One of my favourite detectives is Henning Mankell's Swedish inspector Kurt Wallander.

Based in the small town Ystad the books bring a sense of the hidden, sinister depths of rural Sweden. In most stories there is friction between Kurt and his daughter Linda.

The BBC produced three one hour shows starring Kenneth Branagh. Though these are good I prefer the longer two Swedish films, which are currently been seen on BBC. The pace is slightly slower and Wallander's character is better developed.

The good news is that for a short time these films will be available on the BBC iplayer.
The first, Before the Frost, is available now on


New policewoman Linda Wallander is waiting for her first big case at Ystad police station and her father, Inspector Kurt Wallander, is getting on her nerves. When her childhood friend Anna mysteriously disappears she is thrown in at the deep end and soon needs her father's help on a fascinating and very dangerous investigation.

The second will be put on the iplayer after the second film is shown on Tuesday 30th.

Unfortunately the actress who plays Linda, Johanna Sallstrom, has committed suicide, which means there will be no more Wallander films in this series.

These films will be removed on the 6th July.

The iplayer is also a good source for other BBC crime/ thrillers. However TV programmes are generally removed after about a week.

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English translations? I really liked the BBC Wallander versions.
I like the three BBC films as well. I just feel the two Swedish films capture the sense of the books better.

As the Swedish stories are different to the BBC ones then for we Wallander fans we have an extra treat.

I assume that the BBC iplayer will at some point in the near future show their own films as well in the near future.
Sadly, the films aren't available to the U.S. at that website. Too bad. I didn't care for the PBS miniseries and was curious to see the alternative.

What bothered you, Minerva? I thought the production was very good.
I agree, the production values on the series were first-rate, it's just that it seemed to have fallen prey to the 'keep the action moving at all costs' meme that's invaded everything from computer games to grocery shopping these days. The 'suspense' felt forced to me, and much as I love Kenneth Branagh, I wasn't convinced of the character. His actions and emotions felt false. Plus, he's really chewing the scenery, while the rest of the cast seems to be sort of sleep-walking along behind him... YMMV, of course....
Okay, I see some of that. One thing: the script is a hugely abbreviated version of the book and relies on action. I did think his "team" was negligible. None of them made an impression -- in fact that didn't seem like police at all. His daughter was okay, though. And so was his nutty father.
On the other hand, think of the quality of the other offerings. I'm watching Hercule Poirot at the moment and am bored out of my skull -- though that production is good also. And there's nothing on U.S. TV.
The Swedish programmes portrayed Wallander as a good detective, but socially inept, in an ordinary sort of way. OK he drinks a little too much but as the guy in accounts that you work with does. The films developed character much better and slower, though the story line moved along reasonably fast, but not flash cuttings.

I liked the BBC Branagh version, but it was too slick for rural Sweden and I believe that Branagh had been watching too many Swedish dark night, brooding, angst films.
I'm sorry that there are not available - the over-protection of rights causes people, like my daughter's friends, to pirate.


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