Part 1 15/06/2013
female images have changed
This Swedish film adaptation of Henning Mankell's novel was made in 2001.
this because the gender roles and the image of men and women have changed since then.
Maybe that is the reason
why I nowadays am a bit reluctant to give credit to Wallander.
Let me explain. Wallander as a detective is a sympathetic
enfant terrible, who always attracts competent women to clean up the mess after him.
That is so old-fashioned.
There is yet to be seen a female detective who is truly enfant terrible.
We have seen some childish and innocently
radical female detectives in Laure of Spiral and a very original detective in Saga Noren of The Bridge.
What's Wallander up to?
of hours later) As usual, I have to take back what I’ve just said.
This film (in two parts) did not (mainly)
focus on the relationship between Wallander and women.
The only woman
with a more personal relationship to Wallander was his daughter, who came to live with him for a short while.
The film and the story began with a girl in a cornfield.
farmer who owned the field alarmed the police when he couldn’t reach the girl or make her to leave the cornfield.
Wallander was asked to go and have a look. He couldn’t make the girl (who
looked like an American Indian) in the cornfield to stop and talk.
she set herself on fire! The whole cornfield was on fire.
Later on we
learned that the girl came from South America.
The scalped victims
We were also
following an unhappy, poor family, where the mother wasn’t very good at looking after her children.
Her teenage son, Stefan, had a secret hiding place where he was reading a diary, painting his face, and putting
on a minimal amount of clothing making him look like an American Indian on the warpath.
covered this ‘warpath outfit’ under a track suit.
Then we witnessed him visiting the roof a house
near the sea. It was already quite dark.
He followed an old man
who came out of the house and went for a walk on the beach.
The old man
turned and saw the teenager in his warpath outfit.
attacked the old man with an axe (a tomahawk?) while the old man was trying to escape him. Then he scalped him.
We learned that the old man had been the Minister of Justice some 25 years ago.
Later on we saw the teenage boy visiting his sister in an institution.
sister did not talk. She looked unhappy but was not able to express in words her state of mind.
the visit, Stefan, the teenage boy, happened to witness some illegal activity, and had a chat with a man who was involved
in illegal activities.
They agreed to meet in the evening for some stolen goods.
the evening, the teenager repeated his rituals; reading the diary, painting his face, putting on the warpath outfit. Then
he killed the man he had a chat with earlier.
This time he not only scalped the man but cut off the eyes, as well. It appeared that this man was the teenager's
nasty father. The killed man was well-known to Malmo-police for his
He had also been in the habit of beating up his wife.
We have to wait for the
next episode to find out the whole story behind the teenager’s behaviour. He
certainly is acting on behalf of his sister who cannot defend herself. The diary, the teenage boy, Stefan, was reading probably
belonged to the sister.
I liked the way we were given
the chance to follow the actions and rituals of Stefan, the teenager, from the beginning, and not only when he killed people.
Now we see him as a human being who has never had a good life, or a decent mother and father figures who would
have explained to him the difference between right and wrong.
I suppose the boy had taken over the sister’s pain,
and by killing those who somehow were responsible for the sister’s state of mind, he believed the sister would become
But we have to wait a week to
learn more about this.
Why the ex-Justice Minister? And who was the girl in
To be continued...
Blues, Part 2 08/06/2013
This is an excellent drama
from the Swedish Television, and it goes much deeper than any ordinary crime drama.
is about horrible crimes committed during the Second World War, about surviving relatives hunting down killers today, and
our A Unit being assigned to investigate seemingly unrelated murders that will lead to the dark secrets of the past.
It is also about modern Europe where collaboration between the police forces
and research institutes of different countries already has become self-evident.
Investigations in Italy and Germany
this final part of Arne Dahl crime dramas we were following Arto, the member of the A Unit who had recently and surprisingly
inherited a large amount of money from a distant relative.
him across Europe in search of information and evidence.
