The Swedish cops are back to blast a hole in BBC4’s Saturday nights
★★★½ BBC4, week of Saturday, 17 October
SWEDEN’S A-Team – or A Unit, as they prefer – is back for a second series of the cop-action show that proved a break-out hit on BBC4 in 2013.
As Nordic aficionados know, these stories are based on the crime novels of Jan Arnald, under the pen name Arne Dahl. The first series was a big enough international success to propel Matias Varela, who played the hacker member of the team, Jorge Chavez, to Hollywood for the blockbuster Point Break. Alexander Salzberger takes over the role in this new series.
It opens with a two-parter, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, picking up the action a couple of years after the first series. Paul Hjelm is now divorced and in a relationship with Kerstin. While he is now in charge of the internal affairs section, she is made head of the A Unit to investigate a nasty outbreak of Polish mafia murders in Sweden.
The old gang are reunited, including Gunnar – ‘Probably Sweden’s strongest policeman’ – Arto the analyst, and Jorge, of course. Sara is the team’s expert on paedophile crimes, also returns, while Ida – pronounced Eeda – is the new face, and a multilingual asset.
Polish hitman on the loose
Arne Dahl is a fast-paced, multi-stranded mix of personal cop stories and brutal crime, and this latest offering sticks to the formula. The crimes being probed involve Polish hitmen taking out female health workers from Poznan, who’ve fled an ingenious funeral racket.
That’s right, funerals. The Polish godfathers control the funeral business and upped demand for their services by having the health workers euthanise old folk in their care.
Trouble is, some of the women have fled to Sweden and the men chasing them think nothing of marching through Swedish hospitals shooting anyone who might cross them.
It’s not as good or original as The Killing or The Bridge, but Arne Dahl is a smartly made and pretty gripping action-drama. Scandi fans will be mumbling tack as the series steps into the slot left by Beck on BBC4.