Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 10


The news that a Trapped 3 is in consideration, and that it would not wait three years in going into production is the only piece of news that reconciles me to the end of the second series. A month is too short a time for drama of this quality, and the time to wait for another Skandi series that matches it will always be too long.

The posts are coming thick and fast this morning, because I’m off to work in a couple of hours, and between Film 2019 and the final two episodes of Trapped, things have to give somewhere.

In theend, the secrets behind Trapped 2 were dirty, and sordid, and mean on every level, almost enough to make you quesion whether the revelations are worth the losses, the casualties that the story sustains. But in the end, that is what crime is about: dirt and death and the horror that people visit on one another. The final episode was laced with flashbacks as secrets finally came out, the underlying irony being that all of this came about because secrets finally came out.

Stefan had got the job of waste disposal from theplant, but in order to cut corners and increase his profits, he paid Finnur to hire foreign workers like Ebo to dump the barrels on the heath. But Finnur, bastard to the last, decided to keep the money for himself, use it to try to buy out Gisli for the profits to be had from the geothermal sink on his land. Stupid, mean, selfish, sordid.

But that might not have been enough, if it hadn’t prompted Gisli to spill the beans to Stefan about his true patronage. Oh yes, old Thoris, the man who disappeared thirty years ago, father to Gisli and Halla, and little Erin. And also Stefan.

It wasn’t quite as I anticipated, when Elin said those dangerous words, “I know.” Thoris was a violent sadist who had raped his sixteen year old daughter, Halla. Gisli had killed him when hetried it again, crushing his skull with a monkey-wrench. His body was never found because the twins left it in the pigsty, and pigs will eat anything, a blackly comic line that did indeed make me laugh. You were not left with the opinion that justice had been denied, nor that the world was diminished by Thoris’ passing, let alone the peculiar circumstances of his interment. But Halla left for Raykjavik, abandoning Gisli to the sole responsibility that he was never able to shoulder. And she was pregnant. Confessing this, she wondered why she hadn’t got an abortion, and that’s a question impossible of answer. She gave the baby up for adoption immediately, kept everything concealed.

Secrets are at their most dangerous when they’re spilled. Gisli spilled the beans and Stefan broke. It was almost possible to feel sorry for him, to learn in one moment that you are not merely adopted but that you are the son of your rapist grandfather. Had it come at another moment, it might have been manageable, even if Stefan’ first reaction was to think of himself as a freak. Therapy, perhaps, might have unravelled that for him.

But here he was, son and grandson of a bastard thug, facing another bastard in Finnur, threatening him, with the means of killing him and throwing the frame onto Ketill’s sons. And from there it became a game of running to catch up, until there’s nothing left that can be done except to bargain for something you don’t understand yourself, life’s starkest survival instincts even in the face of knowing there is absolutely nothing that you can do to deflect the future bearing down upon you, but as long as you are the only one who knows where you’ve dumped Thorhildur, alive, in a narrow ravine, in a freezing beck, there is a card in your hand, and Andri on his knees begging for his daughter, Halla making a final attempt to acknowledge the son she rejected in the womb, and Hinrika, still splendid little Hinrika, the inveterate professional, to spirit out the scarf that the dogs can scent.

And Thorhildur is found, leaving Stefan with nothing but the final option, the shotgun under the jaw, the blast through the top of the head, the symbolic splash of blood on Halla’s face, where it has been all along.

The coda was brief. Vikingur loses Ebo who returns to Ghana, but he reconciles with his mother. Hinrika turns down Bardur’s almost apologetic attempt to rekindle something, sits in an empty Police Station, bereft of the Reykjavik cops, bereft of Asgeir, utterly alone, studies those ultrasound scans of her miscarried child.

And Andri visits his estranged daughter in her hospital bed. The extremes have, at least for a moment, brought them closer. Relieved, he lays his head on her pillow: it is Thorhildur who reassures him that it will be alright, Daddy.

If you ask me to make a judgement as to which of Trapped‘s two series is better, for the moment I would still select the first. The claustrophobia that the snowed-in towm brought to things, Andri’s pent-up bitterness at his exile and his family problems, the more convoluted and wider-ranging secrets exposed, and above all the overhelming white mountains impressed themselves more upon me. We were warned that the Trapped in series 2 was psychological rather than physical, and so it was, in every character, trapped by history and circumstance and need, a mesh that drove everyone to do the exact things they did. The greens and browns were not so impressive, though the countryside was still awesome. Another watch, of both series, may change my thinking.

Until we are returned, sooner I hope than later, for series 3.

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 9


There was no hope. I would have loved to have seen Trapped move outside the inevitable and allow Asgeir Thorinsson to survive the end of episode 8, because I have enough confidencein the writers and cast that they would find a solution that did not reek of a sentimental wish not to have a good guy die, but I knew it wouldn’t happen, and episode 9’s open cemented that. When the bulky man in the black ski-mask dragged Asgeir’s body on a binliner into his police car, I knew, but to set a seal upon it, he drove the car out of town and set it alight. Andri and Hinrika, using the car’s GPS tracker, followed but not soon enough. There was no hope.

The rest of the episode played out in the wake of this loss. The shock to everyone in the town, not just Andri and Hinrika, the former locking himself in a bathroom so that he could cry, not Bardur or Gudrun, forcing herself to go through the post mortem.

But things are at last coming to a head. Andri decides it’s too dangerous to allow Thorhildur to stay where there is a murderer who knows her involvement: his rebellious daughter at last recognises the gravity of the situation and that he is desperate to protect her, and doesn’t protest. Aron will go with her, he too might be in danger.

But the flights to Reykjavik are fully booked, so Aunt Laufey will drive them there. Followed by a big, black people carrier that always stays one car back.

But now a name comes into the frame. Ketill leads the pretty girl reporter up onto the Heath, following a hunch that pans out, and finds a cave full of dumped and leaking toxic waste, the source of the pollution. Head of Waste Disposal at the Plant is Stefan Nikulsson, good old clean-cut, nice guy Stefan. Even at this late stage, I doubted, suspected one last red herring, something even more complicated.

But when Laufey stops for sweets, and Thorhildur needs to pee, Aron steps into the Ladies with her to guard her. Ineffectually. Stefan batters him into unconsciousness, chokes Thorhildur into the same state, and takes off with her. Andri takes the call from Laufey…

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 8


Programme Name: Trapped – TX: 05/03/2016 – Episode: n/a (No. 8) – Picture Shows: (L-R) Ásgeir (INGVAR EGGERT SIGURÐSSON),, Andri (ÓLAFUR DARRI ÓLAFFSON) – (C) RVK Studios – Photographer: Lilja Jonsdottir

Oh no. Oh no, no.

Episode 8 ended the way I didn’t want it to end, but the way it had been heading towards all episode. Even in the best and most individual forms of fiction, some lines of development go only to one place. It begins with awkwardnss, it goes on to promise, and then it goes bad, very bad.

Andri, Hinrika and Asgeir used to be a good team, when they were the three cops of Seydiforddur. It’s not been the same since Trapped 2 began. Andri went back to being real police in Reykjavik, Hinrika became the local Chief of Police, Asgeir stayed where he was. He’s been content with his role, but he’s been the odd one ot since Andri’s been back. There’s a new balance and he’s not part of it, and he’s felt it.

They left him out of telling him about Vikingur, about how he might not have been guilty. Each thought the other had done it, genuinely, but Asgeir was left out. Hinrika complainedabout it, Asgeir didn’t want to do it.

But he’s still left out. There’s a guy at the plant, David, the one who wanted the crime scene clearing for 2.00pm in episode 7, for the American’s visit. He attends Finnur’s funeral, gives Elin half a million kroner, tied up in a knot identical to the one that hung Finnur up. So Andri and Hinrika go out to question him, without Asgeir.

It’s starting to go pear-shaped. The water’s been cut off, unfit for use or drink. A stupid old woman blames it on a curse, a curse brought down by old Thorir, who vanished, by building upon enchanted rock, and bloody hell, the town believes it! Shit thrown at Steinnun and Oli’s house, Aron beaten up, his car smashed. At least he’s talking to Thorhildur again. She confesses to him about the mobile phone, he gets her to bring it to the Police station, to Asgeir.

Asgeir’s gotten lucky. He’s risked a bet with Gudrun: if she solves the water sample before Reykjavik, he’ll make her dinner. And she does, e.Coli and PCB. See him at seven.

He’s read the messages off the phone. He’s tried to call Andri, but he’s interrogating David, who has an alibi, an MP in his bed, for Finnur, and won’t take the call. He’s late for Gudrun. There’s a text, the nursery, now. Andri’s still not answering. He goes himself, alone. It’s coming. A rotund but short figure, ski-masked, snatches the phone. Asgeir gives chase, loses them. Hangs around too long. Andri’s back, tries to ring Asgeir, no answer. The figure appears out of the dark, has a knife. Sticks Asgeir in the stomach, twice, runs off.

It happened. And there is a week to hope, against hope.

 

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 7


Towards the end of summer, last year, I complained at The Bridge 4 being transferred to BBC2 and broadcast in single episodes, stringing it out and making me wait intently and impatiently for its story to unfold. Yet here I am, equally willing to bitch about how Trapped 2, in double episodes on BBC4 on Saturday nights, is slipping away far too quickly. It’s only three weeks since it returned and I am already facing the penultimate steps, all things wrapped up and answered this time next Sunday. It’s too soon.

Do I contradict myself? Very well.

And once again we begin with an episode that was over far sooner than it was subjectively due. It didn’t shortchange us, it didn’t feel baggy or stretched out like other series have, and yet episode 7, when I come to look at what happened, did not seem to advance us one bit towards the unravelling of any mystery.

For a second week running, the closing revelation – this one being that the mystery man behind the money discovered by Thorhildur and her equally stupid boyfriend knows who she is and where to find her – was not followed up upon. What we got of the fifteen year old nincompoop was more self-centred frustration about how they’re all trying to ruin her life, a complete avoidance of  recognition that there might be a practical reason for removing her from the scene, and a screed of hatred about Andri culminating in a desire that the murderer slit his throat that had even the unlovely Aron shutting up, cutting his connection and refusing to answer her phone calls.

Nor did we make any progress towards uncovering just what it was little sister Elin saw Halla do, twenty years ago, but we did discover that the severely burned Minister of Industries, who is pushing herself far too much over this American Aluminium deal, to a point where you have to conclude (had you not already done so by episode 2) that there is something seriously dodgy going on in the background, is going down the route of political response: deny, deny, deny. Halla can’t be held responsible for Elin’s ‘false memories’. False memories, I see.

What the episode did build upon, slowly and implacably, was Vikingur’s arrest for the suspected murder of Pawel the Pole: in the factory, with a chipping hammer. The evidence mounts implacably. Motive, whereabouts, fingerprints and DNA, a total lack of alternatives. It can’t be anybody else.

Except that you know that with such a totality of evidence, it cannot be Vikingur, and at the end CCTV inserts the first hole in the wall. Pavel arrives at the factory. Next, the lights go out. Then, and some minutes later, Vikingur arrives. The electrical panel from where the power was cut is inside.

We have two more elements to try to absorb. The first is personal. Gudrun, Andri’s Forensics assistant, is back from Reykjavik to mildly flirt with Asgeir again. Using Hinrika’s office, and looking for a free drawer in which to store files, she discovers two photos. Ultrasound scans. A foetus. Is Hinrika pregnant?

Then there’s the Lake, where Ketill found the dead geese. Asgeir takes Hinrika’s soon-to-be-ex-husband Bardur up there when he goes to collect samples of the water for the Vet. Dead fish. Hundreds of them. Littering the beaches, and the Lake, as far as the eye can see…

More later.

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 6


This is not fair. Once you get past the halfway episode, the Scandi series are supposed to start laying trails towards a wrap-up, start drawing things together, instead of putting up new questions. Not only did episode 6 not take the slightest step towards elucidating just what Elin saw, but it reintroduced, and further complicated, an entire strand that didn’t even get memtioned in episode 5, and it hung itself up on one stinker of a cliffhanger. I have at least one thing next week that I’m looking forward to with great pleasure and anticipation and this makes me want to skip straight past that to find out.

If we’re actually going to find anything out, that soon.

After the relatively static first episode today, the show did at least start to twist the knife. Andri and Hinrika go back to re-examine Finnur’s house, only to find the seal broken by Aron and Thorhildur, the place a fucking mess and yes, Forensics haven’t been inside yet, so who knows what’s been lost. Andri is contemplating the malevolence of the universe with particular regard to 15 year old daughters when Hinrika finds a roll of Euros under the cushion next to him…

Next stop, Aron and Thorhildur are quasi-arrested. Andri can’t believe how all-fired stupid they are, taking 80,000 Euros from the house of someone who’s just been brutally murdered, without imagining any consequences (but the ones who think they’re unbelievably more clever than the stodgy old adults around them always lack that vital bit of cleverness that’s needed to recognise that you might not know everything after all). Even in the Police Station, Aron’s texting Thorhildur to hide the money so that they can keep it, and she’s hiding it so cleverly that it takes her Dad all of twenty seconds to find it (can you tell that this prize pair of muffins rub me up the wrong way?)

But there were two other things in the bag. One was the mobile phone that Thorhildur used to contact a mystery person, that she’s still hanging onto, lying about having found nothing else and only agreeing a meeting with him. At which he doesn’t turn up, not to meet her anyway, but to identify her, and tell her he knows who she is…

The other thing was a sheaf of papers, including a geothermic map of Gisli’s farm, prepared by the Ministry of Industries, and a blank purchase agreement. Theory: Finnur, knowing Gisli’s bankrupt, and that his land is a geothermic gold-mine, wants to buy it cheap, but with enough money to save Gisli. But then Gisli heads straight for Reykjavik and tries to immolate his sister, the Minister for Industries.

Who, if you believe her, and is there anybody here who actually does, didn’t know her Ministry was surveying Gisli’s land and has never seen her Ministry’s Survey Map.

Halla’s staying at the hotel now, meeting with Hafdis and Kolbrun, staying on a bit. Whilst Elin’s telling Oli that Halla’s already gone back south.

Add in the open, Ketill on a horse, up in the mountains, searching by the Lake. The one his poisoned son Sulji drank from. The one with drainage pipes emitting into it. The one with long streams of white scum on its surfaces. The one with a profusion of dead ducks on its shore, several of whom have been foaming at the beak. Ketill was right: he said the plant would pollute the land.

And lastly, Ebo has done a side-job for a Polish worker, one who’s forging a spear. Ebo wants his money, and he wants it now, but the Pole is playing silly beggars about him, knows abut Ebo and Vikingur (and assumes Vikingur is paying for it, so he wants a cut or he’ll make it public). Ebo’s getting deep into the brown stuff. His brother-in-law will keep his secret, for the sister’s sake, but he has to cut Vikingur out, now.

But the Poles get violent and Ebo runs, to Vikingur, for help. Only Vikingur’s angry and pissed again and heads for the plant. Where the power suddenly goes down. All’s blind. Hjortur, the night security, goes hunting. He finds the Pole down and bloody, from what looks like a bolt-gun to the head, just like Finnur. There’s an intruder. Hjortur pursues him. It’s Vikingur. And his face and shirt are just covered in blood…

Apart from the fact I’m confident Vikingur hasn’t done this latest, and hardly regrettable murder, I have no idea where this is going. Like today’s earlier episode, some shapes are discernible: the plant is a pollutant, Halla and Hafdis know, there’s a cover-up. But again, that’s too predictable. I’m relying on Trapped to be fooling me. I’m relying on it coming up with satisfactory answers to the near two dozen outstanding questions that are neat, logical, consistent and completly unpredictable. I’m not asking for too much, I hope.

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 5


Aron, Vikingur, Thorhildur

Holy Hannah.

Though that was perhaps the slowest hour of television I’ve watched all year, episode 5 of Trapped 2 was one of the most intense, consisting of Gisli’s funeral and very few other things alongside it. But by the end, the story felt as if it was going to explode into something that would carry the weight of the rest of the episodes. I’m thankful that I do not have to wait a week to discover what that is.

Gisli is where everything begins. He is the poor, pathetic, loser farmer who set himself alight, wrapping his arms around the twin sister, Halla, Interior Minister, who left the town twenty years ago. His death left his gay son, Vikingur, his younger sister Elin, widow of the murdered Finnur, mother of the jerkish Aron (sorry, my prejudice), and his ex-wife, Vikingur’s mother, who left him for his brother Oli (no children).

I’m reminding you of all these relationships deliberately. And there’s a new one, revealed in the open. To a Hamlet-esque scene of two gravediggers, one digging, the other leaning on his spade and evading doing any of the work, we add the female vicar, who learns that Gisli and Halla’s father disappeared twenty years ago, no word, no notice, no explanation. Never to be seen or heard of again.

This piece of information is dropped on us casually, but not so casually that we can’t recognise it as an important clue, though to what we’re only guessing. It doesn’t intrude into the conversation Andri and Hinrika have about Finnur with Elin, resuming focus on the unexplained murder of her husband, nor that of Aesgir with Aron, about his car: Finnur had a lot of cars.

He also had a month off work six months ago, when he fell and broke his arm. No-one, except maybe Elin, believes that for a second. Folk like Finnur, racist, homophobic and verbal about it, don’t get broken arms by accident. The doctor confirms it was deliberate, and the now-settled Hjortur, he of the severe burns, confirms that Vikingur stepped in to shut Finnur up when he was screaming racist shit at one of the foreign workers, whereupon Finnur launched – in front of everybody – into a cheery anecdote about catching his nephew in a barn with a bloke. In the slight silence that follows, Hjortur’s cheery, scruffy, blonde and pregnant girlfriend sums it up: “I’d have broke his arm too.”

But the funeral’s due, Halla’s coming up from Reyjavik, half the town are attending, and one of them is almost not Vikingur. He can grieve for his Dad, but he resents the hell out of everybody else. The Press are outside the Church to photograph Halla, but not inside thankfully, but the Minister still gives a pretty speech in a quavering voice, intense enough in the silence it surrounds itself with, and meaningful to Elin, but pregnant enough to have a cynical audience wondering quite how to take it.

But that’s before the wake, to which Aron and Thorhildur almost have to drag Vikingur. He’s drinking again, after a year sober, and that unleashes a tirade. It’s a tirade in content, delivered for the most part in a steady, even voice, and a detached loathing for everyone, everyone who was related to Gisli, who didn’t give a damn about him in his life but want to look so sorrowful now. Halla, the twin sister, playing to the cameras even when no cameras are around. Oli, who jumped at the chance to fuck his brother’s wife the first chance he got. Elin, organising everything, ahead of the funeral of her husbaand, whom no-one here will attend, but Finnur was a piece of shit anyway. His mother, who abandoned her husband, and her son, left them behind and didn’t have the decency to leave the district, no, just two hundred yards to the next farm…

It’s an excoriating experience for everyone, and magnetic in its effect. Despite being too drink to drive, Vikingur takes his car and leaves, for the plant, for Ebo, where, in his drunken state and his self-pity, he exposes the Ghanaian to his brother-in-law: dead man, he screams, he’s a dead man because of you! Oh shit.

Other brittlenesses are exposed. Hafdis wants Kolbrun’s loyalty: she’ll finish this term, go back south, leave Kolbrun to take the reins of power back. And Hinrika has reached the end with her husband Bardur, the weed freak. Their marriage is over.

But these are passing moments. Despite her rush to get back to Reyjavik, Halla has decided to stay with little sister Elin, who wants to talk, talk about something that happened, that Halla knows very well what she means. But Halla doesn’t, but she does, she’s just pretending, like any Politician. But Elin saw her, twenty years ago. Twenty years ago. And Halla’s resistance collapses.

Saw what? Given they were twins, the first thing the mind jumps to is incest, brother-sister incest. But their father disappeared? Did one or other of them, or both, kill him? Or is it both? He found them at it, and attacked Halla as a whore, only for Gisli to accidentally kill him defending his sister. Is Halla Vikingur’s real mother. Is that why Gisli’s marriage ended? So many possibilities, so easy to foresee. I’m banking on Trapped having something completely different to spring upon us.

I shall see a little later tonight.

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 4.


I wanna be there…

Too fast, too soon…

So far, Trapped 2 has set itself up as being the doings of a mysterious, racist, far right group, Hammer of Thor, opposed to anything that is not Icelandic, but especially the Muslims. Halla the Minister, opening the door for a Muslim company to invest in the smelting plant, burned badly by her own twin brother. Hafdis the Mayor, who will sign the Letter of Intent, only she won’t if he’s been kidnapped, and put under threat of death.

And then in one episode, not even halfway yet, Hammer of Thor’s leader is identified as Hanna Stine, the hairdresser and all round fanatic, Hafdis is recused and the movement uprooted, two arrested, one shot dead. If only it were so easy to get rid of the bastards in real life.

The one who got killed committed suicide by Police, so stupid that he thinks he can avoid being taken back to gaol for abducting Mayor Hafdis by shooting her dead in front of half a task force of Police. And Hanna, after racing home to clear the decks of all incriminating fascist literature so that she can brazen it out in front of Andri, gives herself away by going on a rant that morphs from nationalism to anti-Muslim in no time flat.

I wish they were that stupid in real life, or that maybe our Police might put some effort into actually locking them up.

But that’s not that, after all, and we know it isn’t. There’s evidence gathered from the egregious Hanna to give the brothrrs Ketillsson an unbreakable alibi: they didn’t kill Finnur, and whoever did tried to frame them.

And there’s a more sinister and personal matter. Aron decides to bunk off school today, and of courseThorhildur decides to join him with barely a nanosecond’s thought. This idiot pair of malcontents, with their evenly balanced shoulders of matching chips, already piss me off mightily, especially for their aassumption that they’re the only ones around with any brains, when the reverse is true. Aron boasts of continually stealing cars and how the oonly way to stop him was to buy him one of his own, oh, har har. They head off to Finnur’s farm, cut the Police seal, have a screwing session and look for strong liquor. Aron finds it, and millions of rolled-up rolls of Euros.

Finders keepers, they decide, since everbody else on Iceland is stupid. Not as stupid as Thorhildur, who finds a mobile phone in the bag with the money (it’s the same Nokia I have: I’m accidentally cool). She also finds a series of text messages. Being far more clever than anyone else, she replies “Hi.”

And gets a response: “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”

Oh, there’s more coming, much more. This has only been the overture.

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 3


In which, or so it feels, not a lot happens. And who cares?

Trapped is still following the Scandinavian template of using the first half of the series to build up questions before easing into answering them. We should not, at this stage, be expecting too much by way of resolution. But the third episode was built very much upon maintaining a shroud of screcy in respect of what has already been set up, without adding more layers of mystification.

We left Mayor Hafdis arriving home at the end of episode 2 to find red paint slogans daubed all over the house and garage, words – Traitor You Will Pay – apparently dictated by the runaway idiot Skuli. Hafdis has no intention of reacting to these, except for painting them over, nor reporting them to thePolice any time soon. It’s supposed to be about denying idiots the oxygen of publicity, or so she says to her mayoral rival Kolbrun, who promptly sneaks a cameraphone photo or two and shops her to the Press, who are getting nothing out of Andri or Hinrika.

Skuli stays on the run throughout most of the episode, deep in mountains and high valleys, lakes leading to spectacular downfalls, secnery that, despite the absence of snow, drags me towards the screen to revel in it. He’s knifed a dog to death, his Dad, declaring everything to be political like a low-rent Tommy Robinson, is out on his quadbike, hunting for him, brother Torfi’s clearly uncomfortable at having a Muslim lawyer foisted upon him but accepts his advice to deny everything and say nothing. But Skuli’s found, in a bad way, sick and vomiting and foaming at the mouth, and on his way to Reykjavik hospital.

But some developments have taken place. Halla, the burnt Minister, is out of quarantine and will live. But she won’t be fit for the signing session tomorrow, so the Prime Minister’s heading north to take her place with Hafdis and the Man from American Aluminium (surely, if they’re American, it would be Aluminum?)

And Aron reckons Torfi and Skuli were having their strings pulled by a woman.

And Torfi lets slip that something’s going to happen today. Andri’s afraid of an attack on the smelting plant, where the foreign workers can handle themselves and are looking forward to doing so. Then he’s afraid of a bomb attack on the Prime Minister. But instead it’s Hafdis again, kidnapped off the street, driving home. Is that is? Is that what’s planned? Or do we as yet not know anything? I’m betting we don’t.

More from episode 4 later.

 

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 2


In Icelandic

After the wealth of information in the first episode, there was understandably less new in the second, as Andri and Hinrika add the murder of Finnur to their list of cases and start with the most obvious suspects, Torfi and Skuli Ketillsson: that’s right, fanatic protester Ketill’s two sons.

Even so, I was shocked when the episode ended in, subjectively, about half the time episode one had taken.

Nothing has been resolved, naturally enough, not this soon, though there are wheels within wheels in Reykjavik, to do with the controversial plant, and pressure is about to come down from on high to find a quick (and you can bet simple, uncomplicated and above all incorrect) solution to these related cases.

Forensics, in the form of Gudrun and her team, are up from the south to investigate the crime scene, which Aesgir, left on guard, foolishly unguards for long enough for Aron to cut his Dad down and potentially destroy evidence. No, not because he’s involved, though I reserve the right to suspect anyone and everyone before this is over, but because he’s a teenager who’s lost his Dad, who demands to kill his killer and is a 17 year old dickhead to boot.

It’s sheep day, when the flocks are brought down from the mountains, the high mountains and deep valleys. I miss the snowscapes, but I am still drawn to this lonely place, of rock and ridges and considerable silence. Torfi is arrested on suspicion of murder, indeed he confesses to it, but the moment he sees the cops, Skuli runs – or rather rides – for it. Rescue parties go out to search for him but he’s found a damp, dark cave for the night.

Anyway, Torfi hasn’t done it. He’s confessing to take the blame for his brother, who’s mentally challenged, and prone to violence. It’s a political murder, Finnur was a traitor. He was murdered by, probably, a bolt-gun to the head, but Torfi confesses to slitting his throat. Ketill won’t talk about it, but he holds Andri personally responsible if Skuli doesn’t come back alive. I’d have said something along the lines of Skuli having something to do with it, but then Andri’s not like that. He’s smarter than I am.

Madame Mayor, whatshername, Hafdis, with all the big ambitions who survived series 1, is still determined everything regarding the plant will go ahead uninterrupted. There’s something up with Hinrika and her ragged husband, Bardur, and it’s not just that he sympathisizes with the racists. There’s more to come from Hammer of Thor, more than just the boldly plastered ‘Traitor You Will Pay’ in red spray paint all over Hafdis’ white walls in the abrupt cliffhanger. Somebody’s watching her in the night…

Saturday SkandiKrime: Trapped 2 – episode 1


After the sheer risibility of Black Lake 2, the announcement of the long-awaited second series of the Iceland-set Trapped was greeted with whoops and hollers in one Stockport pokey little flat. Superior story-telling for at least four weeks: if the second series was only half as good as the 2014 first, I would be very satisfied indeed.

In fact, I have five weeks of delight to look forward to, as Trapped 2 eschews the recent Scandinavian trend towards eight episode series and adheres to the traditonal ten parts we came to know and love from The Killing onwards. And whilst BBC4 is showing them in the usual block of two episodes weekly, the first episode was so rich and deep, and the experience so wonderful, that I’m going to watch (and blog) only one at a time.

Last time round, Andri Olafson (Olafur Darri Olafson), detective, was the Chief of Police in a tiny, northern town, a little piece of nothing in a deep fjord. It was a place of vast whitenesses, a deeply attractive, entirely quiet place. Andri, who came from this unnamed town, had been posted there in disgrace, after failing badly on a case. But with the town cut off by blizzard and avalanche, he was left to tackle a complex murder case. Andri’s successful resolution, amidst substantial family problems, saw him regain his old post at the capitol, Reykjavik.

Four years have passed. The opening episode doesn’t waste any time: Halla, Minister for Industries, is walking with three aides in front of Parliament. She’s approached by a semi-derelict man, rough clothing, dishevelled hair, unshaven, anxious expression, red-faced. She knows him, she stops to talk to him but it’s only to tell him, not for the first time it appears, that she owes him nothing. He grabs her, holds her tight, produces a lighter. His clothes are soaked in gasoline. He sets them both alight.

