Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Series 3
Season 3 of "Wallander" sees the depressed Ystad detective track a religious arsonist, travel across the Baltic Sea to investigate police corruption in Latvia, and investigate a body washing up in his own backyard whose murder investigation, through his own malfeasance, will lead to the severe injury of an endeared colleague. Kenneth Branagh delivers his finest performance yet in the series and while the mysteries remain standard, connect-the-dot whodunnits, Branagh never ceases to be anything less than captivating as the existential inspector.

Series 2
As Wallander continues to undergo difficulties with his infirmed father and dismissive daughter, a line of duty shooting leaves the existential sleuth's conscious more reeling than ever as he deals with three more mysteries of an extremely execrable nature. "Wallander's" sophomore outing is a marked improvement over the first season with a brand new batch of Henning Mankell's mysteries that play out to greater intrigue in each of the self-contained episodes. Also, Kenneth Branagh still continues to shine, even during darker or less inspired moments of the series.

Series 1
Police detective Kurt Wallander is undergoing a midlife crisis following his separation from his wife and the news that his father is suffering from Alzheimer's, and seems to be empathizing with the victims of the bizarre crimes that have plagued his idyllic small town of Ystad. "Wallander" is a British television adaptation of a highly successful series of Swedish crime yarns by author Henning Mankell, which have also been translated to Swedish TV to equal acclaim. With "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series, "Let the Right One In", and "Headhunters", Scandinavian thrillers are in high demand for screen translation and I think the secret is central characterization. While I found the stories in "Wallander" to be routine crime procedurals, Kenneth Branagh delivers a dynamic lead performance that is unlike anything we'd expect from the hero of a cop drama. Branagh does everything he can to make his character seem like a normal guy, while make adding existential, melancholic, and inept qualities, all welcomed attributes for this kind of hero. Like the recent Scandi thrillers, intriguing and atypical leads are also a tradition in British TV and like Jane Tennyson, and John Luther, Kurt Wallander stands up nicely alongside them.