Wallander (BBC 2008-2012 TV Series)

4 Kernels

 Stars:  Kenneth Branagh

For some reason, I have this morbid fascination with the complex male character.  Wallander feeds my need to crawl inside the male brain and watch a man driven by inward demons perform his difficult job of catching killers.

It is a BBC series, now streaming the first three seasons on Netflix, about a Swedish detective. (I have read there is to be a season four in 2014, but I’m having difficulty finding if it’s been released or filmed.)  The stories are violent, sometimes sick, as the intense detective searches for the answer.  However, it’s not always the search for the killer that is intriguing about this series. It’s more the character of Kurt Wallander, as he goes through life trying to find meaning for everything around him.

From a broken marriage, a dysfunctional relationship with his daughter, and a strained relationship with his father, it’s a good challenge for a psychologist.  As for my personal tastes, it holds the keys to great drama – an interesting story line to keep you guessing and a subplot of the main character’s life as it intertwines into his daily routine.

Putting aside the annoying ring tone on his telephone, it never seems to end getting him up at all hours of the night fetching him to the latest gruesome murder.  Set in Sweden with beautiful landscape, the stories are adaptations of novels by a Swedish author, Henning Mankell’s,  An impressive list of books are available on Amazon.

Frankly, I’m not too keen on violent murders. Be forewarned quite a few of these are not a pretty sight. Nevertheless, I found the series deeply intriguing because of the character. There is something about him that makes you empathize with his pain.  You see it, but he never articulates it.  His relationships are estranged, and sadly he realizes he is the way he is because of his vocation.  Not many crime series move me to tears, except one in particular in Season 2, “The Fifth Woman.”  The ending was a powerful climax to catching a serial killer and a breaking point for Wallander that was unprecedented.

Kenneth Branagh’s performance in this series is top notch.  With a long line of awards and other nominations for best actor, it’s quite obvious he makes this series the time worth watching. If you are looking for a great and intense crime series, you should microwave the popcorn and check this one out.

UPDATE 5-2016: Season 4 is now on PBS.  This is the last, as Wallender is about to face his biggest challenge.

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