I am watching the shit out of BBC's Wallander. I can't believe how addictive this is, given that it moves at a glacial pace. I've seen erosion happen quicker than one of these episodes, yet it is amazingly tense and enthralling.

If you don't know, Wallander is a character developed by Swedish novelist Henning Mankell. The books are about a detective who is overly involved in his job, and has a troubled personal life (marriage dissolution and strained relationships with his immediate family). Very normal within the genre of detective stories (see: Morse, The Wire, virtually everything).

What is simply remarkable about this is that he's absolutely bullshit at his job. This guy saves no one. Everyone fucking dies. There are some exceptions, but the gist of an episode is: (1) lots of scenery until we eventually find that someone has died pretty fucking suspiciously; (2) a bit of humming and hawing over whether it was really a murder; (3) more bodies; definitely a murder; (4) the team draw up a list of suspects (usually no one because they're fucking clueless) and a list of possible victims; (5) Wallander grimaces every time Tom Hiddleston does anything; (6) pretty much everyone on the list of victims dies; (7) they find the killer, who generally also dies.

Kenneth Branagh is excellent as Wallander. The south of Sweden is also quite good. But I watch this mainly for the sense of closure. No lives are saved; nothing redemptive happens. If anything, the already bleak circumstances get worse. Wallander seems to be living the Book of Job.


Anyway, it's definitely worth a look. It kind of subverts the genre in that usually the detective, you know, saves someone. I've recently tried to get into a whole bunch of series (Veep, Walking Dead, Deadwood) and been pretty disappointed. Wallander is good.