The upcoming release of new Scandinavian series Ragnarok on Netflix in January 2020 got me reminiscing about the first Scandinavian show I watched, the original The Killing series based on the books by David Hewson, which was eventually remade into an American series starring Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, which I also watched with pleasure.
While we might think of U.S. television as being overrun by crime shows, they have nothing on the Scandinavians, who seem to do it more, and do it better.
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Indulge in these eight dark Scandinavian crime dramas currently available on Netflix as you wait for Ragnarok to drop. Don’t worry, you have time, they are each just one short season.
Big city cop finds himself investigating small town crime, it is a tried and true story. When one police officer is visiting his sleepy hometown, he gets pulled into investigating a crime, which everyone seems to think is a suicide – or at least that is what they would like to be. As he digs, he finds that the quiet façade of the town he thought he knew as a child hides secrets. He also begins to uncover secrets from his own past.
Starring: Tobias Santelmann and Ellen Dorrit Peterson
Seeking a simpler life and to save his connection with his family, big city detective Kari Sorjonen moves his family to a small town. Almost immediately they find themselves facing a murder, which Kari must investigate. He must get to the bottom of the case while keeping his promises to his family, and we start to get a glimpse into why they needed to make the move to this small but far from sleepy town in the first place.
Starring: Ville Virtanen and Matleena Kuusniemi
This show is a classic crime investigation thriller in the vein of The Killing. It all starts when the body of a teenage ballet student is found hanging in a theatre. While authorities want to rule it a suicide, one feisty female detective thinks she sees foul play and investigates. As she scratches the surface, she finds that this gruesome crime is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to some seriously horrific activities.
Starring: Steinunn Olina Thorsteinsdottir and Magnus Jonsson.
Sofia Krappi is a cop who has seen too much, but is also one of the few in the police department to retain her empathy. She is called in to investigate when a woman’s body is found at a construction site. As well as the crime to unravel, she has a new partner to break in and learn how to trust. Scandinavia’s answer to the strong female cop genre that has become popular.
Starring: Pihla Viitala and Lauri Tilkanen
Certainly the lightest of the dramas on this list, a trigger happy Swedish detective finds himself partnered up with a timid British investigator as they look into a case which is not only horrific and complicated in its twists and turns, but can make and break their individual careers. With actions happening on both sides of the sea, there is a lot to follow in this drama.
Starring: Lisa Henni and Adam Godley
This crime story starts with the victim, or maybe the perpetrator, rather than the investigator charged with solving the case. In the aftermath of a bloody school shooting a young 18-year-old girl, Majn, is taken into custody. Slowly the secrets of the crime unravel and we learn the dark truth and the terrible tragedy behind the events of that day.
Starring: Hanna Ardehn and Felix Sandman
Set in a small fishing village, the locals are thrown into chaos when a torso is found among the fishing nets. The local police chief knows that he is in over his head with this gruesome crime, and calls in reinforcements, but he cannot wait and begins the investigation. When help finally does arrive, it may not be all he expected, and he has his own reasons to continue his investigation.
Starring: Olafur Darri Olafsson and Ilmur Kristjansdottir
Louise is a Copenhagen cop whose military husband has recently died in combat, but from things he had said before his death, she thinks that there is more to it than that. She recruits the help of her husband’s best friend and commanding officer to help her dig into the local gang that she thinks may be responsible. Naturally, their relationship also becomes complicated.
Starring: Dar Salim and Danica Curcic