DNA Season 1: A Non-Spoiler Review

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Poster for season 1 of DNA showing the main character centre with 2 others either side. They appear over the city. Centrally is an image of a petrol station and a forensic tent etc.


DNA (2019-) is a Danish crime-drama-mystery-thriller available on BBC iPlayer in the U.K., Viaplay US & Canada (US Roku, Canada Gem, just Season 1, SBS On Demand Australia).

This is a review for Season 1 of DNA which has 8 episodes of approximately 40 minutes in length. Rated Guidance U.K. for content. In Danish, Polish, French and English with embedded subtitles.


“Five years after his daughter’s disappearance, Danish police officer Rolf discovers a fatal flaw in the DNA database and might finally be able to find her.” IMDb


Anders W. Berthelsen as Rolf Larsen
Zofia Wichlacz as Julita
Olivia Joof Lewerissa as Neel
Johanne Louise Schmidt as Marie Larsen
Sigurd Holmen le Dous as Stahl
Charlotte Rampling as Claire Bobin
Nicolas Bro as Jarl Skaubo
Trine Pallesen as Astrid Oxlev
Louise Mieritz as Eva Skaubo
Lars Berge as Thorstein


Creator: Torleif Hoppe
Writers: Torleif Hoppe, Nanna Westh
Composer: Jacob Groth
Cinematographers: Jørgen Johansson, Jan Pallesen, Sherif Amer


Inspired by true events.


North Jutland, Denmark
Czech Republic


Somehow I had inexplicably missed DNA series 1 when it first arrived in the U.K. on the BBC. Finally, last week, I decided I really must rectify this as there had been so much talk about it with the recent arrival of the second series. So what did I make of DNA?

There’s a lot to like about this series. The acting throughout is excellent, especially, I thought from the male lead. Of course, Charlotte Rampling is perfect in her role; a great choice. All this is helped along by what seemed to be a realistic dialogue which avoided the trap of sounding overwritten, or artificial.

The character development is good and I very much liked the chemistry between the main characters. Their dynamics were interesting. Everyone had some kind of motivation. Perhaps the French detective is a little “thinner” than others but she acts as a great, rational and experienced “cooler” eye and presence. That refutes how French characters are sometimes portrayed in dramas from other countries. The only issue I could find with casting is that someone really well known in what appears to be a fairly minor role can “ping” on a viewer’s “why-is-he-in-it?” radar…

Upon occasion, there were parts of the story that were a little too convenient or coincidental, but disregarding those, this was a well-constructed story. I did take (probably) far too long to realise that the baby’s mother in Poland storyline wasn’t concurrent with most of what was happening elsewhere. I’d have to watch it again to check if I was just being a bit dim or whether that was completely intentional.

This series puts a spotlight on a real-life issue of baby trafficking and historical abuses by the church and others.

They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this is one of the main points of this story. The repercussions of what is done, regardless of the intentions, are horrendous. For the biological parent/s, the adoptive parents, the child, authorities and others who are involved in the whole ghastly situation. Parts are extremely emotional and upsetting (especially the end scenes).

I very much liked the direction and cinematography in this and the music also worked extremely well.

To summarise, I found DNA Series 1 to be a compelling, well-written and acted drama with engaging characters, visuals and sound. I look forward to watching series 2 very shortly.


1 Danish Film Awards (Robert) Nomination (2020)

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