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on 1 May 2013
After the first two stories (both two episodes long) I feel the real top quality Scandinavian drama has been exhausted and we're now being given what's left.
Admittedly it's the best of the rest but we have obviously devoured all that was available of the top quality and now we must content ourselves with the leftovers.
This is the beginning of the end of the love affair with all things Scandinavian. Offerings such as this will dilute the whole.
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on 1 May 2013
This boxset contains the first five stories revolving around Stockholm's A-Unit police team headed by Jenny Hultin (Irene Lindh). Fans of other Scandinavian dramas may find this slightly different to their previous experiences. It is not like The Bridge, The Killing or Borgen in that it is not made into 10 (or 20) x 58 minute chunks. It is similarly not like Krister Henriksson's Wallander where everything is neatly wrapped up within 90 minutes.
The Arne Dahl series has stories spread over two 90 minute episodes. This allows for a fairly complex story to develop and allows us to get to know the back story of the members of A-Unit.
The five two part stories in this set include
- The Blinded Man (also known as Misterioso)
- Bad Blood
- To the Top of the Mountain
- Many Waters
- Europa Blues

A good cast surround Irene Lindh forming the A-Unit, but unlike other Scandinavian crime series, the series does not revolve around one particular character, probably my favourite is jazz enthuisiast Jorge Chavez played by Matias Varela. It may be a little more violent than other Scandinavian series and the producers have not been put off by venturing overseas to put the stories on screen including scenes shot in Amsterdam, New York, Tallinn, Italy and Germany.

This is a Filmlance production for Swedish public broadcaster SVT with Swedish being the main language spoken. Other languages appear including Dutch and English. All non-English dialogue is subtitled in English.

The whole set of five stories is being screend on BBC4 every Saturday at 21.00 between April and June 2013 and gaining respectable viewing figures. The first story was screened in Sweden at Christmas 2011 on two consecutive nights with the remaining four stories screened over eight Sundays between October and December 2012.

And if you're trying to spot the Borgen / Killing / Bridge / Those Who Kill actor in this, don't bother - there aren't any. It was filmed hundreds of miles away from the Copenhagen/Malmö area of the other four. You might spot the odd actor from a Wallander story but that's about it.
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on 24 June 2016
This is a well-made, well-funded (spot the EU logo in the financial credits) and well-acted series. Having seen the two seasons' worth I can pass on the very interesting picture it presents of contemporary Sweden (which I've never been to) which might be helpful to others. Actually it has a few too many graphic images of violently brutalised women for my taste and these turn up regularly, so that it's 'hard-hitting', in, um, every sense.

But now for the big picture: this Sweden is full of crime, which for a cop procedural series is fair enough. There's vicious international white slavery, torture galore, bombs on the metro, organised kidnap and rape gangs targeting blonde young girls. But here's where you have to bear with me: all of this social disruption (spoiler, bar the bombing) is the work of white 'neo-nazi' and 'far-right nationalist' types with shaven skulls, tats and scary weapons. They hang out in untidy rural cabins with torture chambers attached, from which they issue in their 4WD vehicles to perpetrate their evil deeds upon the urban populace. Not only that, Sweden is also being invaded by a crowd of very unsavoury and violent foreign types - to wit, organised gangs of Russian gangsters. With a nod to the electoral events of 2015, a plague of vicious racist (etc) Polish crims also seek to set up shop in peaceful Sweden. More tats, steely-eyed killers, multiple homicides with silenced guns, brutalised white women.

As for the white slave traffic, in the most ludicrous piece of scripting (at the end of the first series), we find that it's organised by a vicious, cold-blooded (etc) genuine WW2-vintage German Nazi! Yes, the real deal. So what if this wrinkly dastard is 95 years old, he's a graduate of the (pop-cult-version) Dr Mengele school of sadistic medical experiments, and even in 2014 he's still at his evil deeds with his tentacles spread – well, you know the rest. (His villa near Torino is nice though). It's never too late to nail a geriatric 'Nazi' for his wartime crimes, really.... This ep reminds Sweden of its Shameful Past, and it involves the whitest of the actors discovering that he is personally implicated, thanks to an ancestor who was a bad egg and collected gold teeth. He feels guilty and is suitably Shamed, as you, gentle/gentile viewer, are supposed to be too, that's if you are not laughing too hard. As there has to be a time limit on the credibility of using a Real Deal Nazi character, they just squeaked in.

An entertaining series with high production values and actors who really deserve better. It seems to be obscurely signalling that Swedish women are perceived to be under some form of pressure and danger, but buries it under the not-too-convincing alibi of evil white guys. Popular entertainment can be read for what it's NOT saying, or what it's desperately trying to cover up through switching or misdirections (called 'education'). If you can shut all that down and banish the words 'over-cooked propaganda' from your mind, you may well enjoy this professionally made and acted series. But evasion is still evasion.
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Nordic noir comes in many forms, and the subtle, frequently understated style of Arne Dahl may not be to everyone's tastes. Like many Scandinavian crime novels, this intelligent Swedish TV series is a blend of patient police procedural and seemingly mundane domesticity, which serve to give the stark moments of extreme violence all the more impact.

