Starring: Peter Haber, Mikael Persbrandt, Kristofer Hivju, Måns Nathanaelson, Anna Asp, Jonas Karlsson
Having not watched the first volume, I come into this with no prior knowledge of the goings on of Martin Beck and his team.It doesn’t take long to find out that this is a well made and interesting series with a central character who doesn’t dominate but works away on the fringes to solve the cases. Beck is more about the team than the individual.
Beck is a Stockholm-set police procedural, detailing the team under the control of Martin Beck (Peter Haber), a homicide detective. Beck is calm, methodical and precise, almost plodding in his demeanor and how he applies himself to the job at hand. Whilst this isn’t the best appearance Martin unfailingly gets the job done.
Volume 2 consists of four episodes, each a feature length 90 minutes. This extra length gives it the time to fully explore and expand the story, developing the characters (both protagonists and antagonists) in such a way that you start to empathise or understand their situation, something that couldn’t be done if this was a standard 60 minute episode.
Episode 31 – Gunvald
In this first episode an investigative journalist is found beaten to death in his home and Beck’s old colleague Gunvald gets seriously injured when a routine call goes wrong. A tangled web of a story points all the fingers towards a recently released criminal but there are other factors in effect, leading to a lot of misdirection and dead-ends. The tensions between team members and their manager, Klas Fredén, who seems to care more about his career than the progress of his team. It is nice to see the team members having issues rather than the lead.
This episode was the slowest of the ones that I watched. Still a good episode but it certainly picked up with the introduction of….
Episode 32 – Steinar
With Gunvald sadly passed away, Beck is suffering from the loss of an old friend. To make things worse Klas has hired a new detective straight away. Norway’s top homicide detective, Steinar Hovlund (Kristofer Hivju), has moved back to Stockholm and has taken the post. In a blatant attempt to replace Beck with this appointment, Klas has placed further misery onto Beck. However, Steinar turns out to be a really good guy, professional, experienced but he does his job with an amount of personality, in complete opposition to Beck’s impassive way.
This episode involves a death, seemingly by arson, at a local caravan site populated by some of the more unwanted of society. There are no end of suspects, which leads to a great deal of investigation and leg work required. Steinar adds a good amount of energy and nous to the team as they work towards cracking this case.
Episode 33 – To The End of the Road
As the episodes progress the stories become more involving and show more and more of the corruption that appears to be rife throughout the city. An ex-cop and his family have been murdered and the amount of cover-ups and classified information that gets in the way of this investigation truly throws a spanner in the works. Klas is involved in some way in the past, along with some of the ex-cop’s ex-colleagues, all trying to keep the past a secret when it so deserves to be in the light.
Steinar’s character gets fleshed out a bit more, as I’m sure he will be an ongoing person in this team, and it becomes obvious that he isn’t as perfect as first seems. He, like everyone else, has his flaws and personal issues that get in the way of the investigations.
Ep34 – The Last Day
The ominous sounding episode begins with Beck informing his new boss that he intends to hand in his notice. He has a new boss because Klas has been promoted, a blessing and a curse it seems: Good to get rid of him, but he has gained a promotion through underhand or corrupt ways, which is probably one of the reasons that Beck has decided to give it all up, it just doesn’t make sense to him.
After that bombshell the day doesn’t get any better. The events of this episode take place in a single day and the pacing and tension are raised to show this. An unknown man shoots and kills a police officer after being stopped for speeding, with another officer wounded. What follows is an all out attempt to track this man down, find out as much information about his as they can to try to head him off before he gets to his real goal. Cue lots of frantic driving to new locations, SWAT teams entering building and interrogation of people of interest. A dramatic race against time and conclusion lead to Beck being devastated but strangely revitalised about his job. And, as with any good show it is left on a cliffhanger; Will he quit or won’t he?
Overall it has been a good series. Good writing and good acting, great investigations, particularly when Steinar comes on board and gives it a bit more direction and thrust but dovetails well with Beck and his team. I would happily watch more of Beck if they are all of this high standard, taking the time to set out and tell the story right is a great way to do it.