We were shown
beautiful Italian landscapes while Arto was interviewing a seemingly respectable, powerful old man, Spinelli, who was also
the leader of a crime syndicate.
The old man claimed Arto looked familiar, and that he
might have met a relative of Arto during the war.
It was a brave move from
Arto’s side to go and visit this powerful man.
As a consequence his hotel room was searched and he was followed
wherever he went.
Yet, he established a good relationship with his Italian
They were always meeting in restaurants in which they ate well and drank Italian wine.
However, after the A Unit established new leads, Arto was sent to Weimar, in
The tragic family history and revenge
The other main figure we were following was Reina, the only surviving
member of the Russian girls, who were prostitutes and who were used as prostitutes.
appeared that she was the daughter of the man who was buried in the cemetery without a name (see Part 1).
Reina and her sister Magda were searching for the butchers, who tortured their father when he was a child
in Germany during the 1940s, and who finally killed him in Stockholm some 18 years back.
killers learned that Reina was not among the girls who were killed earlier (see Part 1), and sent a killer after her.
Reina was having an affair with a Swedish girl, Dyta, but she had to escape
when the girlfriend informed her that the killer was looking for her.
were a couple of thrilling scenes. Reina was leaving their shared flat only to meet at the front door the killer.
She ran down to the basement followed by the killer, to garage, up and down stairs,
and finally managed to escape the killer.
Unfortunately, the killer
remained in the building, and when Reina’s Swedish girlfriend Dyta returned home, he was waiting for her there.
The killer tried to get Dyta reveal where Reina was, but since she didn’t
know, he brutally killed her.
When Reina finally returned to the flat, she found Dyta
lying in the bed covered in blood.
Reina was so desperate she considered jumping down from
the top of the building, but in the last minute decided to contact her sister instead.
sister had learned more about the killers of their father, and the two girls decided to travel to Italy.
To Weimar and back to Italy
In Weimar Arto visited a research institute that had during the war acted as a brain research institute where
painful experiments and torture were carried out on prisoners.
of the current institute revealed that there had been three ‘butchers’ at the institute.
These butchers carried out experiments on prisoners that reminded of the way the Jewish old scientist was
killed in Stockholm (see, Part 1).
They had not been able to verify whether these three men
were still alive. They had all been experts in brain surgery.
One of them
has a German name, another a Swedish name, but the third one was a mystery.
the available information, Arto figured out that the old, Italian leader of a crime syndicate, must have been one of them.
He had changed his German name into an Italian name (Spinelli, if
I remember it correctly.)
Arto contacted his Italian colleague and informed him
of the findings, and they decided Arto was to return to Italy.
Who was the Swedish butcher?
A Unit came to the conclusion that the killed Jewish scientist, Sheinkman, was a converted Jew.
From the evidence, they
also concluded that he was originally the Swedish scientist who had carried out horrible experiments in Weimar during the
The real Sheinkman died in Weimar, and the Swedish scientist simply
took over his identity (and his diaries).
This was of course terrible
news to the family of the killed scientist, who had lived in the thought that their father was a Buchenwald surviver.
The third butcher..
When Arto returned to Italy, he was immediately kidnapped by the
men of the old Italian, Spinelli.
He was taken to Spinelli, where Arto confronted him about
his true identity.
He also confronted himself by asking about the third butcher.
Arto asked if Pertti Lindroos (the relative he had inherited) had
been one of the scientists in Weimar during the war.
The old Italian
admitted all his claims, and told Arto he was going be killed in the same way as they used to kill people in Weimar.
Meanwhile, Reina and her sister Magda had reached the villa and saw that the
Italian was going to kill Arto.
Here the drama turned into a ‘Western’ in
which the girls armed with handguns walked towards the group surrounding Arto and started shooting.
Spinelli’s men started shooting back and somewhere in the background the Italian police was on their
way to the scene.
Arto was shot, and for a while it seemed as if couldn’t
Fortunately, next time we saw Arto, he was in
an Italian hospital bed.
