes on mysterious murder cases, the series delves into the murky waters of Icelandic politics, recently in the news in the aftermath of the “Panama Papers” scandal. No English-language translation exists, but the makers – who have been touting the series at the French Series Mania TV festival – have announced that there is now a lead.
Nordic Noir is dead we keep hearing. Broadcasters are now straying away from the tried and tested cop procedurals based in Scandinavia, we’re being told. Well, Bordertown is unashamedly Nordic Noir and it’s all the better for it. What do I mean by Nordic Noir? It’s based in Finland, and in a specific area with lots of history and conflict (Karelia), features an unconventional cop who, ahem, borders on the obsessed, and crimes that are both gruesome and contextualised with that ol’ socio-political ‘second story’. So far, so ‘by the numbers’ but I found the first three episodes of Bordertown (which was one story, called Nukkekoti Osa) to be really enjoyable and engaging, with characters that you believe in. Not revolutionary or groundbreaking, but good, watchable and gripping.
NB: Spoilers inside