Easter crime

What do most people think of when they hear ‘Easter’? Egg hunts? The Easter Bunny? In Norway, the answer might be Påskekrim, meaning “Easter Crime”. The tradition, which most Norwegians know about, refers to watching crime series on television throughout the Easter holidays. National TV channels, such as NRK, choose specific series each year which are then aired a few episodes at a time across the holidays. These series can be of any nationality, from dark and gritty Scandinavian Noir to classic British crime dramas. This year, NRK are airing the British series Showtrial and Magpie Murders. In relation to this unique Easter celebration, here are some Scandinavian crime series to watch for your own ‘Easter crime’ this year.

Broen

1. Broen (The Bridge)

From Norway’s two siblings Sweden and Denmark, comes the critically acclaimed series The Bridge. The series has 4 seasons of around 10 episodes each, and follows Swedish lead detective Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and her Danish partner Martin Rhoede (Kim Bodnia). Henrik Sabroe (Thure Lindhardt) also joins the cast as one of the lead detectives in seasons 3 and 4. In true tradition of Scandinavian Noir, washed-out blue and grey visuals match the cold and ruthless crimes they must investigate.

In season 1, the body of a politician is found sewn in half on the Øresund bridge between Sweden and Denmark. The body is placed directly on the border between the two countries, one half on each side. This forces Saga to cooperate with a Danish detective, Martin, when she would rather work alone. Saga’s lack of social skills makes for an interesting character and some humorous moments that break up some of the darkness of the case. The acting of both Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia is excellent and believable, and the characters are truly what makes this series one of the best of the Scandinavian noir genre. The Bridge has audiences hooked on both characters and cases from the get go, and is extremely binge-worthy.

 

The Chestnut Man

2. Kastanjemannen (The Chestnut Man)

The Chestnut Man is a Netflix Original Series in Danish, and is based on a novel of the same name. The series follows Naia Thulin (Danica Curcic) and Mark Hess (Mikkel Følsgaard) as they investigate the murders of several women, where each crime scene contains a chestnut figure placed near the victim. On the chestnut figure at the first crime scene, they find the fingerprints of a missing girl. Like The Bridge, The Chestnut Man is exceptionally dark and disturbing, which in a twisted way makes it all the more interesting. Very little is more sinister than the ominous sound of a children’s choir during moments of suspense and fear.

As Scandinavian noir usually does, The Chestnut Man weaves in elements of Danish politics into its plot, while the main detectives have their fair share of personal problems to deal with alongside the investigation. With all these traditional elements, The Chestnut Man risks leaning into cliché territory. However, it elegantly avoids this and tackles the topic of child neglect in a truly spine chilling 6 episodes.

 

Darkness

3. Den Som Dræber – Fanget af Mørket (Darkness: Those Who Kill)

Darkness: Those Who Kill is a 2019 Danish crime thriller series consisting of two seasons, with season two being distributed as Blindness: Those Who Kill in some regions. The series is a reboot of a 2011 production named simply Those Who Kill. Season 1 follows detective Jan Michelson (Kenneth M. Christensen) and criminal profiler Louise Bergstein (Natalie Madueño), as Jan is taken off the case of a missing 17-year old girl, Julia, who disappeared on her way home from a party in Copenhagen. Jan’s superiors believe the girl is dead, but Jan continues to work the case in his spare time. When he links the current case to the disappearance of a girl named Natasha ten years ago, and ultimately finds her body in the lake, he is reinstated on the case alongside Louise. When a third girl goes missing, the investigators fear they’re up against a serial killer.

Another twisted Scandinavian thriller, Darkness: Those Who Kill is full of great acting that sends shivers down your spine. Although the investigators are no Saga and Martin from The Bridge, the case is full of twists and turns and ensemble actors provide impeccable performances.

Quicksand

4. Quicksand

Quicksand is the first Swedish language original Netflix series, and differs slightly to the other series on this list. Rather than telling the story from the investigators’ perspective, Quicksand explore the perspective of 18-year old Maja Norberg (Hanna Ardéhn) who is arrested for murder. The series opens in the aftermath of a school shooting at the fictional Djursholm high school. Both Maja and her boyfriend Sebastian (Felix Sandman) are prime suspects. Avoiding spoilers, the series uses flashbacks to investigate why the crime was committed rather than by whom, though does question if Maja was involved or an innocent bystander.

As with most Scandinavian noir, there’s an underlying political theme—with Quicksand examining class inequality. Both Maja and Sebastian are upper class and privileged, with Sebastian often given free rein to both his family’s mansion and a Porsche. As the series progresses and more is revealed through Maja’s flashbacks, both characters are more complex than they first seem.

By Maria Jakobsen

Maria Jakobsen is an entertainment and culture writer who joined Filmhounds in 2022. She's got an obsession with crime dramas, but is scared of horror films. Maria studies Film at university, and also writes for Localfolk.