Arne Dahl Series Two-Short notes on episodes One, Two, Three and Four with a One-Off Review at the end. Minor spoilers only. In Swedish with English subtitles. On in the UK on BBC Four/ 4 Saturdays @ 9pm. Two episodes back to back.

Arne Dahl

Episodes One and  Two are described as Part One and Two of:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Part One.
Some short notes on first watching.

“Shadows fall across your silent face..”
“Velvet lines in time and space”..
The darkest star of all returns..”
“And you’re left to burn..”

So the Police Sergeant comes to visit Kirstin.
He has lovely orange  spectacles.

So Kirstin is made Chief.
The team-The A-Unit: (are introduced to each other)
“Arto Soderstat”
“Gunnar Nyberg”
“Sarah Svengholm”
“Ida” (new recruit)

So gotta go.  Lots to concentrate on.  All quite pedestrian.  Me I like the side story of the brother and sister.


Part Two of:
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

“The shadows fall across your saddened face”..
“The darkest star of all returns..”
“Now you’re left to burn..”

Nb. I didn’t do notes for this episode.


Episodes Three and Four.
Some notes on first watching.

A droopy dreary song.  As per usual.

So it’s a robbery which seems really weird and unusual in Sweden.

I dunno. Arne Dahl isn’t that write-able really.  It’s kind of like an ongoing Police soap opera. Intense and arduous to watch at the same time.

Although the drama is warming up somewhat.

I like the daring duo of Detectives Kirstin and the young recruit, Ida.
(in the interview room).

So Bengt and his enormous joke glasses is the Public Prosecutor I think.

One of the team to the other: “A German Travel Agency”

So it’s all a bit underwhelming.  The German Travel Agency has been the most interesting bit.

Paul Helm’s Secretary is super-cool.

The best bits are when the A-Unit are not in it!  Really.

There is an excellent baddie in the deadpan man with giant oval spectacles.  Plus his nemesis. Then the the young anti-hero.  Are all excellent.

Yep.  Its the rest of them that are a bit deary: really.

Though you gotta love Arto.
(No more Viggo)
And the Police chief with the orange glasses.



Well I found myself thinking during Arne Dahl that this would be a good programme to watch to send you to sleep.  And then I remembered I had thought of that before, the last time I watched Arne Dahl.

Well that was a bit of an interesting occurrence then wasn’t it.  Me remembering the possible soporiphic value in Arne Dahl.  Well more interesting (an occurrence) than watching Arne Dahl.

Yes, Arne Dahl does eventually grow on you like weeds.  The drama is quietly contagious.  The action and the pace is so slow and low of key as to be barely audible.  Or visible.  As a progressing drama.  Unfolding before us.

It’s just that Arne Dahl does its unfolding real-damn.  Slow.

But then of course this perception of the drama so far is just me.

I found myself comparing the meandering story-line with Wallander when watching Arne Dahl.   I never really bothered much with the story-lines in Wallander, since he was such a good actor I guess.

In Arne Dahl there is no one particular Detective to focus on.   Plus they are all a bit bland.  A little bit generic: but I do like the mugs.

The mug with “Gast” on it, which I presumed meant “Guest” being held by an interview suspect was a beautiful thing to behold.

I found myself trying to come up with a description, name or word for the style of Arne Dahl.
 (Is it some kind of meta-art? )

The drama has a densely packed conversation heavy dialogue.  Somehow the dialogue is supremely naturalistic in make-up and tone.

On consideration I didn’t feel like I was watching a home-movie style of series at the time.  Which is good I think.  Hopeful even.  Perhaps.

However in retrospect I now think that the hand held camera effect explains everything.   As if someone turned on a video camera and just let it run.

Then they had such cameras in different places.  For different story-lines.  Like they never turned the cameras off. Almost like.

We do spend long periods of time just gazing at someone doing something.  Like Kirstin lounging on her sofa.  With slightly slime-ball (at work apparently) Bengt.  Then there is poor abandoned Helm mooning about in a lovelorn way.

I did particularly enjoy and recognise from Wallander
( I know-it is unfair to keep comparing the drama to Wallander but I am)  the surprisingly similar tones and reactions of the A-unit to various events.  Chavez’s indiscretion for example.  They scolded, just like I imagined their wise and patient teachers scolded them

Each one of the characters in Arne Dahl at various times upbraided and corrected each other.  In the way that they themselves had been taught.  In that culture if you like.

Then, as a whole and individually, pretty much (except in romances of course) that character will forgive the errant friend.  Calmly delivered improving upbraid (lecture) over, they move on.  Like they were all a calmer, cooler tempered version of my favourite orange spectacled Police Chief.



I found myself wondering: are the actors and actresses acting or not acting?  We cannot tell-for sure. Arne Dahl’s success in creating this illusion of absolute naturalism for the viewer: is surely down to their acting skills.

I guess it just depends on whether you want your drama to reflect every sniffle, rustle of paper and long, drawn out silence.  With every painstakingly, achingly, slow progression of solving the crime along the way.

Making Arne Dahl unusual and sort of unclassifiable really.

Could the drama be some whole new art form?  It could be.

Arne Dahl is certainly pretty to look at.  Indeed the drama could be screened in an art gallery on one wall.

As an art installation-in perpetual motion.


Me, I miss the magical realism from the previous series and the Persian cleaner. Mr Nazir, I seem to remember, was his name.

No more jolly scene-stealing from Jenny Hulin, the green eye-linered ex-Chief and her inimitable side-kick, Ray.  From America.

Now Ray stole the scene from under everybody’s noses just by appearing on Skype.  In black and white.

Then there was Viggo, lovely, bumbling Viggo..



Whereas an episode of the recent series of  Beck seemed to be about three hours long in the watching- Arne Dahl felt more like six.

Me, my mind kept straying to Continuum (like-what’s going on with Agent Gardiner?) and thinking that watching that would be a lot more fun.


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