He had the unpleasant task of telling his wife that there would not be any purchase of
The money he had inherited had blood on it.
Back in Sweden
Against a beautiful Swedish summer lake landscape, Cilla told Paul
that she wanted divorce.
Kerstin was trying to establish a relationship with her
little (adopted) son.
Jenny, the boss of the A Unit, refused to decide which
team members she was willing to let go (see Part 1).
We saw Gunnar
establish a relationship with his new girlfriend.
Jorge was still longing
for having children with Sara, but Sara firmly kept her standpoint on the topic.
This certainly was a great drama.
particularly liked the way how it established a collective guilt for the horrible crimes committed during the Second World
Also among the ‘good Scandinavians’ were persons, scientists, who without remorse had committed
terrible experimental crimes.
done, Swedish Television, the writers, directors, and actors.
I'm going to miss the A Unit.
Europa Blues 01/06/2013
I honestly thought the 2 episodes last Saturday were the
last episodes in the Arne Dahl crime drama series. I was wrong.
seem to have saved the most serious two episodes last.
Nationalism, Nazis, and prostitutes
time we are following several serious storylines.
We have a retired, 92-year-old
Jewish neuroscientist murdered, and hanged upside down from a tree in the cemetery.
also have a middle-aged man found dead at Skansen, the Zoo. He had been killed and then thrown to wolverines (who ate a bit
We have 6 Russian/Ukrainian girls who were forced to work
as prostitutes. They managed to escape back to Russia and Ukraine.
story began in an underground coach where a couple of Swedish youngsters started to sing ‘Du gamla, du fria’ (the
Swedish national anthem) while showing their swastika tattoos to a Muslim girl in front of them.
They continued to the cemetery, where they kicked down Jewish gravestones.
They even made Sieg
This was followed by the old Jewish scientist entering
the cemetery to pay a visit to the graves of some of his friends.
Somebody attacked him. We didn't see
who it was.
The next thing shown to us was our A Unit entering the
scene where the old man had been found dead.
Who killed him? Initially, it looked like the Nazis had done it,
but later on the team doubted it.
Somehow they figured out that the other killed man, the
Skansen-man, was the pimp of the Russian girls.
It appeared that the Skansen-man was of Greek origin, with links
to an Italian gang dealing with human trafficking.
know who killed the old man. We don’t know but suspect that the Russian girls killed the Skansen-man.
also saw the Russian/Ukrainian girls being killed when they finally arrive in Ukraine. Who the killers were, we don't
Jenny has a big problem
Jenny Hulten, the boss of the A Unit, has been asked to reduce the number of team members
in her A Unit. She was furious at first and did her best to defend the
However, the police forces were making cuts, and had decided to save by cutting down the funding of her
A Unit. How is she going to decide which team members to keep, and which ones to
The other team members
Viggo has become used
to being a (good) father, and now he learns that the girlfriend, Astrid, is pregnant again.
Dear old Viggo is happier than ever.
got a strange reason to be confused and happy. Apparently, a relative of his had left him a nice sum of 3 million Swedish
Arto’s wife immediately began to plan what they
could do with the money.
She arranged them to see a summer house near the sea (costing 3 million) next day(!).
Gunnar is having his first date in ages.
A nice academic,
who (for some reason) seemed to fancy Gunnar when Gunnar was asking for her help to interpret phone messages of the Russian
Kerstin’s suitability as a mother is under investigation.
In the last minutes of the episode she received a message telling that her application to adopt her own son (see comments
on previous episodes for explanation) had been accepted.
The mysterious cleaner
have to add a new-old character to the cast. It is the cleaner.
The cleaner is a man of foreign origin, who seems
to be a mind-reader and a bit of a magician...
He appears always out
of nowhere, when any of the team members is in need of some philosophical thoughts from an outsider.
This time Arto was the one getting a ‘treatment’ from him.
told Arto that he has to travel to Italy to find out about the gang who is somehow linked to the murders they are investigating.
