Got a thirst for chilling mysteries in even colder places? Tara Ward rounds up the best in Nordic Noir on Lightbox.
To celebrate the arrival of mystery-thriller Jordskott to Lightbox, we’ve gathered together an extensive list of the best Scandi-noir dramas around. Stop drawing sad faces into your window condensation, because what better way to spend a long, dark winter than watching other people having a longer, darker winter? And with subtitles! Europe, never stop being exotic.
Let’s set the Scandi-noir table with a smorgasbord of delicious dishes, from Norwegian mysteries to Danish murders to creepy Tasmanian trees. Binge away, my pretties, gorge yourselves until you explode and your dismembered body lies bleeding on a bridge between two countries.
Or you could just read this, and then watch the shows. Up to you.
Location: Norway, land of deep fjords and furrowed brows
Silver fox Aksel Borgen returns to Norway 20 years after being acquitted for the murder of his high school sweetheart. Not everyone is stoked to see Aksel back, even when he’s throwing megabucks around to save the town from going down the great Norwegian plughole. Acquitted is a mystery drama filled with emotions that run deeper than this timeless fjord.
Watch out for: Stunning scenery that will make you want to move to Norway, change your name to Olav and spend your days counting fish.
Location: The far north of Sweden, where the sun never sets and they play Abba’s ‘Chiquitita’ on repeat 24/7*
Don’t let the title fool you, this is definitely not part of the Twilight series. This Midnight Sun follows the investigation of the holy-moses-I-can’t-believe-I-just-saw-that murder of a French citizen in the remote town of Karuna. Detective Kahina Zadi travels to Sweden to solve the crime, but discovers someone – probably Edward Cullen – is playing silly buggers i.e. going on a murderous rampage.
Watch out for: The opening scene featuring a man tied to a spinning helicopter rotor. Hold onto your jawbone, this is quite the ride.
Location: A bridge over troubled waters, Sweden, Denmark
When a dismembered body is found on the bridge that joins Sweden with Denmark, two detectives are forced to work together to solve the crime. The Bridge is a moody, multilayered drama packed with intriguing characters, especially the leather pant loving investigator Saga Noren. Another highlight: the all-too-brief possibility the murder was library related.
Watch out for: Social worker Stefan, who was possibly (definitely) separated at birth from Gavin and Stacey’s Dave Coaches.
Location: Denmark, aka the happiest country in the world
Wriggle into your scratchiest jersey and wrap your ocular nerves around season two of the gripping drama The Killing. The fabulously intense Sarah Lund and her collection of knitted jumpers return to solve another puzzling crime, this time a complex case of political intrigue and personal drama that takes Lund from Denmark to Afghanistan.
(FYI I saw no evidence of hygge in The Killing, which made me blow out my scented candles and drop kick my cosy blanket off the balcony in a blind Scandi-duped rage).
Watch out for: The chance to knit your own Sarah Lund jersey, a task as complex as solving the murder on The Killing. Maybe also knit yourself a hanky to cry into, because the poor victim was murdered before she could finish her tea.
Location: America, aka the 13th happiest country in the world
Just like The Office and Man About The House, America couldn’t resist getting their greedy little hands on The Killing. Thankfully the US version received critical acclaim and Mireille Enos a shit-ton of nominations for her portrayal of Sarah Linden. Set in rainy Seattle, The Killing US teems with as much atmosphere as the Danish version, with interesting variations in plot and characters.
Watch out for: Everything. No subtitles means you don’t have to concentrate on those tricky words at the bottom of the screen. God bless America!
Bonus: The Kettering Incident
Location: Australia, where the bloody hell are ya??
I’m 85% sure Tasmania is nowhere near Scandinavia, but I’ve included The Kettering Incident because it oozes noir like a pine forest oozes secrets and dead bodies. Dr Anna Macy wakes from a blackout to find herself back in Tasmania and linked to the disappearance of two girls, fifteen years apart. If that doesn’t sound intriguing enough, frozen birds fall from the sky. Straya!
Watch out for: Ever wondered where Bree Timmins from Neighbours ended up? She moved to bloody Kettering!
Bonus: Top of the Lake
Location: sweet, sweet, hygge free New Zealand
Again, this mystery drama makes the list because it’s atmospheric and moody and bloody hell, it was made in New Zealand. Who needs scented candles and woolly jumpers when you have this Jane Campion masterpiece at your fingertips?
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