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Arne Dahl

Arne Dahl

Sat Apr 6, 9-10.30pm, BBC4

By Gabriel Tate
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Series one, episode one
We’ve become so used to our Lunds, Wallanders and Norens that this genuine ensemble piece – based on crime yarn 'The Blinded Man' by the eponymous Dahl – feels like a novelty in Nordic noir. And, while there are moments of bleakness and violence, there’s plenty of humour too, from the mordant to the jaunty (one utterly bizarre moment of surreal comedy is handled so casually that you’re prepared to let it pass).

Paul Hjelm (Shanti Roney) is the nominal lead, one of a dozen mismatched Swedish officers recruited by CID inspector Jenny Hultin to catch a killer targeting wealthy financiers. And with expertise comes plenty of emotional baggage as the team uneasily bonds in a crappy basement office reminiscent of ‘The Wire’s’ phone tapping unit.

Parallel stories of a bungled bank robbery and Estonian mafiosi then begin to intrude on the investigation, climaxing in a moment of shocking violence to set up next week’s conclusion of this two-parter handsomely (although there are eight further episodes to come). Anyone who thought ‘Sebastian Bergman’ might represent BBC4 scraping the barrel of Scandinavian policiers can relax: this is confidently directed and compellingly plotted, with a tone as eclectic as its Mozart-by-way-of-Thelonius-Monk soundtrack.
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