Spring Tide S1 ~ Spoiler Review

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Photo montage of scenes from Spring  Tide series 1. Central image is the theatrical poster for the show


Spring Tide (2016-) season 1 is a Swedish crime drama, mystery thriller. Available at present on STV player; Hoopla, MHz Choice USA & Can. 10 x 45 min episodes. Viewer discretion advised. In Swedish, Spanish and English with English subtitles.


“A student at the Police Academy is tasked to study a cold case: the murder of a pregnant woman on a Swedish beach 25 years ago.” IMDb


Julia Ragnarsson as Olivia Rönning
Kjell Bergqvist as Tom Stilton
Cecilia Nilsson as Mette Olsäter
Dar Salim as Abbas El Fassi
Michaela Thorsén as Lisa
Arvin Kananian as Bosse
Michael Segerström as Mårten Olsäter
Johan Widerberg as Minken
Görel Crona as Jackie Berglund
Malena Engström as Ovette
Iggy Malmborg as Lennie
Leonard Samuelsson as Acke
Helena Bergström as Linn Magnusson
Peter Carlberg as Alexander Nordic
Dag Malmberg as Nils Wendt
Gustav Lindh as Liam
Dakota Trancher Williams as Adam

Swedish-language poster for the show Spring Tide (Springfloden)


Directors: Niklas Ohlson, Pontus Klänge, Mattias Ohlsson
Writers: Cilla Börjlind, Rolf Börjlind
Composer: Johan Söderqvist
Cinematographer: Benjam Orre, Johan Holmquist, Mats Axby
Editor: Rickard Krantz, Emil Stenberg, Linda Jildmalm, Malin Lindström
Costume: Marie Flyckt
Production Designer: Lars Andersson
Makeup: Jessica Svensson


This first season of Spring Tide is based on the novel of the same name by Cecilia Börjlind and Rolf Börjlind who also wrote this series.

The theme song is “No Rest for Me” written by Jonathan Johansson and Johan Eckeborn and is performed by Jonathan Johansson.

Filming locations are Costa Rica, Gothenburg and Stockholm.

Alternative Swedish-language poster for the show Spring Tide


⚠️ This review contains some spoilers ⚠️

I have not read the book upon which Spring Tide series 1 is based so I arrived at this series without any prior expectations. I had however read a lot of positive responses to it airing on STV (I watched via Sky in the U.K.). I do love diving into a series or film knowing next to nothing about it.

The first season of Spring Tide has a very strong narrative divided into a main and a subplot. The characters are very well drawn and developed, not only main characters such as Olivia and Tom but those in their orbit.

Julia Ragnarsson (right) as Olivia Rönning and Kjell Bergqvist (left) as Tom Stilton in Spring Tide

The main plot here is of a cold case of a murdered pregnant woman, the connection to Olivia being that it was a case with which her late father, a detective, was obsessed. It is this case that brings her into contact with Tom Stilton, an ex-detective who now lives as a vagrant.

With Olivia, we see a young woman who is still grieving for her father and is following in his footsteps in more than one way. She has a difficult relationship with her mother. She is in training so chooses the case ostensibly just for her academic studies but it is clear that there is far more to it than that. The character development we see in Olivia during the course of this first season is well handled. Great acting throughout by Julia Ragnarsson who shows enormous range, and subtlety.

Julia Ragnarsson as Olivia Rönning in a scene from Spring Tide.

Tom is a man with serious issues, living on the streets and even within the homeless community somewhat aloof. Initially, it is a series of serious assaults upon homeless people that are figuring in everyone’s minds but this only hits home for Tom when a very close friend is brutally murdered. Kjell Bergqvist is phenomenal as Tom.

Kjell Bergqvist as Tom Stilton in a scene from Spring Tide S1

The supporting characters in this show are so well-written from Abbas (Dar Salim), who clearly has more hidden depths, to the hilarious Minken (Johan Widerberg) and the vicious Liam (Gustav Lindh). The young boy Acke (Leonard Samuelsson) really impressed me. I will say that there is not a single weak link in this cast.

Johan Widerberg as Minken in a scene from Spring Flood

The themes of Spring Tide are clearly written but not “preachy”. I love that a whole storyline is devoted to the homeless, the prostitutes, the addicts… Those who live on the edges of society yet are the product of that very society. This story delves deeply into reasons for homelessness, addiction and prostitution. It also shines a light upon societal views upon those who are marginalised. Some within the police (and elsewhere) discount “them” as being less important and entitled to justice. It is addiction that is one of the main links to the main storyline, the murder of the young, pregnant woman.

Gustav Lindh (right) as Liam and Dakota Trancher Williams (left) as Adam in a scene from Spring Tide

Related to this are the reasons for violence, especially violence in men and particularly young men. We see through the brutal beatings of the homeless, their being recorded and “going viral” that this transcends those carrying out those beatings (and sadly, inevitably, murder). The concept of people betting on young boys cage fighting is both repulsive and shocking. We can however see how and why young boys are dragged into this through their need for money and other family issues.

Dar Salim as Abbas in a scene from Spring Tide

There is a good balance between the story which takes us, and Abbas, away from Sweden and to Costa Rica (which is a great opportunity for Dar Salim to speak Spanish as well as Swedish and English – he is Danish – and throw knives!) and the story which is firmly placed within Stockholm. Another aspect of Spring Tide that adds balance to what is a very dark storyline is the humour that is injected every so often. This works extremely well and had me laughing out loud. Laughter and tears are close bedfellows.

Cecilia Nilsson as Mette Olsäter in a scene from Spring Tide

The main story is one of love and greed. Both stories revolve around money (or the lack of) being the root of all evil. The strong social messages that are woven through this story impressed me. Alongside these though are the individual stories of grief and an empathetic tale of how severe mental health issues can plunge a man to unimaginable depths. To pick up with an analogy with the opening drowning scene, when we meet Tom he is a drowning man barely able to stay on the surface.

I just loved the cinematography in this, the saturated colours, the aerial establishing shots and the overall production design. Whoever matched Julia’s car to her eyes is a genius! The saturation makes everything deeper and richer in colour. I thought the pacing was excellent and I loved both the direction and editing. The music throughout is excellent and the theme song is atmospheric, apt and quite haunting.

The costuming is excellent. I especially enjoyed Minken’s attire but the details on the homeless costuming are particularly impressive. Talking of impressive, massive kudos to the makeup team on this because they got grubbiness (look at those fingernails) and the injury details just right.

Overall then I very much enjoyed watching season 1 of Spring Tide. It is a show that made me want, nay NEED, to know what would happen next. I cared about the characters and the situations they are in. It has strong but not overbearing social aspects (a fundamental drive of Scandinavian noir) and an engaging story and superb cast. Both the writing and the cast are impressive. I can unhesitatingly recommend Spring Tide season 1, especially for those who enjoy their noir with a little more colour.


Win: Kristallen Award (2016) Best Actor ~ Kjell Bergqvist


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