Wallander Review: Revenge Is Swedish
WALLANDER: Sunday 3rd January, BBC1, 9pm ALERT ME
We all know that Sweden is good at producing beautiful people and acronymical pop groups, but we didn’t realise they could turn out – or had much of a need for – such TV-ready police detectives.
Apparently the sexy Scandanavians are as violence-happy as the rest of us though, and in Kurt Wallander they have a gritty maverick to solve the murders that seem to blight rural Sweden.
In the first episode of what looks like an excellent second series, a stubbly Kenneth Branagh has to solve the mysterious murder of an old couple at a deserted farm house.
There are many caveats that we recognise in the adaption of Henning Mankell’s story – the irritable detective who feeds on his instincts and a department who seem exasperated by his mumblings, yet the BBC and Branagh have managed to inject a definite freshness into the whodunnit format.
Wallander is still struggling to get to grips with the brutal double murder which has left the police clueless, his daughters engagement to an Asian lad and his fathers deteriorating health, when the body count starts to rise again.
Apparently someone has decided to blame the original killings on an immigrant population that lives in a nearby caravan site and they seem to be taking matters into their own hands with extreme consequences.
Before you can “impromptu bikini contest”, our crim-catcher is struggling to resist a xenophobic undercurrent from the locals.
Brannagh is also an excellent lead and he plays the troubled detective with a distracted air that makes him a very real character and his initial ambiguity over issues of race add to this. He seems waywardly offish with his daughter’s Asian fiance, but later warms to him and speaks out to defend the immigrants.