Wednesday 22 July 2009

Wallander - Mastermind

Good as the Kenneth Branagh series for BBC TV was, I’m starting to think that the Swedish television take on Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander is even better. Thanks to Karen Meek of the excellent Eurocrime blog, I learned that the programmes are going out on BBC 4 and I have just watched ‘Mastermind’.

Needless to say, ‘Mastermind’ has nothing to do with either the television quiz show or its Crimefest equivalent! But it is an outstanding story, which I found gripping from start to finish. I’m not wildly enthusiastic about sub-titles, but on this occasion they proved no obstacle at all to my enjoyment.

Kirster Henriksson is very good as Wallander. It’s a more subdued performance than Branagh’s, but highly effective. In this story (which is original, not based on a Mankell novel) a middle-aged woman’s body is found hanging from her apartment ceiling, and drained of blood. Soon, the daughter of one of Mankell’s colleagues is snatched from her blood-spattered bedroom, and it turns out that the blood is not hers, but belongs to the murdered woman. Mankell’s daughter is then injured, and it emerges that someone is targeting the police. But why?

The climax is very tense. All in all, this is first-rate viewing. Strongly recommended.


Uriah Robinson said...

The Brothers I think shown on Monday night was even better with fine acting and some social commentary on Sweden's class system.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Maybe the broadcast will eventually make its way to the States. Our public TV station just aired the Branagh series in the last month (well, three of the shows, anyway.) I'm hoping they'll air more soon...very enjoyable.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Dorte H said...

I also like the new Swedish Wallander series though Krister Henriksson is not my Wallander favourite:
Wallander who?

Henriksson is okay, though a rather quiet Wallander, and the other actors are terrific. I was so sorry to learn a few days ago that the young daughter who plays his daughter has died.

Scott D. Parker said...

I enjoyed the KB versions shown this past spring here in the US on PBS. I wonder if the Swedish versions will make it over here, on PBS, BBCAmerica, or the internet? I'm definitely curious.

BooksPlease said...

I enjoyed Wallender. I can't imagine a more subdued performance than Kenneth Branagh's. Sounds good though.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Would love to see this because the BBC version just seems too British (not that there's anything wrong with that). Hope it comes our way.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for all these comments.
Uriah - I missed The Brothers - hope it's repeated soon.
Elizabeth, Scott and Patti, I hope the shows reach the US. I liked the Branaghs and didn't expect to enjoy the Swedish versions as much - but I did.
Dorte - yes, it is very sad, and I believe her death has deterred Mankell from writing more about Linda.
BooksPlease - believe me, Henriksson is very subdued! But excellent.

Lauren said...

For those impatient with the vagaries of free-to-air television and with the ability to watch Region 4 DVDs, you can get the whole Henriksson series (in two volumes) from Australia. I'm not sure if they all were screened there, but they were released under the auspices of the tv station and company that has shown a lot of European crime. Since I own the lot, I think you can safely say I'm a fan!

Dorte, I also like what I've seen of the "other" Wallander, but I'm not sure those are available with English subtitles.

For Mankell-on-screen fans, there's also a German and Swedish version of "Return of the Dancing Master."

Martin Edwards said...

Many thanks for the tip, Lauren.