Arto is not happy because his wife wants him to concentrate on buying the summerhouse!
Arto heard our cleaner singing in Italian and began to chat with him about Italian
The cleaner asked if he was familiar with another melody.
Arto listened carefully and said he was not familiar with that one, and asked what the lyrics said.
Our cleaner said that he sang ‘easy come, easy go’.
we clearly have a clue to what is waiting for Arto concerning the great inheritance!
wonder if the cleaner isn’t the collective soul of the A Unit?
Two extra observations this time:
It was summer and it was hot. In all previous episodes we have witnessed winter or at least rain.
the short scene at Skansen. Did you know that Skansen has adorable bears, who know how to get food from tourists...
To be continued..
Part 2 25/05/2013
Part 2 is the final part of Many Waters, and therefore, we expect
all the confusing things that happened in Part 1 to be explained us.
afraid only some of the many confusing mysteries in Part 1 were solved or explained to us.
Kerstin was told to take a couple of days off, because she was judged to be too emotionally involved.
police-officer, who was suspected of killing a refugee, was Kerstin’s ex-boyfriend, Dag.
It became evident in Part 2 that Dag, the ex-boyfriend, never accepted their separation.
He is hiding, but keeps on sending messages to Kerstin, telling her
that he wants them to be a real family. That makes Kerstin feel sick. Why?
tries to find him, and every lead takes her closer to the terrible truth with its roots in the past.
Meanwhile, Paul and Sara are sent to investigate if the supposed serial killer was telling the truth by claiming
that there were bodies buried in a certain spot.
This spot happened to be the same region in which a couple and their little
boy had disappeared recently. The only bodies they found belong to that couple. The
little boy was never found.
DNA analyses showed that the killed couple were not the boy’s biological parents. The boy was adopted.
What about the illegal migrants?
The killed migrant and the other, arrested migrants were only preteding to be refugees. They
were professionals educated in chemistry and medicine. Why were they
Why did one of them wish to do cleaning work in the Pharmacy company?
The pharmacy company was obviously developing a vaccine against malaria.
the developmental costs were high, meaning that poor Africans would never gain the benefits of the developed malaria vaccine.
It wasn’t made clear in Part 2 if the African pretending-to-be-refugees
were engaged in industrial espionage, but that was my conclusion.
(I think that was a brilliant idea!).
Still, it does not explain why the policeman shot one of them.
It became clear that the same pharmacy company was carrying out experiments on a new drug to treat alcohol
abuse, as well.
Dag, the police officer, was part of the experiment (I
told you that there were some strange experiments going on at the end of the comments on Part1!).
This new drug had side-effects, such as increased aggression, distorted image of reality.
In the past Kerstin and Dag had been together.
Kerstin had doubts about Dag’s character and mental health.
she became pregnant, she didn’t tell Dag. She gave birth to a son, and left him for adoption.
Later on Dag learned about it. He found out who had adopted the son.
The couple that was found
killed, was the couple who had adopted their son.
Thus, it was Dag who killed
them. Now he wanted to unite Kerstin and the son, and the three of them to become a real family.
In the final scenes of the drama, Kerstin and Dag are fighting. The A Unit appeared in the last minute, and
Dag killed himself.
The drama ends in that we see Kerstin looking at
her son through the window.
The child is playing outside. Kerstin now is trying to ‘adopt’ her
son. The end.
A good drama but with
I was really disappointed.
So many interesting points were left unanswered.
How did Dag get involved
in the experimental drug with dangerous side-effects?
Was it on the
Private Institute where he had been treated for alcoholism?
the A Unit interested in the legal aspects of this experiment?
it interested in the legal aspects of the activities of the Pharmacy Company?
is so easy to focus on a dramatic ‘love story’. In this drama it was the past love story between Kerstin and Dag.
This theme was stressed even more by focusing on the love relationships of the
Paul’s wife Cilla admitted she was jealous, because
Paul was in daily contact with Kerstin, with whom he had a short sexual relationship.
