Midnight Sun

Created by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein
Starring Leila Bekhti, Gustaf Hammarsten, Peter Stormare and Albin Grenholm
On UK DVD, Blu-ray and EST from May 8th 2017
Available at HMV, Zavvi

by Gemsy

I first became aware that the new crime thriller TV series by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein, the writers of The Bridge, wasn’t for the faint-hearted in the first eight seconds of episode one. I won’t spoil a gruesome scene for you, but I will say that I now have a newfound respect for the power of fan rotation. And the word ‘splat’.

Bravely shunning the usual shadowy style of Nordic Noir, Midnight Sun is set in Kiruna, a small Swedish mining town, at the time of summer when the sun never sets (see what they did with the title there?). A set of brutal and jolly inventive murders bring together two unlikely heroes, Anders Harnesk and Kahina Zadi, for the investigation of a whodunnit/whydunnit mystery.

Our protagonists, more packed with issues than a pathological hoarder comic-enthusiast’s attic, aren’t the usual police types. Anders, a slightly hapless, wet blanket of a prosecutor, is bullied by everyone down to his teenage daughter and has a passion for obeying rules that borders on a disorder (can anyone say ‘room for character development’?). Kahina, meanwhile, appears to be a bit of a tit: in the first episode she pretends to be her own answerphone message to avoid speaking to friends not long before legging it when a family member turns up on her doorstep in need. And not just to the local park for an hour: to an entirely different country.

Predictably but enjoyably, the two overcome their shortcomings to become an effective and zealous team. The duo must keep one eye on the bubbling pot of racial-hatred in the town, threatening to boil over when apparent connections between the homicides and the already unpopular local indigenous race are discovered, alongside peeling back the tear-inducing layers of a complex conspiracy, with enemies on all sides, before time runs out and the whole thing turns into a burnt lasagne. (I may be cooking while writing this.)

Midnight Sun isn’t going to revolutionise Nordic Noir. Instead, it brings a fantastically thrilling crime series with mind-blowing scenery to compliment the already successful genre. Contrasting moments of lighthearted humour and genuinely disturbing plot feed a nail-biting tension that will keep your local manicurist in employment for weeks. Breathtaking to the last – and not just for the audience – this will make you laugh, cry, question who can be trusted and be really tempted to try cheese in coffee (warning: cheddar in a latte doesn’t work in the same way). A superb addition to Mårlind and Stein’s growing collection of successes.


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