Top positive review
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Must-see for fans of serious Scandinavian crime-drama
on 30 November 2013
This series ranks at the top of Nordic noir, right alongside the original Killing and The Bridge for its note-perfect performances, devious political plotting and edge-of-seat tension.
The series follows the work of the Danish equivalent of the American secret service; the ever-present guys in dark suits who may have to take a bullet intended for a politician. They also investigate possible terrorist and other threats: if a bomb goes off then it's because they've failed. Over storylines which span two of the hour-long episodes, the series explores the thorny aspects of modern life, both in politics and the real world: so dealing with deaths in warzones abroad; the integration of immigrants into society; the acts of lone radicals or groups of neo-Nazis; the dishonesty and lies between wives, husbands and friends - all wrapped around a solid plot and featuring some riveting performances from its ensemble cast.
The dramatic decisions which face the cast feel lifelike and credible - to arrest suspects early, and forestall an atrocity, or take the risk of a major incident and many casualties if it delivers more of the network and solid convictions. None of this is played out lightly and the razor-sharp dialogue and nuanced performances make it all the more compelling. Not all of The Unit are superheroes; the admin officer suffers very real anxiety as a result of facing extremist threats every day. The development of the relationship between the three new team members is quietly compelling too. Each has his or her own motivation, and the writers don't shy away from showing inter-faith interaction and occasional misunderstandings - the sort which abound in modern, complex urban environments.
Gripping, intelligent and superbly well realised TV drama. My one complaint is that there's obviously far more going on in the dialogue than is translated for the subtitles, so we miss out on some of the smartest parts.