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Wallander (BBC-1 2008-2016, Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Smart)

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In this excellent crime drama series Inspector Kurt Wallander investigates murder in the Swedish town of Ystad. Wallander has just split up from his wife and is living on his own for the first time in a very long time, his grown up daughter Linda is somewhat concerned that he devotes more time to the police than his personal life, Kurt also has a difficult relationship with his aging father Povel who has started to develop Alzheimers.

The atmosphere is superb, the wide flat open and above all permanently frosty spaces of Sweden captured in loving detail. Kenneth Branagh captures Kurt Wallander’s world weariness incredibly well. Henning Mankell who pens the Wallander series is hugely popular and has said that he likes to use the Wallander books and indeed all the fiction he writes to make pointed references to the troubles faced by modern Sweden, not least in the way it deals with its ever growing immigrant population and it is good to see that the series too doesn’t shy away from this.

It’s high budget, very well made and with some very good acting talent right across the board from Branagh himself to the always superb David Warner as his father and the up and coming Sarah Smart as Anne-Britt, Kurt’s right hand on the squad.

After a gap of four years Kenneth Branagh returned to the role for three more feature length stories, bringing up the total to 12 and bringing to a close the series with the filming of all Mankell’s Wallander novels completed. The series ended fittingly too with Kurt retiring from the police force after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers – the disease that killed his father.

Trivia wise season four actually received it’s world premiere on German TV on 25 Dec 2015 (and stripped across the following two evenings) as German network ARD were amongst the co-producers of the series. The season also aired in Poland in March 2016 before finally getting an English language  premiere in April (BBC UK TV New Zealand from 11 April) and May (8 May on PBS in the US and 22 May on BBC One in the UK). The UK episodes were also 8 minutes longer than the ones seen on PBS.

production details
UK / BBC-1 – Yellow Bird – WGBH Boston – Film i Skane / 12×90 minute episodes / Broadcast 2008 – 2016

Writers: Richard McBrien, Richard Cottan / Books: Henning Mankell / Title Music: Emily Barker and Martin Phipps / Production Design: Jacqueline Abrahams / Costumes: Katja Watkins / Executive Producers: Anne Mensah, Rebecca Eaton, Hans-Wolfgang Jurgan, Francis Hopkinson, Ole Sondeberg, Anni Faurbye, Andy Harries, Kenneth Branagh / Producer: Simon Moseley

cast
KENNETH BRANAGH as Wallander
SARAH SMART as Anne-Britt Hoglund
SADIE SHIMMIN as Lisa Holgersson
DAVID WARNER as Povel Wallander
TOM BEARD as Svedberg
TOM HIDDLESTON as Martinsson
RICHARD McCABE as Nyberg
JEANY SPARK as Linda Wallander

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE
1. SIDETRACKED
2. FIREWALL
3. ONE STEP BEHIND

SEASON TWO
1. FACELESS KILLERS
2. THE MAN WHO SMILED
3. THE FIFTH WOMAN

SEASON THREE
1. AN EVENT IN AUTUMN
2. THE DOGS OF RIGA
3. BEFORE THE FROST

SEASON FOUR
1. THE WHITE LIONESS
2. A LESSON IN LOVE
3. THE TROUBLED MAN

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