BLUE EYES

(Nordic Noir & Be­yond) Out 20 June

Crime Scene - - CONTENTS - By NEIL SMITH

The lat­est Swedish im­port is a dark se­ries about po­lit­i­cal ex­trem­ism.

The som­bre mys­tery of The Killing meets the po­lit­i­cal in­trigue of Bor­gen in a Scandi-noir spin on House Of Cards that finds rich dra­matic cap­i­tal in the re­cent elec­toral gains that far-right par­ties have been achiev­ing across Europe. Set in the run-up to a na­tional elec­tion, this tense 10-parter could hardly be bet­ter timed, ar­riv­ing as it does just as UK vot­ers are mak­ing their own minds up about Bri­tain’s re­la­tion­ship with the con­ti­nent. Even with­out that con­text, though, Blue Eyes suc­ceeds as a com­plex and engrossing thriller with a hero­ine ev­ery bit as driven as Sarah Lund or Bir­gitte Ny­borg.

Say hello to Elin Ham­mar (Louise Peter­hoff ), a dis­graced ex-em­ployee of the Swedish jus­tice secretary who’s coaxed back by her erst­while men­tor to be his chief of staff. The former oc­cu­pant of the post has gone miss­ing, a puz­zle that sends Elin off to the place where she was last seen: a small town where the rise of ex­treme right-wingers has led to deep-seated divi­sions.

They’re par­tic­u­larly prom­i­nent in the case of Annika Nils­son (Anna Bjelkerud), a health­care worker whose sup­port for the ‘Se­cu­rity Party’ has dis­tanced her from chil­dren Si­mon (David Lind­ström) and Sofia (Karin Franz Körlof ). When a tragedy rips the fam­ily apart the lat­ter is pro­pelled to­wards Ver­i­tas, a ca­bal of neo-nazi ter­ror­ists in­tent on mak­ing their own state­ment as the coun­try gets ready to go to the polls…

With scenes in­volv­ing shoot­ings, stab­bings and sum­mary executions, Blue Eyes of­ten falls prey to lurid sen­sa­tion­al­ism of the Home­land va­ri­ety. What it can’t be ac­cused of, how­ever, is clos­ing its eyes to what is fast be­com­ing a dis­taste­ful real­ity: a po­lit­i­cal land­scape in which mod­er­ate par­ties are forced to find com­mon ground with fac­tions on the dis­tant fringes of the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum. If the show’s ul­ti­mate con­clu­sion – that they’re all as morally bank­rupt and cor­rupt as one an­other – is a dispir­it­ing one, it is at least a mes­sage we can all get be­hind. In Peter­hoff mean­while, it has a lead­ing lady to whom we’d be happy to give an­other term in of­fice.

“BLUE EYES SUC­CEEDS AS A COM­PLEX AND ENGROSSING THRILLER WITH A DRIVEN HERO­INE”

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