Review of the detective series Young Wallander

Pros: Charismatic leading man; current problems of Western Europe Cons: The series has no Scandinavian spirit at all; weak detective component; prolongation; the crumpled ending of Young Wallander / “Young Wallander”

Genre detective drama
Creators Ole Endresen, Jens Johnson
Cast: Adam Paulsson (Kurt Wallander), Richard Dillane (Superintendent Hemberg), Lynn Best (Frieda Rask), Ellis Chappell (Mona), Jaasen Ator (Rez), Charles Mnene (Bash), Jacob Collins-Levy (Karl-Axel Munch) ), Alan Emrys (Gustav Munch), Kiza Dean (Mariam), etc.
Netflix channel
Year of release 2020
Episode 6
Site IMDb

Kurt Wallander may not be as famous as Perry Mason, Hercule Poirot or Commissioner Maigret, but in Sweden and the UK this police inspector is known and loved. From 1991 to 2009, Henning Mankell produced 11 Kurt Wallander mysteries, set around the small town of Ystad, southeast of Malmö. Immediately after publication, television films began to be made based on the books, which were released in 1994 – 2007, plus a series of 32 episodes, which was shown on Swedish television in 2005 – 2013. The role of the inspector in these projects was played by popular Swedish actors Rolf Lassgaard and Christer Henriksson. Moreover, the British also became interested in adapting the novels, and from 2008 to 2016. An English version of the detective story with the magnificent Kenneth Branagh in the title role was released on BBC One.

It is clear that it is difficult to compete with Sir Branagh, a famous collector of BAFTAs (5 pieces!), Emmys and Olivier Awards, so Netflix decided to shoot a prequel about how Kurt Wallander, a very young police officer, serves in Malmö. And everything would be fine if the creators of the series took the timeline from the books and showed life in Sweden at the end of the 70s. last century, especially since this period is now extremely popular, but no, the authors decided to transfer the events to modern times.


The scriptwriters couldn’t come up with anything better than to base the plot on the story of illegal immigrants, right-wing nationalists and philanthropists helping refugees. The topic is undoubtedly relevant for modern Sweden and Europe as a whole, but it is too speculative, and in this case it is clear to the naked eye that the writers are pulling it by the ears in order to earn the series additional points in the press.

So, according to the plot, a very young Kurt Wallander serves in the line police and lives in a rather poor area of ​​​​Malmö, populated by emigrants (as of 2019, about 55% of the city’s population were born outside of Sweden). Kurt, quite by chance, becomes a witness to a crime – a young man is brutally murdered in his yard, making it look like it was an ethnically motivated murder. Unrest begins in the city, and Wallander, as a person familiar with local specifics, is brought into the investigation.


And everything would be fine, but the detective story in the series turns out to be sewn with white threads. You can figure out the killer in the second episode. However, following the example of many detective series of recent times, this banal intrigue will be stretched out over six episodes, giving out a teaspoon of evidence per hour. Moreover, Young Wallander, following the example of the recent Defending Jacob, ends in nothing. The series ends literally mid-sentence. In the case of Perry Mason, the authors at least brought the matter to its logical conclusion – the last words spoken in the series are the phrases with which the first novel about Perry Mason begins.


However, the main problem of Young Wallander is not even this, but the fact that in the series there is absolutely no spirit of down-to-earth realism, hopelessness, doom and surrealism inherent in Scandinavian detective stories, as in the same Bron / Broen / “Bridge”, the events of which, by the way, take place again in Malmö. And this is all the more strange considering that Yellow Bird, the company responsible for the production of Young Wallander, made the original Swedish Wallander, the British Wallander and the Swedish (the most correct) versions of the films The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest starring Noomi Rapace.


However, the casket opens simply. Apart from the lead actor Adam Paulsson, all other actors in the series are British. Moreover, Young Wallander was filmed not in Malmö, but in Vilnius, so you won’t see a single recognizable location, including that famous bridge, the twisted Turning Torso skyscraper and the old city center in the series. But there are more than enough familiar but well-restored Soviet panels here.

Well, if the authors set themselves the goal of making the most nondescript detective series possible, then they succeeded. Honestly, better watch the Swedish originals or the British series with Kenneth Branagh.


The attempt to update and modernize Kurt Wallander can be considered a successful failure

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