Danish crime drama – good and bad

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Danish TV crime drama is receiving a great number of accolades these years. Ingrid Dahl, Sarah Lund (in the US remake The Killing called Sarah Linden), Hallgrim Ørn Hallgrimsson, Rasmus, Jasmina and Jonas have been nominated to or received an Emmy award.

The Icelandic sweater from the Faroe Islands, Sarah Lund, subtitled on British BBC4 has been called brilliant, amazing, most intensely thrilling televison drama experience in British broadcasting of the moment, a diamond of a series – complex, dramatic, thoroughly gripping and the best thing on TV right now (in February 2011).

Before the modern Danish crime drama we had “En by i Provinsen” from 1977 which was quite good. But then we had the “Rejseholdet”, i.e., the first “Rejseholdet” from 1983. The series with Ingrid Dahl from 2000 was in Danish also called “Rejseholdet” (English: “Unit 1”) but the difference between this two series is big.

The 1983 “Rejseholdet” can be found in the Danish Broadcasting Corporation archive and is amazingly bad. Unbrilliant. On IMDb it gets a formidable 4.5 grade. Almost everything is wrong here: Script, direction, acting, sound track, the set, the lightning, the sound recording and the editing. According to IMDb it was suppose to have 18 episodes but 12 episodes were cancelled “due to overwhelming negative response from critics and viewers”. It was presented as a crime comedie and yes indeed it is funny at times, but only unintended when the lines and acting becomes hilariously bad.

The beginning of modern Danish crime drama might be the 1987 “Een gang Strømer…” (Once a cop) with effective editing, fine acting and a memorable title song Sjæl i flammer by Kasper Winding and Lars Muhl.

Of the newer crime drama sound tracks we have the Forgiveness title song from The Eagle. Also a nice one in 2000 Rejseholdet title song. Outside crime drama we have Tim Christensen’s beautiful Right Next To The Right One song from Emmy-awarded Nikolaj og Julie. Musician Frans Bak, who did the theme to Danish Forbrydelsen also did the sound track to the US remake the Killing.

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