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The 100 Code

This 12 episode series is set mostly in Sweden and as it was a co-production goes between Swedish and English to suit both potential audiences. Basically it is a police procedural with two protagonists – one Swedish and one American – both chasing a murderer who appears to be doing the same thing in different countries. What the men have in common is that they have both lost their wives/partners and use work as a way of covering up the flaws that they have and memories that won’t go away easily.

The series veers between the quirky, for example a talking ghost that appears every so often to fill in the back story, and the risqué with more than a nod to The Story of O.

All the things we have come to expect from Scandi drama are there, an autistic officer – check, father/daughter misunderstandings – check, annoying mobile phone ring tones – check, tunnels and bridges – check and antagonists who are too clever to be caught at the start of the series.

You probably won’t see the ending coming, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Worth watching in a box-set-fest. Don’t expect to sleep easily afterwards though.

The Night Manager

1

A volatile Egypt, complementary cocktails and the beautiful Sophie looking for a coffee while flirting with Jonathan Pine, the eponymous Night Manager. Jonathan sits down and agrees to photocopy sensitive Iron Last documents in his private office and store them in his safe as Sophie’s  insurance policy in case something should happen to her. And so it began. The foreshadowing of napalm being important to the plot line happened within the first fifteen minutes of episode one.

Rescuing Sophie from her abusive Freddie and driving her through the desert came all too easily to a man apparently working in the hotel trade. Mr Pine had many talents, and many voices. Battered Sophie, or Samira, was ever so grateful for some of them.

The Hamid family owned too much of London and UK political parties for Samira to be safe there, according to the embassy contact. London wasn’t an option. The changing of the guard comment by Samira indicated her acceptance of her only possible future, one without Jonathan.

Four years later Jonathan is in Switzerland, still a Night Manager, but finally getting the chance to meet the antagonist of the piece – Richard Roper.

 

Follow the Money 1 & 2

BBC4’s new Saturday Euro-treat  comes from Denmark and is created by a co-writer of Borgen. The title Follow the Money (BBC 4 9pm) hints at the driving motive shared by most of its characters. Tonight’s opener contains one of the most chilling warnings ever uttered in international crime thrillers: “If necessary, go to Manchester.”

 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0d473a32-eca2-11e5-888e-2eadd5fbc4a4.html#axzz43Lt2P76z

 

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2015-11-21/the-12-best-scandi-drama-treats-to-come

 

Mads (Thomas Bo Larsen) is a cop with definite maverick tendencies who, via the death of a Ukrainian workman employed at a wind farm, finds himself working with a strait-laced partner to investigate fraud at a Danish energy company. One of the major plot developments is telegraphed very early on and is one of the ho hum moments but the series looks promising and worth tuning in for next week.

 

Life

turns on a sixpence. The two and fro

of work-life balance comes to a clattering halt.

Trying to meet targets and create impact crashes down

When the real impact comes.

Crash, bang, wallop what a car crash!

A rubber-necker’s delight.

On the radio before the emergency crew arrive

And when they come, they keep asking you

Name, date of birth, what happened… over and over

While inserting wires under clothing, clips on fingers

Apologising for bumps on the road and reminding you how

To take gas and air.

Life turns on a sixpence, and sometimes

You actually get lucky

And live, to tell the tale.

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Trapped 9 & 10

And so episode 9 began with a reminder of the fire that had begun it all. The killer appeared to be the father of the girl killed in that arson attack. He certainly had the padlock key to Hrafn’s shed which had burned down in his dirty, smelly  trousers. We were not told initially what the smell was so had to assume it was arson-related and eventually it was revealed to be kerosene.

Guoni has been behaving strangely for many episodes so it was finally time for him to agree to be questioned. What had he thrown into the sea? Where was his phone? How did he know the pseudo-engineer from the boat? Were the two murders connected? As usual there were many questions and few answers.

Andri had to decide whether to toss the key away or question his father-in-law Eirikur  – change his children’s lives forever or cover the tracks? The discovery about the truth of the death of Dagny had been the catalyst for subsequent events for Hrafn.

There was a classic bit of “show-not-tell” where we watched the family through a window being told by Andri  while strings play plaintively in the background.

The conspirators who had set the original fire that killed Dagny were caught up in a plot to recoup losses due to the downturn in the economy. They had been secretly buying  land  hoping to gain from a Chinese owned port.