Jorge was jealous when Sara was sent away on duty for a couple of days, and so on.
I honestly think there would have been more
interesting questions to pick as the main theme.
Yet, I have to admit that all the
Arne Dahl crime drama series have been engaging.
22/05/2013 Swedish crime drama Many Waters, Part 1
Strange things are happening
An illegal immigrant,
or someone, who was supposed to be deported from Sweden, got shot by the police. There is some doubt about
the correctness of the police officer’s account of the shooting episode.
It appears that the police had
got a message from the Migration Office about the hiding place of these migrants.
Our team ‘A Unit’ was
given the task to investigate the shooting.
All the illegal migrants seem to be lying, but why?
The man who was shot was obviously the son of a Minister in Nigeria or Uganda.
The officer who shot
the migrant happened to be Kerstin’s ex-boyfriend. We haven’t been told yet what the dark secret between them
This officer disappeared after been interrogated by the team, but makes mysterious phone calls
to Kerstin, reminding her of the past.
But, as I said, we don’t know what happened in the past.
A small thief and a mysterious dead man
A small thief, who calls himself
‘master thief’, got an anonymous phone call about an empty flat.
He broke into the flat,
found some money, a strange letter, and a body of a dead man.
A neighbour heard him entering the flat
and called the police.
The thief tried to negotiate a deal with Viggo and Arto who were questioning him, the help
of the letter he had found.
When Viggo and Arto followed him to the flat, where he had seen the body, he ran away.
The boss, Jenny Hultin, was not pleased with Viggo and Arto...
In the letter,
which was supposed to be written by the dead man, the writer admitted he was a serial killer and also told where the
bodies could be found.
that mystery enough?
How do illegal migrants, a cleaning firm who employs illegal migrants, a pharmacy
company in which the killed migrants had been working, the dead man who claimed to be a serial killer, hang together?
I don’t know. But what about the following explanation?
Perhaps the pharmacy
company used illegal migrants, poor or helpless Swedish people without relatives as guinea pigs in some dangerous experiments,
and had a deal with the Nigerian or Ugandan government concerning the profits of the drug or chemical weapon they were
developing under the nose of the Swedish police?
To be continued...
Latest comments: To the top of the mountain, Part 2 11/05/2013
Previous TV Night comments:
To the Top of the mountain, Part 1 04/05/2013
Husband 09/05/2013, 02/05/2013 and 25/04/2013
Bad Blood 27/04/2013 and 20/04/2013
Whitechapel, a crime drama on
The new Swedish crime drama the Blinded Man,
13/04/2013 and 06/04/2013,
The secret in their eyes- a thriller.
Silence - a thriller
Spiral- a French crime drama
TV Nights Week 19.
the top of the mountain, part 2
In this second and final episode we are supposed to find out how
paintings, and paedophiles hang together...
Who did and what?
David Billinger, the owner of the restaurant Goose in Stockholm, was involved in the
smuggling of cocaine.
The bomb that exploded in the restaurant was the work of their Dutch competitors in
drug smuggling. David’s brother, Sverker, did not survive.
David gave orders to kill the
undercover police (who died in a car explosion in Netherlands).
Paul and Kerstin were in the
restaurant by the time of explosion. They survived.
Jorge was shot by the Dutch gangsters, who
in turn were shot by David’s hit men.
Fortunately, Jorge was wearing a bulletproof vest and
Now all our heroes in the team have been shot or hit in the head at least once. If
they continue this way, they’ll all be dead within two weeks.
nasty truth about David
David was not only involved in cocaine smuggling, but
had an even nastier past.
Sara’s dedicated work to reveal the online paedophile ring indicated that David
was the leader of the ring, and that the online pictures of children came from him.
David had sexually abused
his own daughter when she was a child.
He had also published pictures of her in a paedophile magazine.
