Suspected murder: Scandi Noir series for crime and drama fans

Suspected murder
Scandi Noir series for crime and drama fans

Police officer Bjørn (Ulrich Thomsen, r.) Cannot hold back his anger towards colleagues either.

© (c) Henrik Ohsten and Miso Film

An antihero with edges, an exciting case: Why the Danish series “Suspicion / Murder” is also absolutely worth seeing for crime novices.

Germany is a crime country. The unbroken success of the illustrious squad of “Tatort” investigators from over 20 cities alone speaks for itself. The most haunting, darkest TV murders and serial corpses found spill over from Scandinavia to us. If the sun doesn’t even rise in some places in the freezing cold winter time, morbid crime stories will probably write themselves.

Our neighboring country Denmark also enriches us again and again with so-called Scandi Noir films and series, such as “Das Team” with Lars Mikkelsen (56, “House of Cards”) or the Danish-Swedish-German coproduction “Die Brücke – Transit in death”. Said Lars Mikkelsen, the older brother of “Hannibal” actor and “Bond” villain Mads Mikkelsen (55), can also be seen in the new crime series “Suspicion / Murder” alongside leading actor Ulrich Thomsen (57). The eight episodes of the first season can be seen on the pay-TV channel 13th Street in two portions of four episodes on January 17th and 24th (each from 9 p.m.) as a German TV premiere.

A father sees red – that’s what it’s about

It seems like a case like any other. A young woman is lying on a stretcher in forensic medicine, and the evidence points to a suicide. Police officer Bjørn (Ulrich Thomsen) is called in to determine the identity of the stranger – not knowing that he will be able to do this after just a few minutes, in a very traumatic way.

Because when he thinks he recognizes a piece of jewelry and, on terrible suspicion, pulls the shroud from the face of the deceased, he finds the face of his own daughter Christina underneath. After the first shock, an immovable certainty arises for the investigator: his daughter would never have taken her own life, it must be murder. And contrary to the advice of his friends and colleagues, the grieving father wants to clarify this himself immediately – regardless of the means.

Not a hero in shining armor

As befits a Scandinavian crime series, “Suspicion / Murder” has a melancholy, gloomy mood, both visually and in terms of content, and avoids any strange-looking humor. Nobody here has anything to laugh about anyway. “I am her father and I have nothing to lose” – with these words, main character Bjørn sums up his state of mind, with which he sets out to solve the case. In other words: In order to arrest the alleged murderer of his daughter, he can use all means, no matter how illegal.

Symbolic of Scandi-Noir, Ulrich Thomsen’s figure has rough edges and is far removed from the righteous hero in white armor. The viewer is also allowed to find the figure unsympathetic in its sheer, sometimes unfair anger at everything and everyone, which is triggered by her grief. That may not always be convenient, but above all it is one thing: authentic, comprehensible and captured very closely through relentless close-ups. It doesn’t change the fact that every minute of the entertaining series with Bjørn you feel excited and suffer. Similar to the “Taken” series with Liam Neeson (68).

For the little crime fancy in between

Many a German as well as international crime thriller have been accused of certain lengths, even slowness. “Suspicion / Murder”, on the other hand, has a refreshing, murderous pace. Less than five minutes pass in the first episode before the main character reveals his dead daughter (played by Ulrich Thomsen’s real daughter, by the way) and thus receives his assignment for the next seven episodes.

What is also beneficial to the series is the length of the episode. Each episode only lasts around 25 minutes and should therefore also be of interest to crime novices who have not yet endured too much murder and manslaughter without a break. The plot of “Suspicion / Murder” also takes place within 24 hours, Jack Bauer fans alias “24” fans will be pleased. Even with four episodes in a row, boredom never arises.

Cast with international flair

Christoffer Boe (46), who won the Golden Camera at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for his debut film “Reconstruction”, is responsible for the direction and the script. But what use is the most exciting story if the actors don’t get it conveyed?

The makers of “Suspicion / Murder” certainly thought that too and hired an ensemble of Danish actors who stand for international flair. Main mime Ulrich Thomsen has already shown his skills in domestic films such as “Adam’s Apples”, Hollywood productions of the brand “Kingdom of Heaven” and series such as “The Blacklist” or “The New Pope”. In the first 20 minutes of “Suspicion / Murder” alone, his facial expressions seem to go through all phases of mourning – that is played very well.

He is accompanied by the aforementioned Lars Mikkelsen, who is likely to have been remembered as the unyielding Russian President Viktor Petrov from “House of Cards”, Trine Dyrholm (48), who among others alongside Pierce Brosnan (67) in the romantic The comedy “Love Is All You Need” was shown and Nikolaj Lie Kaas (47), who inspires as inspector Carl Mørck in the bestselling films by Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen (70). David Dencik (“Verblendung”, 46) and Clara Rosager (“Verfassungs”, 24) also play other roles.

The best news for all crime lovers at the end: If you like “suspicion / murder”, you can look forward to further episodes. A second season is already in the making and should also find its way to Germany via 13th Street in 2021.

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