Wallander - Review

I watched an episode of Wallander on the i-Player. This review is free-standing, in that, until yesterday, I was barely aware of the series, and have not read the books or done any other reading into it, so what I have to say is fresh for me, and not influenced by outside sources.

I thoroughly recommend it. Wallander is a cop and the show is a police procedural, with, in the one I watched, a sub-plot about the cadet cop's relationship with his dad. There is a link to the main plot here, but I will not spoil it. The episode I saw was called "The Sniper". A lone gunman is killing people. What is the link? Why is he doing it? Can he be found? Etc. Nothing special about that. What makes the show so good is the central character, played by the extraordinary Krister Henriksson, whose inner life is writ large on his craggy face. Indeed, Henriksson does not appear to act, he just sort of sighs and shrugs in quiet desperation. Even when he is close to losing his composure, he never does, but the face has a thousand tiny story-telling permutations and they are totally compelling.

There is nothing very romantic about the scenery. Not a lot of IKEA or ABBA or Absolut in shot. Indeed, not what we think of as Sweden at all - in could be Swindon for all we know, with Saabs and Volvos, and everyone has an estate car. Wallander lives by the sea with a nice woman, who gently takes the piss out of him. Wallander himself is weak with women: he has an uneasy relationship with his female police cadet and there is "history" with the local Coroner, which is done in a scene so understated, but so real, it made me cry. Wallander smokes of course. I suppose he is a cocktail of one part Lemmy Caution, two parts Maigret and a dash of Columbo.

The writers cause the characters to say one thing and do another. It has the effect of making the resolutions at the end fall into place when word and action become one, and it adds realism. Nobody in Wallander is one dimensional. Even the bad guys appear to have complex inner lives. 

It is worth a look.


ashes to ashes said...

I tried Wallander but it wasn't my cup of tea.
'Ashes to ashes' finished tonight. That is more my type of cop show. Interesting twist at the end. I won't explain as it's worth watching on iplayer aswell. Cracking music and car chases and dolly birds. And all based in the 80's with appropriate soundtrack. Perfect.

'The scheme' is a must see documentary on iplayer aswell. A real eye opener to life on a housing scheme in Kilmarnock. Some of the filming takes place in Rantin Rab's street so you will appreciate why he rants !


Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thanks for the tip. I like Ashes too, but of late I felt it became a parody of itself. Nevertheless it has created an iconic anti-hero in Gene Hunt, just to remind us of what it was like when you could fit-up the bad guys and give them a good kicking.

I shall watch the Scheme, especially if it has anything to do with Rab.

Jim Baxter said...

It's all pish. All fiction is pish. Who wants to know, much less watch acted-out, the workings of someone else's imagination? How happy are you when someone starts up, 'I had this really weird dream last night...'

Happy? Looking forward to what's coming? Only if she's a nice bird.

ashes to ashes said...


I love watching and reading the imaginations of other people. From aged about 8 I've loved the weird feeling of floating in a book or film. Totally unaware of what's going on around me. I'm fascinated by the weird and wonderful imaginations of people more intelligent than me.
But different strokes for different folks.

Jim Baxter said...

But of course. Otherwise these people wouldn't make any money from peddling the contents of their weird little minds.

We all need to escape consciousness sometimes. We have to much of it. It has eveolved because it allowed us to outwit tasty animals that could run much faster than we can.

But after you've caught enough to eat for a few days, consciousness is merely a burden, a system for needling you with options that you don't need, spare desires, memories that you could do without.

I use malt whisky meself.

wv: podannym = anything that resembles a pea without being a pea.

Karen Gillett said...

I'm such a fan of Krister Henriksson I started a Facebook group celebrating his work. He is a master of subtlety and just seems to get better with age.

As good as Wallander is, it doesn't always show just how good an actor Henriksson is.

Still, unless you import his work like I do, Wallander is probably the only thing British fans can really enjoy him in.

Just 4 episodes left now ...sigh.