Now we understand why the daughter stole a million from her father, David.
the final scenes the daughter confronted David about the past events.
David denied and claimed that nothing had
happened, and that she has a sick fantasy world.
And the personal
Jorge is truly in love with Sara, and Sara seems to be equally in love with Jorge.
Viggo’s family drama seems to be heading towards a happy ending, now that the girlfriend has decided
to stay in Stockholm, and has temporarily moved in Viggo’s home with the baby.
Paul and Cilla seem to
be quite happy too.
I’m sure the writers will find something terrible to happen to them
all in the final two episodes!
The best in the show
The best thing I noticed this time was the snow and the winter weather.
Have you noticed that
it’s been winter in each episode?
That’s good, because it shows that police work can be done even
when it snows and rains.
Next week’s episode will be delayed because on the next SATURDAY I’ll
be following the EUROVISION SONG CONTEST
Politician's Husband, final episode 09/05/2013
In this final episode of Politician’s Husband, we
see Aiden getting even with Bruce.
Bruce had fooled Aiden to bid for leadership, and then
betrayed Aiden by pretending to be shocked by his behaviour.
Bruce to accept a proposal of business activity (in the belief that he, Bruce, is misleading Aiden), which leads Bruce to
accept bribes from two undercover journalists.
That scandal ends Bruce’s
ambitions of becoming the leader of the party.
Aiden also assumes that
his wife Freya was having an affair with Bruce.
While Bruce is busy accepting
bribes from the journalists, Aiden gives a speech of his lifetime in the House of Commons (about ethics in politics!).
The nanny of the children of Aiden and Freya makes false accusations against
Aiden’s father gets too many and too often unpleasant surprises
in the family dynamics, and his heart fails him.
Freya realizes that
Aiden did not only try to get even with Bruce but with her as well. She threatens to leave Aiden.
In the final scenes of this drama we see the happy couple (yes, Aiden and Freya) waiving to the journalists
in front of Number 10 Downing Street.
One of them became the Prime
Minister, the other one Deputy Prime Minister.
I think it was Freya who
became the PM.
Unfortunately, it was not explained on what grounds she
The writers of the drama did not let her utter a single
sentence that would have revealed what her political preferences or visions were!
only conclusion is that she was elected because she was an opportunist without any own opinions.
She was simply
a marionette. Not very flattering, I’m afraid.
with this drama was that it tried too much to surprise the spectators. The surprises were never explained or analysed in depth.
Perhaps the writers themselves didn’t know why they picked the solutions they
TV Nights 04/05/2013
To the top of the mountain, Part 1
Nine months has passed in the lives of our fictional characters since the last episode.
The first part of this drama begins in Netherlands, where a Swedish family is travelling across the country
in their car.
Suddenly the car exploded. The Dutch police asked the
Swedish police for help to solve the case.
There seemed to be smuggling
of cocaine going on between Netherlands and Sweden.
The team is also involved in revealing a paedophile ring sending
child pornography online.
cocaine business is somehow connected to a restaurant called Goose in Stockholm.
man who was killed in Netherlands was obviously an undercover police officer.
owner of the Goose, David, wished to buy a Miro-painting (a stolen painting?), and asked his right hand man in the restaurant
to set aside 3 million crowns for the purchase.
Before he got to collect
the money, his daughter arranged a burglary in the restaurant and stole the money!
not quite sure what kind of relationship this daughter and father–pair is having..
In the last minutes of
this episode somebody tried to kill David. Was that related to the cocaine, to the painting, or to what?
As always, the private life of the team members is more interesting than the complex criminal
Viggo received a surprise
visit from the girl he had met in a nightclub in the last episode. Now she had a newborn child with her.
It seemed that the child was Viggo’s, who was very happy, and began to plan a life together with the
Unfortunately, it showed later on that the girlfriend
had found another guy to live with, and was planning to move to the Northern part of the country!
Viggo needed to consult Arto who used to be a (mafia) lawyer. We’ll wait and see what happens in the
Will Viggo become a single father?
