When I got Arne Dahl: The Complete Second Season to review, I hoped that I’d be able to pick up the show without having to watch the first season. Luckily this is the case, and I was introduced to another good dose of Nordic Noir… Arne Dahl follows the A Unit, a group of elite police officers called in to handle the more complicated cases. Reformed after being disbanded two years ago, it is now run by Kerstin Holm (Malin Ardvidsson) with the knowledge that there is no room for error.
The interesting thing about Arne Dahl is the A Unit themselves. With a mixture of interrogation, hacking, investigation, and fighting skills the group are seen as the best of the best. The fact that life gets in their way of their jobs makes them more interesting. I have to admit though that my favourite character Arto Söderstedt (Niklas Åkerfelt) is perhaps the more secretive of the group, but also more intellectual. There is a nice mix of characters though, all that manage to feel human, and are easy to empathise with.
Each story in Arne Dahl: The Complete Second Season is spaced over two episodes which are around two hours each. This makes sure that each subject doesn’t drag on too much. The fact that the stories feel relevant also help. From human trafficking and grooming, to gangland assassinations and terrorism and racial tensions the show definitely feels “with the times”. It’s nice to see another example of Nordic Noir where we aren’t just looking for another serial killer. Mixing it up a little manages to keep things fresh.
While I did enjoy the fact that the members of the A Unit do feel human, there are times that their family lives do encroach on the police action just a little too much. This is especially the case of Kersin, who goes through different relationships throughout the season. This includes one with Paul Hjelm (Shanti Roney) who is no longer part of the team and works in Internal Investigations. Saying this though, many of these branches off from the main story are important to the main plot and are there for a reason. It just feels like it brings out the worst in the characters at times.
What is impressive about Arne Dahl: The Complete Second Season is the fact that the A Unit are a group of people you instantly feel comfortable with, even if (like me) you’ve not seen previous episodes. It doesn’t take long to understand them as characters and know the way they will act in the situations they are put into. For me, this is an example of a well written show that full understands the audience it is aiming at, and works to hook them as quickly as possible.
For people interested in Nordic Noir that is easy to access and not too dark, Arne Dahl is a good place to start. The story-lines are relatable and connect with many of today’s issues while adding that European style that we come to expect from the Nordic Noir genre. Well worth checking out, if you want a new police show that’ll hook you straight away this may be the one.
Arne Dahl: The Complete Second Season is available on DVD in the UK now.