Rating :   ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

Categorisation: Satirical crime drama

Availability: Netflix

Plot: A gruesome murder occurs in Norrbacka, a small Swedish hamlet north of Stockholm. Sophie Borg, a Swedish detective, is assigned to the case. Very soon we find that Sophie is no Saga Norén, the flawed but gifted protagonist from The Bridge. They do look a bit alike and they are both inclined to strip off their sweaty tee shirts in the middle of the office when they feel the need to freshen up. But this is where the similarity ends. Sophie is aggressive, inclined to be trigger happy, and is an all-round disaster as a member of the police. In fact, she has been sent from Stockholm to Norrbacka as a punishment and it’s her last chance to redeem herself.  In an act of collegial support, the British police send Tom Brown, an equally incompetent detective who is also on his last-chance assignment. Together they miss clues and bungle their way through the investigation. Sophie continues to shoot people, and both detectives teeter on the brink of being fired. Not exactly Wallander, or Inspector Morse, although both get a mention in Fallet. But what’s great fun about this series is the way in which it hilariously subverts what we’ve come to expect of crime thrillers, while using them shamelessly to drive their comedic agenda.   

Cast:  Adam Godley plays the rather timid, yet gentlemanly Tom, and Lisa Henni plays the trigger happy Swede. As characters, they are complete opposites. She is brash and impulsive, while he is overly polite and apologetic, and they are terrific together.  The dialogue is funny, and the the supporting cast is hilarious, in particular the hopeless local chief of police Klas (Tomas von Brömssen) and his equally clueless son Bill (Christoffer Nordenrot). Both are consistently funny throughout the series, along with Stina Rautelin as Sonja Mustanaamio the team’s Finnish forensic scientist. She invariably has some grotesque fact to add at the most inappropriate moment. 

Filming and setting: Fallet cleverly uses locations from previous Scandinavian crime dramas – bleak landscapes, dark forests, and familiar scary scenes such as sinister dolls hanging from ceilings, criminals in animal heads making podcasts – that kind of thing, and all very recognisable from well known Nordic crime programmes. But this time it’s in Norrbacka with the heroes running amok in the small Swedish village that Sophie describes as “a shitty little town with horrible restaurants…” Norrbacka is her hometown and there is no doubt that she’d rather be in Stockholm. But it all looks a rather quaint from the aerial shots. Filmed in eight short thirty-minute episodes, the action bounds along.

Personal Comments:  I liked this series. It turns crime series-watching on its head, satirising the grim detective programmes that we see more and more of these days. It presents us with a polar opposite of the clever, intuitive and brilliant crime-solving teams we find in both Swedish and British crime drama. Fallet gives us an incompetent, impulsive police presence that invariably misses critical clues, accidentally shoots people, and officers being constantly on the verge of losing their jobs. It parodies crime drama, but in fact, it satirises everything. It takes potshots at gender politics, and just about every other emancipatory policy that characterises contemporary Swedish society. While the humour is not for everyone, if you like quirky and a fresh send-up of Nordic Noir, then you might like this one. It’s great fun.

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