Arne Dahl – The Blinded Man, BBC4 PREVIEW

Arne Dahl, TV series, shot of the six detectives and boss Jenny Hultin
The magnificent six brought together by boss Jenny Hultin, centre

Rating: ★★★½ 

BBC4: starts Saturday, 6 April (to be confirmed)

Story: A special police unit is set up after three businessmen are murdered on consecutive nights. Detective Jenny Hultin leads the so-called A Unit to investigate the killings while the financial world panics.

BBC4’s Nordic invasion of Saturday nights shows no signs of abating as this latest thriller, from Sweden this time, arrives. Where The Killing gave us the iconic Sarah Lund and The Bridge had the odd couple of Saga Noren and Martin Rohde, Arne Dahl is an action-driven ensemble piece.

A crack squad of six detectives is recruited by senior officer Jenny Hultin to investigate a series of shootings of leading businessmen. The magnificent six is an amalgam of talents, including legal whiz Aarto, strongman Gunnar, computer hound Jorge and action man Paul, whose dominates the opener, The Blinded Man.

We meet him as he goes all Clint Eastwood during a hostage situation, when he shoots a man fighting extradition. He’s rescued by Jenny Hultin from an Internal Affairs investigation and brings his obsessive, marriage-jeopardising intensity to catching the Fat Cat Killer.

Arne Dahl's Viggo meets the mafia in The Blinded Man
Viggo in trouble with the mob

Estonian mafia
Working round the clock the ‘A Unit’ run into the mafia in Estonia and try to work out how a Russian bank robber’s murder by a dart to the eye, of all things, may tie in. One of the team, the usually desk-bound Viggo, ends up having a very nasty encounter with the mobsters in Tallinn. And there is the conundrum of a Theolonius Monk CD, Mysterioso, left playing when the assassin is interrupted during the murder of his fifth victim.

The Blinded Man, a one of a series of dramas based on novels by Swedish novelist Arne Dahl (the pen name of writer/critic Jan Arnald). It unfolds in two 90-minute films, leaving plenty of scope to flesh the odd bunch of detectives.

There’s nose-picking Viggo, former steroid abuser Gunnar, and the oddball father of five Aarto, who calls his children by number rather than name because it’s ‘rational’. Paul does not like Jorge, and ace interrogator Kerstin finds time for a fling with another member of the Unit.

Bit corny at the end

Arne Dahl's Paul and Kerstin in The Blinded Man
Paul and Kerstin get ready to move in

In the best tradition of all those Dirty Dozen-type actioners, even our own New Tricks, part of the fun is watching this bunch of rough diamonds bonding once the heat is on. It all gets a bit corny by the end as detectives who were staring daggers at each other one minute, abruptly find themselves moving into man-crush territory before the end credits.

Just as the novels of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson have ushered in a flood of less-than-brilliant Nordic crime novels, so The Killing has created a rush for the more stoic detectives from the frozen north.

That’s not to say Arne Dahl is not a good Saturday night crime bash. But it has none of brooding depth and deep characterisation of The Killing, or the freshness of The Bridge.

Cast: Malin Arvidsson Kerstin Holm, Irene Lindh Jenny Hultin,Claes Ljungmark Viggo Norlander, Shanti Roney Paul Hjelm, Magnus Samuelsson Gunnar Nyberg, Matias Varela Jorge Chavez, Niklas Åkerfelt Aarto Söderstedt, Björn Andersson Rickard Franzén, Anders Beckman Kuno Daggfelt, Nikolai Bentsler Alexander Brjusov, Sofia Berg-Böhm Doctor, Andreas Björklund Reporter, Mats Blomgren Dan Mörner, Suzanna Dilber Veronica Mårtensson, Magnus Ehrner Nils-Emil Carlberg

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It was rubbish.

  2. New Tricks with a bit of grit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You see a bit of Sweden… always interesting to see the darkness and the starkness and doors that open outwards…. It’s that requirement for a fix of IKEA.
    Hardened Scandivision fans need a shot of Lund but the pushers on the street can’t supply…… Cold Turkey Dahl (Christmas menu at the Bengal Tiger perhaps?)

  4. This is a great series, so much so I keep watching the episodes on the BBC Iplayer! Sweden is producing some great grip the edge of your seat dramas! Check out the Millennium Trilogy the first being the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

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