Maggi the little red haired boy also ended up being integral to the story and not just a device to make us dislike Andri’s girls. Maggi’s father had returned. We knew this because his car was one of those still buried under the snow and the promised toy fire truck was inside, wrapped in a box with a card. Maria his mother was arrested, or at least asked nicely to come to the station for questioning. Andri and Maria arrived at the station just as Eirikur was being driven off to the proper prison. If his mother-in-law’s look could have killed, Andri would have withered on the spot.

Something fishy in the fish factory, fire in the sauna and freezing in the freezer. Cataclysmic events, due to greed.

My, but it was yar.

Breathlessly brilliant, gruellingly bleak.

 

Trapped 7 & 8

The weather is finally improving and the investigation team from Reykjavik arrives. It seems as though real progress is going to be made. But are some things just too good to be true.

Captain Carlsen agrees to work with the police. On the ferry, it transpires that one crew member has something to hide.

 

Errant wives and the consequences of their actions provided a sub-plot of this double bill. A depressed man accepts blame for a murder he as not committed and then commits suicide in spectacular fashion in a way that no police officer has anticipated. That the investigative TV crew were there at the time only added to the full horror becoming public knowledge.

Andri’s star began to rise again as his city-slicker superior was banished from further work on the case. This coincided with an altering of his former wife’s attitude towards him. When women rekindle the flame of a former relationship there is no guarantee that it is going to last this time around. Her new boyfriend being around doesn’t help reassure Andri that it wasn’t just a final hurrah.

The ships captain has things to offer a prosecution case in exchange for his own freedom. What he knows is unclear as the main person everyone was afraid of is now under lock and key and on his way to Reykjavik.

In the final few moments it becomes clear who has locked the mayor up and burned him to death.

Andri has another job to do which will probably irrevocably harm his chances of a happy family life.

Trapped 5 & 6

The avalanche has caused a total blackout. Plunged into darkness, the town’s inhabitants are anxious and afraid. Meanwhile, the mayor has a surprise visitor.

 

“No moon, no stars, just pitch black darkness.”

The early lines in episode 4 described an incident in the past but applied to the situation the community now found themselves in – completely cut off and now without power or working phones. Crawling free from an avalanche with only a torch to find the others, Andri had a hard task ahead of him. This contrasted with card games by candlelight that his family were playing. Their “dark” was much more pleasant.

An emergency generator was set up in one part of the town and the ship still had power. The card games there allowed for the baddie to find out that the black girls who had been trafficked were still in the town and, of course, he passed this on to the captain.

Andri had to fetch a doctor for the older man who was trapped in the snow. He thought the ship would have a doctor to help but even the cars were completely covered in snow and his journey would have to be on foot. Goemunder’s life depended on it.

Hinrika meanwhile was finding out from the voyeur with the telescope all the secrets of the townsfolk – who was beaten, who was cheating…all very salacious. A life alone had turned him into an unpleasant person but his questions were valid – why did women stay with bastards and ignore better men? Her husband was out looking for her, leaving the trafficked girls alone.

There was a cut to teenage girls wanting to go and get drunk, while pointing out that there was a crazed killer on the loose – what could possibly go wrong?

The shed was hotter in the end than the swimming pool party.

Amid general disquiet, the town’s inhabitants gather in the church, where they demand answers. Police chief Andri Olafsson is tasked with speaking to them and he must tell the truth.

Connections or no connections between the murders? Any links seemed tenuous. Answers were hard to give. Four bodies, an understaffed police department and the remaining population unable to get away. The investigating team from Reykjavík could not get through. It’s one of us, was the disquieting message. No false promises of protection or salvation, all Andri could promise was that the murders would eventually be solved.

 

Trapped 3 and 4

Episodes 3 and 4 of 10

The town is still cut off from all help by snowstorms and pack ice, and the local police have somehow managed to lose both the victim’s body and the only suspect. Unable to prove his suspicions about the captain of the ferry, Andri finally gets a new lead when people start sharing photos of the corpse online.

With the murderer still at large, unrest is beginning to grow among the still-trapped townspeople and tourists. The police’s list of potential suspects is becoming larger, but with discontent growing and the looming threat of an avalanche above the town, they face a race against time to unravel the mystery.