The dinner party
wife, Cilla, wished to learn to know Paul’s workmates better and asked Paul to invite Jorge for dinner, who accepted
Jorge in turn thought that Kerstin would appreciate a
dinner party too. He didn’t know anything about the shared ‘secret’ of Paul and Kerstin.
Kerstin is going through hard times, since her priest boyfriend died.
She thought it was not ‘fair’
that the man she loved should die a couple of months after they had met.
dinner party was somewhat embarrassing. Cilla had a bit too much wine to drink and enjoyed the company of Jorge, while Paul
and Kerstin sat in silence.
And the rest of
Meanwhile Gunnar was forced to watch child pornography
pages online day in and day out. It made him feel sick.
Sara is a girl
who was also assigned to work on the case.
Gunnar asked how she managed to work with this kind of sick material.
She said that she swam a lot.
Sara worked hard and managed to crack the code to the paedophile ring.
However, they have to wait for couple of days before the next ‘show’
During a birthday party for a higher boss in the police forces, Sara
met the whole team, and especially Jorge, who fell in love with her immediately.
attraction seemed to be mutual.
I’m not sure how the cocaine smuggling, the stolen
money, and the paedophile ring are connected.
That will be revealed
to us next Saturday.
I liked the way the events in the personal life of the characters in this episode were continuations
to the events in the last episode.
To be continued...
The Politician's Husband
In the second episode of this drama, we see
Aiden struggling to accept that the family and political roles are now reversed.
He is now the one who is supposed
to offer landservice to Freya, who is in the cabinet.
It is difficult tor anyone who has to leave his or her familiar
structures due to early retirement or due to any other reason
For a politician used to being in a relatively
strong power position it is even more difficult than for most people.
Aiden expresses his anger, frustration,
and feelings of being out of control also in form of aggressive behaviour in the marital bed.
Not a political but quasi-psychological drama
This is becoming more and more
like an American quasi-psychological movie (or even a thriller).
I must say I don't like the development.
Why do I not like it? Because it is not really a political drama anymore.
Because I still don't know
to what political party Freya and Aiden belong.
Because I don't know in what year these events took place.
Are we in the 1990s or in the middle of current austerity years?
Because Freya has not yet expressed any opinions
that might define her policy ambitions as the Work and Pension secretary.
I suppose we are going to witness how
Aiden becomes more and more 'paranoid' in the coming episodes.
Perhaps his son's illness will
give him some perspective to life, but I doubt it. This is not going to become any existential drama.
attempts to show how sick the power struggles in Westminister are. Perhaps the writers should have aimed higher...
To be continued at least one more episode..
Bad Blood, 27/04/2013 on BBC4
and final episode of Bad Blood had so many plots and reversals of facts that it was hard to keep up with all the changes.
The Kentucky Killer Senior and Junior
As said earlier, an American serial killer, called the
Kentucky Killer, had moved to Sweden.
Jenny’s team tried to
put the pieces together, and their conclusion was that there were two killers, a father and a son. Let’s call them Senior
Kentucky Killer Junior had witnessed in his childhood
how his father tortured and killed people. Or at least, he had seen the torture chamber.
came to Sweden to track down Kentucky Killer Senior, and to kill him.
But Senior managed to kill Junior first
–without knowing that he had killed his own son.
Killer Senior was finally caught, he claimed that he was a CIA agent specialized in terrorists (and torture).
This, of course, explains why the FBI hadn’t been able to catch him..
Senior claimed he had only killed terrorists, and his task in Sweden was to stop Muslim terrorists, who had
been smuggled to the country, from entering the USA.
their plan was to create a new 9//11.
His son, Junior, had obviously
been one of the terrorists' collaborators.
But that was not quite
It emerged that the Muslims, who had been smuggled into the country, were victims of torture carried
out by American soldiers.
They were going to be living examples of that kind of
torture. In the last minutes of the episode they had a chance to do so at the Conference of Amnesty International in Stockholm.
