The Niagara Falls Review

Nordic Noir hits keep coming

The Killing created a new way to tell crime stories


LONDON — Millions of people around t he world have become avid fans of what is known as Nordic Noir detective and crime stories set in Scandinavi­a, with the next question after whodunit being why are they so successful?

The Bridge, a subtitled Dani sh- Swedish eco- t errorism crime saga reached its conclusion on British TV on Saturday with more than a million viewers — the latest internatio­nal success for the TV, film and literary genre.

Coinciding with the show’s climax, a weekend “Nordicana” conference of all things Nordic, from actors to food, brought many of the genre’s unlikely stars to London where one of the questions they were peppered with was: Why does this work?

“I hope it’s the quality of the drama and the essential things of humanity that you can imagine in all countries,” said actor Sidse Babett Knudsen. Playing the role of Birgitte Nyborg, she became Denmark’s first, if fictional, female prime minister in the first season of the political drama Borgen.

Life l ater imitated art and Helle Thorning - Schmidt, whose “selfie” with U. S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service made headlines, became Denmark’s first real female premier in 2011.

Nordic Noir has a long vintage.

Perhaps t he best known recent success was Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series of novels, starting with 2005’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They have sold more than 60 million copies and been made into Swedish and U.S. films.

But f or Nordic TV drama, the lodestone was The Killing first produced by Danish public broadcaste­r DR in 2007 and starring Sofie Grabol as Detective Inspector Sarah Lund.

“We would be nowhere with a series like Borgen if it hadn’t been for The Killing,” Babett Kudsen told Reuters.

The Killing has been sold in more than 135 countries and territorie­s, led to a U. S. remake, and made Lund’s trademark rustic knitted jumpers a fashion item.

Piv Bernth, the show’s producer and now DR’s head of drama, said by e- mail that The

Killing created a new way of telling a crime story.

“One killing in 20 episodes — you had to wait until the end if you would find out who did it,” he said. “At the same time, we told a profound story about people and destinies in a modern society.”

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