The AD investigations tend to be less frantic than those of The Killing or The Bridge and there's no single central protagonist like Sarah Lund for the action to focus on. Instead Arne Dahl features an investigative team, an ensemble cast of characters who take turns in the spotlight. Part of the charm of this series is watching from the start as they are brought together to tackle a series of high profile murders. The 'A team' take a while to mesh; each character has his or her own back story which is gradually revealed as the series progresses, and initially there's a fair degree of conflict within the team. Some of the incidental moments are absolutely precious - look out for the surreal midnight cleaner and his weird interactions with the team... The dialogue between team members is beautifully scripted, too; even in translation it comes over as the kind of credible interplay and competitive needle which goes on between highly motivated, competitive types. As the series develops over a timescale of many months, so friendships within the group gradually form. The 'A team' is a contradiction in itself: a group of individuals none of whom seem to be natural team-players. The interplay between them is as interesting as solving 'crime of the week', and some of the tension-relieving humour is laugh-out-loud funny.
Arne Dahl mixes quiet moments of domestic stress with cliffhanger instances of extreme violence when it seems that the absolute worst could happen to any of the core characters. It shows the human inclination to take solace from abuse and appalling acts of brutality by returning to loved ones, home and family -- yet it never beats you over the head with these themes, just lets them unfold in the backdrop to the mystery/thriller narrative.

The storylines are unusual, too. They are typically spread over two 90-minute episodes, which allows for greater exploration of the themes and some quite complicated plot development than in single-episode series. This format also feels somewhat less contrived than the 10-hour (or longer) investigations where early plot threads flat-out contradict later revelations. The investigations also tend to play fair - the viewer is given enough clues to have a stab at solving the mystery (unlike some series where rabbits appear out of hats in the last act...) You get the feeling that Arne Dahl isn't intended to be a 'thriller' as such, but even so it contains some surprisingly grisly scenes and most episodes have moments of teeth-grinding tension.
The excellent soundtrack also bears mentioning. Arne Dahl uses incidental music to great effect - not just the title theme, but also in many of the episodes. The jazz background to 'The Blinded Man' even inspired us to buy the CD which forms part of the investigation!
The individual episodes were originally released on separate DVDs, but this boxset makes more sense. It's definitely worth watching the episodes in the correct order, because then you get to follow the character evolution and watch the team start to meld together.
No special features, sadly, but overall this is high quality TV detective drama.
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on 10 July 2013
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on 9 June 2013
The writer Jan Arnald admits to having been influenced by our own 'Prime Suspect', stating: "My stories are always about the team, but they are put together and led by Jenny Hultin, who has the qualities of Jane Tennison". However, to my tired old eyes, this seems more like a darker, Swedish version of 'New Tricks', with its motley crew of flawed, maverick cops who somehow gel into a crack unit under their no-nonsense lady boss. Most of the cops here are somewhat younger, and, as if to illustrate the point, they are given the chance at regular intervals to show how they can still hit the mark sexually.

This being Scandi-crime, the stories are obviously far more violent than those to which we are accustomed, and come with lashings of racism, organised crime and ex-Nazis (staples of Wallander and various other imitators).

Generally, the stories are just too far-fetched and labyrinthine, and exhaust one's patience. However, the series is just about saved by the flashes of the personal lives of the cops, who, when they are not having sex, or pursuing it, exude a touching warmth and camaraderie, much like...well, 'New Tricks'.
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on 2 May 2013
I can highly recommend the series which should appeal to fans of other Nordic crime dramas such as Wallander, The Killing, The Bridge and Those Who Kill which have become very popular in recent times.

Whilst not quite as good as some of the other excellent Scandinavian thrillers, the price for Arne Dahl is very reasonable and at just over £4 for each 180-minute episode it's well worth the money.

Plenty of murders throughout each episode to keep you interested and unlike most crime dramas, Arne Dahl also explores the personal lives of each of the main characters. This makes a nice change from the standard format of just getting on with the job of solving the crime and catching the killer.

The series has been shown on British television in 90 minute parts for each episode and I would strongly recommend not tackling a whole 3 hour episode in one sitting as there is a lot to take in.

Subtitles are large and easy to read and you can follow the dialogue without them disappearing from your screen too quickly. Something that I found irritating especially in the aforementioned Those Who Kill.

A good solid series which fans of Nordic crime noir will enjoy.
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on 18 April 2016
faulty. Will not load. useless.
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on 28 November 2016
Just a nit-pick..when they say 'English subtitles' it would be good if the subtitles continued when English dialogue is being spoken..(in one episode in particular there are long scenes in the interview room where English is spoken). I know they are primarily there to translate but for us who rely on subtitles it's very annoying when the subtitling stops when English is spoken. It is however a good drama, not on par with Spiral but I would still recommend it despite most of the characters being wholey unlikeable..
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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2015
Jan Arnold is a Swedish author I came to know a couple of years sago. His novels are brash and filled with violence, but they have a sense of urgency and excitement about them. We discover new characters who are brought together to formulate an elite Swedish crime solving team, Team A. Not much funding, and the team has to prove themselves, but the best part is that the team is led by a woman. I have read three of the novels, and now we have a television series by BBC4.

The team investigates crimes that are new and very sensitive and special, and we see the darker side if Swedish crime. CID inspector, Jenny Hultin, played marvelously by Irene Lindh. The series concentrates on developing the myriad of characters, all with issues if their own. Hand picked by Hultin, they are new to each other. Paul Hjelm played by Shanti Ronay has had a recent judgement issue resulting in a possible suspension. Gunnar Nyberg played by Magnus Samuelson, has long lost children. Malin Arvidsson plays Kerstin Holm, trying to find her way and someone to over, Claes Ljungmark lays Viggo Norlander, an older man out of the active life for a while, Martias Varela plays Jorge Chavez,a tough guy, and Niklas Akerfelt plays Anto Sodurstedt, a firmer lawyer for the mob, now trying to right his way. All of the characters are excellent, acting is superb, and the storylines are first rate. This is my favorite Swedish series.

Recommended. prisrob 10-25-15
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