Sunday, 11 August 2013

Sebastian Bergman - BBC Four TV review

I watched The Cursed One, the first episode of Sebastian Bergman last night, having missed its original airing last year. This was the second new (to me) series that I've looked at this week, having taken in the first of a two-parter basead on Denise Mina's work, The Field of Blood, a couple of days before. There's a view in some quarters that the quality of British crime shows on TV doesn't compare with that of those from Europe at the moment. I don't agree, but although The Field of Blood certainly has its merits, of the two shows, I found (slightly to my surprise, to be honest) that I was more struck by Sebastian Bergman.

A good deal of this has to do with the terrific performance of Rolf Lassgard as the eponymous crime profiler. At first, Bergman comes across as a deeply troubled and unattractive individual, but the more one learns about him, the more one see the depth in the portrayal. As well as the quality of the acting, the quality of the writing, by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt, is responsible for this. I was impressed.

The opening is striking - a young man, apparently injured, is walking across a football pitch when a sniper shoots him. The victim, it turns out, was leading quite a complicated life, and unravelling it depends not just on some good detective work, but also Bergman's profiling skills. All in all, I thought the plot was handled very well - its trickiness and use of false solutions was reminiscent of Inspector Morse, even if the mood was very different.

Whilst I'm afraid I always find sub-titles a deterrent, I found the story interesting, edgy and twisty enough to keep me gripped from start to finish. Once the culprit was identified, there was still time for a further turn of the screw, as Bergman solved a mystery from his past life. This struck me as genuinely poignant. A very good episode, and I'm glad I have caught up with it at last.


Todd Mason said...

This will be offered, I believe for the first time in the US, in September on the small public network MHz Worldview, and they will stream it online.

Frances Brody said...

I didn't catch "Sebastian Bergman" but I did watch "Field of Blood." I liked it but it was far too cramped. Miners' strike, changes in newspaper ownership, believable family backgrounds ... deserved at least four episodes.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Todd, hope you enjoy it.

Martin Edwards said...

Very good point, Frances. I agree.