MOVIE NEWS

Stream It Or Skip It?

Imagine you work with your wife in a high-pressure job like, say, the homicide division of a coastal city’s police department. Then you find out that the obsession with your job has caused your wife to seek companionship from, say, your best friend and partner. That would suck hard, right? But what if the three of you had to keep solving murders together, even with all the hard feelings? That’s the idea behind the new Danish series The Sommerdahl Murders.

THE SOMMERDAHL MURDERS: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

Opening Shot: We push in from the water on the inlet that borders the city of Elsinore, Denmark, we push further in to the back of a house on the beach. We see two people in bed just waking up on a sunny morning.

The Gist: It’s the 25th wedding anniversary for Dan Sommerdahl (Peter Mygind) and his wife Marianne (Laura Drasbæk), and they wake up telling each other how much they love each other. They’re also greeted by their daughter Laura (Laura Kjær) and guests for an anniversary party. The officers from the Elsinore police department, where Dan is a detective and Marianne works as a forensic technician. Also coming late is Dan’s best friend and partner, Detective Flemming Torp (André Babikian). They all have known each other since academy days, when Dan and Marianne met.

The celebration, though, is interrupted when a woman’s body washes up behind Kronborg Castle. Marianne is dismayed that he’d leave their own party to go to a crime scene and just wishes Flemming would go, but they both do. When he looks at the body, he sees a tattoo in Cyrillic on her arm. After some investigation by his Elsinore PD colleagues, including retiring detective Svend (Peter Gantzler), he finds out that the woman was an undocumented Russian immigrant who recently had a baby.

Knowing the baby may still be alive, they go after a person named John Frandsen (Frank Theil), who drives a yellow vintage Mustang and was seen pushing the woman out of his car the day she died. He turns out to have ties to Alice (Merete Mærkedahl), who has been helping out the Sommerdahls.

As the race to find John and the baby continues, they stake him out in a town 40 minutes away, even though Dan promised Marianne that he’d be back for the romantic dinner at the hotel where they stayed 25 years ago. It turns out he wasn’t, and after Marianne ran into an old school friend and one thing led to another… let’s just say that Dan is surprised when he tracks the Mustang to the hotel, and finds Marianne there being pursued down the hall by a naked guy in a sheet.

As angry as Dan is, though, he has to put Marianne’s unfaithfulness aside and try to find that missing baby.

The Sommerdahl Murders
Photo: Acorn TV

Our Take: The Sommerdahl Murders (Original title: Sommerdahl) is a Danish show with an interesting format. The eight-episode season consists of four mysteries, each spanning two episodes. So in a lot of ways this is a pretty straightforward police procedural. But overarching all of these mysteries will be the Sommerdahl’s crumbling marriage, which is going to also involve Flemming, who has just as extensive a history with Marianne as Dan does. But while all this personal chaos is going on, the three of them are going to have to solve these cases together.

The mysteries are a bit pat, more involved than the typical American broadcast network procedural but not all that surprising or shocking. The mysteries tend to be solved by a lot of lucky breaks and coincidences, which you’ll either be OK with or cringe at, depending on your tolerance for these types of procedurals.

What’s going to hold viewers’ interest is the story of the love triangle between the Sommerdahls and Flemming — at least that’s what we gathered after watching the second episode. The fact that they all have to work together despite these rips in their emotional fabric is what’s going to be interesting; we already see Dan acting out in Episode 2, not talking directly to Marianne while the three of them gathered evidence, mainly because she asked him for a divorce.

We’ll see if the emotions involved in this sticky situation are genuine or not; the scene where Dan asks Flemming to ask Marianne’s tech to open a bag seemed more comedic than serious, but maybe things will get deeper from there.

Sex and Skin: All implied.

Parting Shot: At the end of Episode 2, Flemming moves a box in his house that Dan had toppled over. Inside is a photo booth strip of Flemming and Marianne kissing each other. It’s not new, but it certainly isn’t 25 years old, either.

Sleeper Star: We want to see Svend (Peter Gantzler) keep working one day at a time past his retirement date, because the cases just keep drawing him back in.

Most Pilot-y Line: We know that Dan is so damn dedicated to a case that he barely even has time for his wife and daughter, but you’d think he’d at least change his clothes once while he investigated this case. Didn’t anyone tell him that he needed a shower?

Our Call: STREAM IT, but only for the fact that this trio will have to keep solving crimes while the relationship among the three of them falls apart. Other than that The Sommerdahl Murders plays like a slightly more complicated version of a CBS procedural.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, VanityFair.com, Playboy.com, Fast Company.com, RollingStone.com, Billboard and elsewhere.

Stream The Sommerdahl Murders On Acorn TV

.

Tags

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Close