I’ve written several times about how much I enjoy watching TV police procedurals, and recently those called Scandi-noir – from Scandinavia. The series running at present is called ‘Beck’; it is a Swedish drama and the main character as you might guess is Beck, Martin Beck a police detective . He originally was a creation of Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö who wrote ten novels featuring him and they have all been made into films. In 1997 the first of thirty-four TV programmes 34 films have also been produced, starring Peter Haber as Martin Beck.
I haven’t watched all the programmes – I’m not sure how many have been on British TV, but no doubt there are DVDs which I can catch up with. Each programme is two hours long, and I usually watch them on playback, one hour at a time… however, last week an episode called ‘End of the Road’ was so good that i just watched the whole thing. This is the ‘blurb ‘for it:
An ex-policeman is found murdered in his house, along with his wife and child. Beck and his team take on the case and find that there is a hidden security room in the victims’ house, containing stolen weapons. They find fingerprints from a criminal who was involved in a robbery, after which he shot his accomplices and disappeared with the money. The question is how the former police officer ended up with the weapons and how he is connected to the thieves. The case stirs strong feelings at police headquarters and takes highest priority.
In a way it was a simple story-line with a couple of sub-plots involving the personal lives of the policemen investigating the crime, and I don’t think it was difficult to work out what had happened, although it remained full of suspense to the end. The acting was low-key but excellent; although obviously in a way the characters are stereotypes, they were so subtly played, and not with lots of dialogue but facial expression, eye movements, the turn of a head or a shrug of the shoulders, that it was completely engaging. Obviously, as I don’t understand Swedish and had to rely on subtitles I’m sure I missed a lot of extra detail, but I’m sure he way the actors put over their character the viewers are able to ‘fill in’ some of the gaps. Although the crime was solved, the ending was left slightly open, which seemed more realistic; in real life nothing is as neat and tied up as in a lot of fiction. The pace of the episode was just right, there was never a scene which felt drawn out or hurried to fill the two-hour slot. Stand out acting from Peter Haber as Beck, but also Mans Nathanaelson as Oskar Bergman, Elmira Arikan as Ayda Cetin,and most of all the amazing Kristofer Hivju as Steinar Hovland.
This isn’t available as playback everywhere, and will only be active for a certain amount of time, but here is a link: