Saturday SkandiCrime: Trapped – parts 7 & 8

So the seige of Seydisfordur has ended and Detective Trausti and his trusty team (including the press-leaking Thor) are on the scene, just in time to have a suspect handed to thm on a plate by Andri and Co. It’s an easy win, an open-and-shut case, a quick score: less than a single episode and Andri’s ex-partner in the Reykjavik Police is heading back home with a signed confession in his back pocket and said suspect, the poor, put-upon, cuckolded Sigurdur in the back seat of his helicopter. There’s only one minor problem…

Except that there are several. Trausti arrives with not only an over-inflated opinion of his own value but with a contempt for and hatred towards Andri that leads him to instantly dismiss any idea or opinion held by the man who has led this investigation for the last five days. Sigurdur is clearly undergoing some form of mental stress: he looks and acts like the victim of extreme shock, his expression that of someone who has no idea what e’s seeing, his mouth perpetually open. He can’t speak, only breathe, loudly.

To Trausti, it’s a con, theatrics, a put-on. When Andri suggests a doctor, Trausti dismisses not just the idea but the Seydisfjordur trio: the case is his and his men’s alone.

As a stopgap, Andri and Hinrika start to pursue the issue of the trafficking of the Nigerian girls, tracing the snowman-breaking to the African chef on the ferry, and getting, through him, a lead on Captain Carlsson and his ‘friend’, who is revealed as being the Engineer.

Trausti goes off to search Sigurdur’s home, dismissing the alibi his wife Aldis provided for him, seemingly with good reason, for the search turns up a chainsaw, that has not entirely been cleaned of blood. Trausti heads back to the Police Station to resume browbeating Sigurdur, who is still not speaking. There’s smething about his face though, as Trausti lead through an imagined scenario creating a motive for killing Mayor Hrafn, as if he’s listening with polite interest to something that doesn’t really concern him, whilst working something out in his head, and it’s a brilliant performance by Thorstein Bachman.

By the time Andri and Hinrika get back, Siggy has confessed, in writing and Trausti is triumphant. It’s bullshit, and we know that instantly because the confession – to two murders – is about eight straggly lines of handwriting long. Andri is bemused and contemptuous. It lacks everything, especially when it comes to Hrafn. Evidence is overlooked or ignored, motive is absent, it’s the work of an amateur, but Trausti doesn’t care: it’s a confession. He’s cracked the case in half a day, where Andri didn’t in five. One press conference in the open air and it’s helicopter back to Reykjavik with the prisoner.

Who, under the eyes of the television cameras, once the copter reaches an adequate height, springs his cuffs, yanks open the door and throws himself out of the helicopter to his death. Just one little problem…

Trausti has fucked it up completely, but he still holds himself out as being superior to Andri. After all, Andri fucked up a case in Reykjavik that resulted in a dead girl never being found, and her killer getting away with it. Trausti still thinks he’s better than Andri. After all, he got his cushy Reykjavik job through shopping his senior partner to the bosses for strongarming the wrong suspect…

Andri is seriously pissed off, enough so that the genial, loadbearer briefly takes it out on those around him, contemptuous of Hinrika for not knowing what ‘real’ police work is, dismissive of the estranged Agnes who tries to help him set up a temporary bed on the couch: the roads are clear, why hasn’t she pissed off back to Reykjavik with her new boyfriend and his kids?

But Andri being Andri, he’s soon apologising. Hinrika isn’t bothered about apologies, just about the true story. Andri admits that the last five days, genuine investigating, is the real him, not the small town Police chief. Spurred by Hinrika’s support, Andri decides to arrest Captain Carlsson, even though the idiot Trausti, in complete ignorance of what’s going on, has eleased the ferry to leave…

Still, Andri gets there first and he and Hinrika start questioning Carlsson at the station, until the fool Trausti throws his weight about, ordering Andri to a more important task: stopping Sigurdur’s widow, Aldis, from talking live to the Press and criticising the Police. The idiot even shuts down Hinrika’s questioning even as Carlsson is beinning to admit something dodgy’s going on, and that he’s only part of it out of fear.

Andri has no intention of shutting Aldis up. In fact he agrees with her: the investigation’s been a complete bodge-up and he doesn’t believe Siggy was guilty. Aldis now admits to him that, on the night of Geirmundur’s murder, Siggy did go out late on, summoned by Hrafn, and that she didn’t see him until morning, when she found him in a state of shock, refusing to tell her what’s going on.

Armed with this and some info from his friend the coroner in Reykjavik that confirms Trausti has even got the murder weapon wrong, Andri writes a report to the Police Chief in the capital. Siggy’s suicide is headline news, and the idiot is the ideal candidate for a scapegoat. And if you weren’t enjoying that enough, we are to find out that Asgeir has leaked Andri’s secret report to the Press. As a favour to Andri, our favourite TV producer will keep it quiet for a while, but now she’s twisting the knife in Trausti’s back even further, by asking whether Sigurdur fell – or was he pushed?

Suddenly, the invesrigation is not only open again, but it has a new leader: Andri.

And things are developing rapidly on the trafficking side. Carlsson, in return for protection for his family, starts to cough to the Police. His ‘friend’ is no friend, nor is he an engineer. He’s a vicious bastard, a frightener, and he hasn’t left the boat in years, either in Iceland or Denmark. And there are things going on in Seydisfjordur that the Police don’t begin to suspect.

With Reykjavik’s assistance, the ‘engineer’ is identified as a very dangerous criminal named Dvalinn (it’s pronounced Dwalin, as in The Hobbit). And now he’s left the boat and gone to the hotel to contact Gudni – who, like his friend Leifur of the fish factory, is thankful Siggy’s not going to be talking). Slightly surprisingly in a man so all-fired dangerous, he gets captured by Andri and Asgeir.

Slowly does it. Andri’s back in charge, with a lot to do, but with at least a breathing space. Agnes fills some of that breathing space by coming to apologise for how she’s treated Andri. He’s philosophical about the breakdown of their elationship, the fact that they both hurt each other, albeit unintentionally. He’s even begrudgingly admiring of boyfriend Sigvaldi, who isn’t a total dickhead and who’s behaving better than Andri could have done.

But Agnes is a mass of quivering sexual tension, which she’s not directing at Sigvaldi, although the philosophical Andri seems oblivious of it. Until she snogs him, that is, at which point Icelandic bears of men do what Icelandic bears of men do, and very whole-heartedly.

There are going to be consequences of this. I mean, Sifvaldi’s already suspicious when Agnes and Andri come home together…

In the morning, the sun’s out, everything’s thawing, it’s peaceful and quiet. Andri has his washing to do. His mother-in-law adds some things, but tells him not to wash father-in-law Eoirikur’s pants: they’re ‘reeking’ and she’s going to wash them separately, tomorrow. But as Andri is refolding them, somehing falls out of the pocket. It’s a key. A padlock key.

And it unlocks the padlock that was used to lock the door of the shed in which Mayor Hrafn burned to death…

Saturday ScandiCrime: Trapped episodes 5 & 6


Coming your way rather later than usual, on account of this having been a particularly shitty week and my having been too exhausted to focus when the latest two instalments of Trapped were first broadcast.

Perhaps it was just that I was watching in daylight for once, but the first of this week’s two episodes was surprisingly slow, nor did it do much to advance the story. Not that I’m complaining in the slightest, since it was also superb from start to finish. We left Andri, Sigurdur and his elderly Dad, Godmundur, being overwhelmed by a CGI avalanche that was not, frankly, of the best CGI. Not that this mattered either, not in the context of the aftermath, which was that the fall knocked out the powerlines, and the entire town of Siglufjordur got switched off in an instant: no light, no heat, no mobile phone signals.

This was a game-changer, and I’m only sorry that the power came back on late in episode 6, because the sense of claustrophobia, and the underlying notion that everyone in town was trapped with the murderer, was there to be ramped up.

But that’s not where the show went. True, it had Andri delivering a message to the community, in the Church, admitting that he, Hinrika and Asgeir have no answers, but promising that they will do everything to bring the culprit in, and in the meantime almost demanding that the town does not turn in upon itself in suspicion.

