On the 10th of August 2017, Swedish freelance Journalist Kim Wall met with Danish entrepreneur and engineer Peter Madsen on his homemade submarine. She went to interview him and to go for a short sail around The Sound, the stretch of water that forms the border between Sweden and Denmark. She never came home.
What followed was a media circus. Peter Madsen was arrested, and the police were tasked with finding Wall's body and establishing what happened. So they could try him for the maximum punishment possible.
The Investigation tells the story of the team of Danish detectives responsible for finding and interpreting the evidence in the case. It takes an interesting direction to do this, not once is the suspect named or shown. And though we are told the victim's name, neither her image or her body is shown. It's a bold choice, keeping the focus entirely on the work done by the divers, and the paper and fact-based evidence. As opposed to the usual format of procedurals where we are presented with gruesome autopsies, crime scenes, and injury details. The case itself was a gruesome one, and these details are described rather than shown explicitly.
The bizarre aspects as well are not really emphasised as they could be. We are never shown the inside of the submarine or any aspects that could be seen as titillating. It is entirely performance and information-based. The recent nature of the case must play into this choice, as the loss will still be incredibly raw to those close to Wall. Multiple trips out to explore the waters based on new calculations and evidence are done. While in some hands this could feel repetitive, Lindholm presents each trip in such a way that it feels relentless. The tension is built with each new search, as we are aware of the growing urgency of finding the evidence needed to convict.
The Investigation has many of the same features as other Scandi noir shows. It is cold in tone, with a gradual slow reveal of the facts as they are discovered. Performances are pared back, with even emotional moments being played out with subtlety. Lead investigator Jens Møller Jensen (Søren Malling) gives each line of dialogue time to land before progressing. He is an obsessive investigator, and the spiralling effects of this on his home life are patiently explored. Compassionately though, as you understand that really, he has no other choice than to obsess. The victims deserve as much. This means that any truly emotional scenes have the maximum impact and reverence they deserve. There are a few scenes that do feel repetitive, as we are shown information, we as an audience already know being given to the relevant teams. This does not detract from the viewing experience though, and once you get into the second episode the show is fully engrossing.
All this leads up to a compelling and satisfying conclusion, which feels respectful of Kim Wall and her family. The Investigation is a must-watch for Scandi noir and true crime fans.
Dir: Tobias Lindholm
Scr: Tobias Lindholm
Cast: Søren Malling, Pilou Asbæk, Pernilla August, Rolf Lassgård, Laura Christensen, Dulfi Al-Jabouri
Prd: Jonas Allen, Caroline Blanco, Peter Bose, Rene Ezra
Music: Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen
DOP: Magnus Nordenhof Jønck
Runtime: 6 x 45 minute episodes.
Dazzler Media presents The Investigation on DVD & Digital from 1st March