It’s worth reminding ourselves that earlier on this year – right at the start of 2016 – BBC4 broadcast a new Icelandic series that went on to become one of the most popular crime dramas of the year. Not necessarily in audience figures (although they were very good for BBC4), but because of the amount of cult buzz it produced within the crime community. It really was a stunning series in a year of stunning series, and now it has been awarded a prestigious award from The European Broadcasting Festival.
This year we saw a break-out hit from a Nordic country who had been fairly quiet in the firmament of television crime drama. Trapped changed all that, and provided the island with a true global hit – it attracted over one million viewers in the UK, and a whopping five-and-a-half million in France. It’s expected to do big numbers when it debuts in Germany this autumn season. Indeed, despite the high quality of the crime drama that’s been around this year, Trapped still remains one of the best of the year. There has always been talk of a second series – and state broadcaster RÚV would have been crazy not to make another one – but now RÚV has finally confirmed that there will be a second meeting with Andri and co.
It was a strange day to be watching the final two, superb episodes of Trapped. Here in London it was a beautiful spring day – warm and bright, perhaps the first true day of the new season. For the most part of Trapped we watched along on dark, cold winter Saturday nights, and the almost biblical storm that engulfed the small town of Seyðisfjörður onscreen seemed to me to be perfectly timed with our own climate. Not that Britain ever has anything as bad as Iceland – certainly not down here in the southeast – and there have been countless tales of viewers reaching for blankets or turning up the heating while they watched this engrossing and enormously popular series. But it had to come to an end, and it felt with the change of seasons here and the clearer skies onscreen it might have been the perfect time to watch it. There were plenty of questions left to be answered in these two hours – did Eiríkur really have something to do with Hrafn’s death? And if so what did that mean for the Davidsson family? What had Guðni and Leifur been up to, and how were they implicated in the whole mess? Did they have a hand in killing Hrafn? And who killed Geirmundur? Thankfully, every loose end I could think of was tied up in thrilling and hugely emotional fashion.
NB: Lots of spoilers, do no read unless you’ve seen these two episodes
It’s hard to believe but Icelandic drama Trapped comes to an end this weekend. The Guardian called it the unexpected TV hit of the year, perhaps referencing its own reluctance to cover it on a weekly review basis. But a big hit it has been, and certainly up there with other Nordic titans like The Bridge and The Killing in terms of quality and intrigue. And now it comes to an end. Because there will be a double bill lots can and no doubt will happen before we reach the end and I’m pretty sure there will be plenty more twists and turns. So now seems like as good a time as any to review where we are and who the suspects (currently) are. Siglufjörður may be a small town, but there’s a lot going on…
Since those very first scenes in Trapped, when a Danish ferry crawled into the remote coastal port of Seyðisfjörður, the town and its locals had been engulfed in a storm that had cut it off from the outside world. At the end of episode six that storm had finally abated, allowing a team of officers from Reykjavik – led by Trausti – to helicopter in and finish the investigation. We knew that as soon as Trausti had touched down the dynamic of the show would shift – Andri, the bear-like hero of the show would have to come to terms with someone with higher authority muscling in on his patch and his investigation. Not only that but it had been pretty obvious that Andri and Trausti had previous, and lots of it, which made this showdown potentially explosive. Tonight we were going to find out what that previous was, and much, much more.
NB: This is a review. And there are spoilers. Lots and lots and lots and lots of them.
With only four episodes to go of Trapped – that’s two weeks in BBC4 money – things are, ahem, hotting up in the freezing cold of Iceland. One of the delights of the show is watching how its two main characters – Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) and Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) – go about their business. While not quite so pronounced in their differences as, say, a Martin or Saga from The Bridge, their relationship is, nonetheless, a close one and an entertaining one – he’s the big, empathetic one; she’s the practical, non-nonsense one. No wonder Hinrika has gained quite a following on social media. I interviewed Ólafur Darri Ólafsson last week, so it was only natural I got to chat to Ilmur – an award-winning actress and screenwriter in her own right – too. Her words are after the jump.
After last week’s thrilling fourth episode we were left with the awesome, majestic and terrifying sight of a full-blown avalanche – started by Guðmundur – tumbling towards Andri, Guðmundur and his son Sigurður from what seemed like the night sky. Surely not all of them could survive this angry outburst.
NB: If you haven’t seen these episodes yet, do yourself a favour and don’t read beyond this point – there are all kinds of spoilers ahead