It’s quick, it’s direct, it’s shocking. It’s the crime, and it’s the way into what, after only one episode, seems to be a potentially infinite web of secrets.

Andri catches the case. The man, Gisli, is Halla’s brother, her twin brother. She hasn’t had contact with the rest of the family for twenty years. He’s died. She’s severely burnt, in hospital. He, they, are from a town up north, where there are recurring protests against an industrial plant in the process of construction, as well as an obscure political sect calling itself Hammer of Thor (as you expect, they are extreme nationalists, Iceland for Icelanders, a bunch of racists). The town Gisli comes from, where all this is happening, is Andri’s old town.

Before flying up there, to be re-united with his old colleagues, the imperturbable, quiet and brilliant Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjansdottir) and the rangy, rather more negligible Aesgir (Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson), Andri calls upon his ex-wife, Agnes, and younger daughter Perla, to let them know he’s off up north, but mainly to let us know that elder daughter Thorhildur (Elva Maria Birgisdottir), now 15, has gone to live there with her Aunt Laufey (Katla M Thorgirsdottir). Thorhildur won’t speak to either her mother or father and has a record of stealing things: a troubled teen.

Even before Andri arrives, we are pitched into things we don’t yet understand, and relationships we have to learn. The show simply drops us into them. It doesn’t telegraph anything, doesn’t put up cue cards so we don’t have to pick it up, doesn’t tie anything up in pink ribbon, which is why I think so highly of it. Even when Andri arrives and has people introduced to him, it’s difficult to work out just who is related to who, and in what manner, because nearly everybody seems to be.

There’s Vikingur, Gisli’s son, who is gay, by the way, and works at the plant, where the impressively bearded Finnur (his father’s brother-in-law), apparently a homophobe, is warning the black-skinned Ebo to stay away from Vikingur or get deported, because he doesn’t want something revealing to Vikingur. Gisli’s ex-wife, Steinum, Vikingur’s mother, divorced him ages ago and married his brother, whilst her sister is married to Finnur, and their son Aron, aged 17, is Thorhildur’s boyfriend (and probable bedmate: there’s a wonderfully dry line from Hinrika when Andri, dubious about whether his elder daughter’s virginity is still something for her to bestow, asks what she thinks: Hinrika asks what age Andri first had sex, then warns him, if he says it was different, he was a boy, she’ll lock him up!).

Gisli doesn’t seem to have been well-liked even among his family. He was a miserable, grumpy sod who seems to have thought the world owed him something. His sheep farm had just failed, his mortgage foreclosed, his home stripped by the bailiffs. That’s enough of a cause for anyone to crack up and make a futile, suicidal gesture, but things are not so simple. Gisli was friends with another farmer, Ketill (Stein Armann Magnusson), a reactionary with about a dozen grown sons, a farmer protesting the plant, protesting governments and Mayors who spout bullshit about the plant and how it’s going to mean money for everyone, because Ketill knows it will only release poison gas to kill all their sheep and spoil all their countryside, which will be sold off to foreigners like a cheap whore (overused phrase).

In short, Ketill is the fanatics fanatic. Gisli’s sheep are all dead in the barn, killed by a boltgun, same as his dog. The inference is that Gisli did it, because he was driven crazy by his insurmountable losses, but to Ketill, Gisli was both a victim and a martyr, and the dead sheep get dumped in the town centre as evidence of how he’s right (oh, this man is always going to be right, in his own mind anyway) about the plant.

He may not be entirely wrong: the drilling is causing quite substantial earthquakes.

So there’s a lot going on, on personal and criminal levels, and just plain secrecy. Back in Reykjavik, the Prime minister does question Trausti, Andri’s old enemy, as to whether they can trust him on a case like this: we’re going to have to, Trausti sighs. It’s going to be fun watching Andri and Hinrika unpick this.

One thing that worried me was that in series 1, everything was white, and now it’s green and brown. It’s not global warming, however, but simply the Icelandic summer. Last time round, people were physically trapped. This time, it’s psychological. I am already very, very pleased.