🇸🇪 Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders 🇸🇪
(By Gina Meardon)
Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders (2017-) is a Swedish crime drama. Season 1 on All4 Walters Presents in the U.K. (S2 arrives Friday January 8th 2021). Acorn in the US and Canada. 8 x 45 minutes (S1)
Ida Engvoll – Rebecka Martinsson
Eva Melander – Anna Maria Mella
Jakob Öhrman – Krister Eriksson
Ville Virtanen – Lars Pohjanen
Ardalan Esmaili – Tommy Rantakyrö
Lars Lind – Sivving Fjällborg
Based on the novels by Åsa Larsson
When a childhood friend suddenly dies Rebecka Martinsson returns home to the north of Kiruna. But not everything is what it seems.
Rebecka is a successful lawyer (advocat) about to become a partner in a prestigious Stockholm law firm when she gets a phone call that changes the course of her well-ordered life. A close friend has died suddenly and she heads home for the funeral.
Home is Kiruna, worlds away from the bright lights of Stockholm, in Lapland, North of the Arctic Circle. Blanketed by snow and home to the Northern Lights, this stunning icy landscape shares centre stage alongside Rebecka throughout the season. Its ever-present bleak and desolate beauty is used to maximum effect through excellent cinematography. As a viewer you ‘feel’ the cold of the long winters.
As with other Scandi noir there is a central thread that weaves its way through the first season but also 4 separate stories, each unfolding over 2 episodes. The 2 main leads are both strong female characters, which is refreshing, although both are very different in personality. Rebecka, the Stockholm high-flyer, finds herself reassessing who she actually is whilst helping to solve murder cases. Meanwhile tough cop Anna Maria juggles her team of male colleagues at the same time as producing a healthy brood of babies, seemingly effortlessly.
The storylines are harsh and gritty. There is violence and brutality, coarse language and a liberal amount of sex and nudity thrown in. There is also black humour and Scandi quirkiness – where else would you see a terminally ill pathologist smoking his way through an autopsy, or getting roaring drunk on homebrew with Rebecka, whilst poring over the remains of a bloodied shirt looking for evidence?
The cast blend well together. Eva Melander stands out in her role as Anna Maria. Ardalan Esmaili (Greyzone), who is a superb actor in his own right, plays cop Tommy effortlessly and the quirky pathologist (Lars Lind as Sivving Fjällborg) steals pretty much all the scenes he is in. I also like dog handler Krister, played by Jacob Öhrman, whose role develops as the series unfolds.
In season one Rebecka was played by Ida Engvoll, who I thought owned the role. However Ida took the decision to leave after the first season and she has now been replaced by Sascha Zacharias, although the rest of the regular cast are back to reprise their roles.
Ida was superb in the role, bringing insight and intuition but also a fraility and vulnerability to her personality. She was impulsive yet hesitant at the same time. Season 2 has aired in Sweden and Finland to mixed reviews, so it shall be interesting to see whether the second season will have the same appeal as the first when it finally arrives on these shores. However, for now, I can thoroughly recommend (if you haven’t seen it already) that you kick back, with the heating on and a decent beverage, and immerse yourself in the deadly beauty of the Arctic Circle.
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