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Review of 'Young Wallander'

by Paul Levinson 8 months ago in tv review

Done Right

Doing a narrative of a younger version of a famed older character is a tricky business. Without going into which ones worked and which ones did not, and why, let's just say that some of them, maybe even most of them, did not.

So Young Wallander, now on Netflix, had its work cut out for it. The older Wallander, a detective whose emotions got in his way, and had trouble with personal relationships, for every part of him that was a brilliant police detective, was a hard character to get right in his formative stages, indeed, his first sojourn as a police detective. And I thought Young Wallander got it right.

First, the series made the right decision to the put the story in the present. Although history can be fun, it was even more fun, I thought, to see Kurt Wallander starting his career in a world, our world, of YouTube videos and smartphones. And Malmo, Sweden in the present looks good, too, and a fit place to grapple with current problems like immigration. (No mention of COVID-19, though -- the series couldn't be that current -- but I bet we'll see that next season.)

But most satisfyingly, we see young Wallander striving with a lack of complete success to keep his emotions out of his work. He can't, because his insights into crime flow from his keen emotions. He also has trouble establishing a relationship with Mona, who in later times will be Wallander's ex-wife. All of which is brought together by a fine cast, including Adam Pålsson as Wallander, Ellise Chappell as Mona, and Richard Dillane who always delivers as young Wallander's boss.

I'll say no more about the plot -- I've so far said almost nothing about that -- because I don't want to give anything away. But these are a thoroughly excellent six episodes, and I'm looking forward to more.

tv review
Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson
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Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up; his nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.

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