The cliff hanger at the end of episode 2 was quickly resolved at the beginning of episode 3. It did however make us wonder about the motivations of the man who had been burned at the start of episode 1 and the man in the wheelchair with the telescope. Both men are now voyeurs who watch rather than act. One posts his photos on social media while he explores death and dying while the other just seems to use the information against his neighbours in a power game of his own concoction. Neither acted to save the children so it was just as well that Andri and his wife arrived individually to save the day.

We got a few Icelandic sweaters, conversations about future wealth and glimpses into the life of a cuckolded husband. There was further violence, discussions about the nature of bereavement and the investigation seemed to take two steps forward and one step back. There were flashes of brilliance about a cinematic clue to the identity of the poster of the torso on social media from the same cop who had ineptly been cornered by an earlier criminal. The characters are quite well rounded.

This week’s offering ended with a cliff hanger on an actual cliff.

Who survives the avalanche remains to be seen.

Trapped

Trapped

1          In a small Icelandic fishing port, a ferry docks. That same day a dismembered body is found in the river, sparking an investigation and a call to Reykjavik for detective reinforcements to assist the small local police force. With the ferry held in dock and a bad snowstorm threatening to cut off the town, chief of police Andri is under pressure to deliver results quickly.

Iceland, in Winter,  looks a really inhospitable place if this series is anything to go by. A torso’s discovery led Andri to board a Danish ferry and ask to look around. The captain was uncooperative and demanded a Danish court order implying there was something to hide. Andri was too busy to pick up his own children from school in the middle of a snowstorm. It was just as well their grandmother stepped into the breach. We’d already seen his children be awful to a little red-haired boy in the school corridor and as his father had not phoned there was an implied link between the case and the children.

Andri was forced to confront his broken marriage when his wife brought her new partner to her mother’s house. He used the murder as an excuse not to play happy families but not before his ex spotted that he still wore his wedding ring.

The captain – played by Bjarne Henriksen of The Killing fame – upped the anti by turning off the heating aboard the ferry and the passengers demanded some action from the police. Throw in  a little human trafficking, some snowdrifts, some falling snow-by-torchlight underscored by ominous minor key music and there you have the first episode. Even the children realised everyone was trapped.

 

2          With no police support able to arrive from Reykjavik until the snowstorm clears, Andri and his colleagues need to work fast. It seems a hopeless situation, but with a suspect in custody awaiting questioning and a body awaiting forensic tests, Andri is desperate for them to prove themselves and make a breakthrough in the case.

A Lithuanian mafia member was captured and in jail awaiting questioning by police support from Reykjavik. The school had been turned into a refuge for the ferry passengers which provided Andri with the opportunity to question everyone. Unfortunately a camera crew – using a laptop link – arrived and expected, and received, a live interview. Andri’s daughter chatted when he arrived home and suggested they all live together with the mother and her new lover, what could he do but smile?

The Danish court order came more quickly than expected so over the breakfast buffet Andri served the captain however Andri suspected the prevarication had been due to the trafficking rather than a need to follow protocols.

A new port construction in the area would put Iceland midway between trade routes between China and the US. It looked very tempting but the financial collapse of 2008 had made people mistrust those promising them future wealth.

Hinrika, Andri’s female officer, took the trafficked girls to her home much to her partner’s surprise as he wandered out of the shower.

The rather assault of a police officer came as a surprise to him but not to the audience.

Perla’s bullying continued and the little red-haired boy Maggi went out into the snow. Andri’s girls went out to look for him. All three in the snow, followed by all the adults in the house. Meanwhile Andri was distracted by photos of the now disappeared corpse which had appeared on Twitter.

Crazy weather hampered finding the children but at least the phones worked.

The end credits seem to suggest the whole of Iceland was involved in the show but the main actors are credited below.

Series cast summary:
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson Ólafur Darri Ólafsson
 Andri (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir
 Hinrika (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson
 Ásgeir (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir
 María (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Hans Tórgarð Hans Tórgarð
 Engineer / … (10 episodes, 2015-2016)
Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir Steinunn Ólína Þorsteinsdóttir
 Aldís (7 episodes, 2015-2016)
Jóel Sæmundsson Jóel Sæmundsson
 Þór Snædal / … (5 episodes, 2015-2016)

 

 

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