The Killing: All the best Scandi noir shows for those who love things that go bump in the night
The Canadian actress Carrie-Anne Moss – best known for her roles in The Matrix and Jessica Jones – announced she will be joining the cast of Norwegian crime series Wisting, playing an FBI agent who travels to Scandinavia to track down an American serial killer on the run. Meanwhile, Norwegian actor Sven Nordin (Lilyhammer) will star as the eponymous Wisting – a homicide detective pursuing the same culprit.
Ten-part series Wisting, created by Katarina Launing & Trygve Allister Diesen, is the biggest drama series ever produced in Norway. Until it’s available outside Norway, get your fix with the shows listed below, all of which are available to stream right now for your bingewatching pleasure.
This show’s protagonist Kurt Wallander (Krister Henriksson) is the embodiment of a Nordic noir cop: moody, intelligent, and obsessed. While tracking a sadistic killer, he follows a string of crimes (including ritual murders and attacks on domestic animals) in the bleak landscapes of a small town by the Baltic coast.
The Bridge (Hulu)
Sofia Helin and Kim Bodnia star as a Swedish & Danish detective who must work together when a corpse is found on the border between their two countries. Fury, grief, tears, betrayal, and some epic twists all contribute to make The Bridge an unforgettable Scandi noir.
The Killing (Netflix)
Adapted from one of the most well known Nordic noirs, The Killing is a dark mystery thriller with a bleak plot to match its dreary landscapes and relentless rain. With the storyline comprising a police investigation, the saga of a grieving family, and a Seattle mayoral campaign, this might be an American show, but its narrative, character progressions, and settings are Scandi noir at its finest.
Fortitude (Amazon Prime)
Old Blighty has been the birthplace of many Nordic noir shows in recent years, one of the most notable being Fortitude – a psychological thriller set in a small expat community near the Arctic Circle. After a murder shocks the otherwise sleepy Norwegian town, shit starts to get real.
The cast is packed full of talent too, including Stanley Tucci (Big Night), Michael Gambon (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Christopher Eccleston (The Leftovers), Richard Dormer (Game of Thrones), Sofie Gråbøl, and Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow), to name a few.
With a journalistic twist on the Nordic noir formula, Dicte’s central character is a dedicated crime reporter (Iben Hjejle) who will stop at nothing to get the scoop. However, Dicte is more Nancy Drew than investigative journo, clashing with policeman John Wagner (Lars Brygmann) when she tries to solve his cases.
Trapped (Amazon Prime)
Although Iceland is famed for its incredibly low murder rates, the same can’t be said for the fictional Iceland featured in the Scandi noir mystery-thriller Trapped. When a limbless, headless body turns up in a remote harbor town, a heavy storm traps locals within their new prison, putting even more pressure on the police force to solve the murder and ensure no more incidents unfold in the whodunit race.
The Keeper of Lost Causes (Netflix)
This adaptation from a Danish novel of the same name mixes the perfect ingredients for a Scandi noir: a burned-out police officer (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), a cold case department, and an alleged suicide. As the demoted officer digs deeper into the case with his assistant Assad (Fares Fares), they soon find out there’s more to it than meets the eye.
The Lava Field (Netflix)
As another series that takes on the suicide-turned-murder plotline, The Lava Field centers around crime detective Helgi Marvin Runarsson (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), who is called in to investigate a suicide case on Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Of course, the incident turns out to be far from simple, and the bleak vastness of Iceland echoes the pain that lies within our heroic protagonist, Runarsson.
If you liked The Killing, then you’ll love this show from the same producers, following the intricate and complicated lives of politicians, media figures, and the journalists who feed off their achievements & failures. Although it’s not your typical Scandi noir, the show comprises the same elements – well-drawn characters, a multilayered story, and the compromises one must face in the pursuit of power.