Instead, the majority of episode 5 concentrated on the three men in the snow. All three survived, but Godmundur had suffered a spinal injury. Whilst Sigurdur guarded him, Andri stumbled into the night, looking at the end of his tether, to seek help. In the end, this came in the form of the Ferry Doctor and a team of orange-suited helpers on jet-skis.

The conditions were hell, if hell can be constructed from snow, ice and wind. It was imperative that Godmundur not be moved, but with no form of aerial rescue remotely possible in the treacherous conditions, Andri took responsibility for getting Godmundur down. All it achieved was the old man’s death. But even in this taut, near-episode long diversion, the overall plot was served: Godmundur’s land, the vital parcel he was refusing to sell to the Chinese Conglomerate, passed into the hands of poor, pliable Sigurdur, he who is under that thumb of evil-plotting Mayor Hrafn.

What made episode 5 shine even more was that so much of its dangers and strictures was contrasted, in alternating scenes, with the local teenagers breaking into the swimming pool and having a candlelight pool party. Scarred Hjortur was dragged in by a couple of girls and, by implication, got his end away with the blonde one, though his attention remained fixed on young Johanna, niece to the unfortunate Dagny and wielder of a pretty mean bikini. Johanna even slipped off into the showers for some Icelandic snogging with one lad who, assuming she was into the kinky stuff, tied one of her hands. For a moment, it looked like sinister stuff might occur but some stern repetitions of ‘Untie me’ was all that was needed to quell the lad’s progress.

And meanwhile, little Hinrika – who is becoming a more formidable character by the episode, the more so for the deliberate choice of a non-beauty actress in a leading role – sat out events, cut off by the avalanche at Ragnvoldur’s cabin, keeping him company in the dark and learning several interesting things from his accounts of his telescopic voyeurism, including news of a public argument between Mayor Hrafn and Geirmundur, he of the purloined torso.

Yes, the compass needle of crime is swinging definitely in the direction of the ex-Chief of Police. Which is why it came as a bit of a shock when, in the closing minutes of the episode, someone known to our wife-beating Mayor but not to us fetched him a couple of hefty ones with a spade, sloshed good liquor all over the place, set it alight and then padlocked the suspect in his shed, to burn to death under the watchful eyes of the widow Kolbrun.

So episode 6 saw things back on track. Andri, despite no apparent sleep in at least 48 hours, soldiers on manfully, lumbering towards the truth. Little pieces of plot bubbled to the surface in his slow wake. Marie, unmarried mother of fatherless Maggi, seems particularly upset at Hrafn’s death: is she mourning a father figure, or is there a baser reason why Maggi’s father doesn’t come to visit him?

Agnes’ concern for her ex-husband grows to the point of a hug in the churchyard, witnessed by elder daughter Thorhildur, who accuses her of still loving Daddy. Even her elder sister, Laufey, is critical of her for running out on her marriage. Just what lies behind that?

Asgeir clears the pool of miscreants. He finds the Swiss Bruno Weisman, the missing passenger who was originally thought to be torso-boy but of more importance he finds the German tourists’ missing camera, and on it an accidental shot of Geirmundur arguing with someone else: Sigurdur.

Whilst the power is being restored, the winds ease sufficiently to enable the Reykjavik Forensics Squad fly in by helicopter, under the command of Andri’s antagonist, Detective Tressi. They land in the square, just as a chase comes to an end.

For Andri and Hinrika, visiting Sigurdur, have found Lrifur and Gudni just leaving, a pair who seemed concerned about Sigurdur’s reliability after his Dad’s death. And right they are too: no sooner is Siggi confronted with the film of his quarrel with Geirmundur than he throws a wobbler, leaps into his car and shoots off.

The chase is on. Thanks to Rognvaldur, our Police trio discover that Sigurdur has headed off into the fjord, with a rifle. Using the little police jet-boat, they shoot off into the middle of that magnificent scenery, board his boat and overpower him. Siggi’s been messing with the hold hatch. When Andri and Asgeir lift it, there is incriminating evidence within: a headless and limbless torso with multiple stab wounds…

Oh dear. Oh very very dear.