So, the Swedish police was praised by the FBI for catching the killer
(s). No unnecessary modesty there...
private life of the characters
The best part
of this drama was not the complex serial killer plot, but the private life of the main characters.
In the final episode Paul gets closer to his son and wife, and the quality of their family life improves.
Kerstin’s new boyfriend, the priest (who was involved in the smuggling
of the torture victims) is terminally ill. There is obviously no happy ending to this saga.
Gunnar hesitates to contact his son. He leaves text messages to his son. Remember, they haven’t seen
in 15 years.
The drama ends with Gunnar finally travelling to the countryside
where his son lives.
To his surprise, the son meets him with open arms, and
he is invited to meet his wife and son.
The Swedish touch
realised how slowly everything and everyone was moving in this episode, especially the way the team was working.
They were working in the same room, chatting about their private life (although
not with everyone) while working on the case, checking information, sending emails.
is a very Swedish way of working. It is relaxed, social, and very informal way of working.
The relationship between
superiors and subordinates, too, is very relaxed.
also liked a couple of scenes in this episode.
Especially, the one in which the police tried to follow
Justine, one of the suspects, surrounded by vegetable-, fruit-, and meat- stalls in the Saluhallen (I think it was) in the
To be continued...
The Politician’s Husband on BBC2
Husband is a new British political drama on BBC2.
directed for BBC2 by Simon Cellan Jones. The main characters are, of course, politicians.
Aiden Hoynes (played by David Tennant) is a politician who takes risks with his career by challenging the
Freya Hoynes (played by Emily Watson) is a talented
politician and married to Aiden.
While Aiden seems to be a real blabbermouth, Freya
is more reserved and observant.
In the first episode
we learn to know Aiden and Freya and their two children, Noah and Ruby.
Noah was diagnosed with Asperger’s
when he was 5 years old.
We also learn that Aiden is backstabbed by his political
friend, Bruce (played by Ed Stoppard), when he bids for leadership.
plays Machiavellian games with politics, and has his fingers in many plots!
resigns from the cabinet. He is full of anger.
Freya is offered the cabinet post of Work and Pensions (in real
world Iain Duncan-Smith’s post!), which she accepts.
Bruce plays Mephistopheles to her Margareta (eh...)
by flattering her for her talents.
Since this is about
British politics, there must be much backstabbing and Machiavellian plots.
the coming episodes we can expect more backstabbing even within the family, now that Freya has her own career to think about!
I sincerely hope there is some space for real political debates too.
suspect that the director and writers were somewhat influenced by Borgen, which has been commented upon on this page previously.
To judge from Politician’s husband and from Borgen, there
clearly is a fashion that can be called ‘political fashion’.
dress suit for women, and dark blue or dark grey suit for men.
life must also be integrated in the political life in modern political drama.
there must be at least one family member with specific problems, illnesses.
To be continued...
TV Nights Saturday 20/04/2013- Bad Blood
The Swedish crime drama continues
was wrong. The Swedish crime drama Blinded Man was not an end to the series, but continues with the same cast but under a
The new drama one is called Bad Blood. It is is shown on two successive Saturdays on BBC4.
Both follow-ups belong to Arne Dahl crime drama series.
The first episodes
of Bad Blood began with the team from the previous episodes of the Blinded Man (see previous comments) gathered together again.
A nasty serial killer from the USA
They are having a surprise party for Viggo’s 50th
birthday. Suddenly Jenny, their boss, appears and tells them about a phone call from the FBI. A nasty serial killer is heading
This is a bit confusing. Why was the team there? Surely
not only to celebrate Viggo?
In the previous episodes it was made clear that the each
of them was selected to solve a particularly nasty crime. Usually, they worked for Police districts in different parts of
the country and one of them was ‘imported’ from Finland (the walking lexicon).
The writers and the produced have some explaining to do, I think!
a nasty serial killer is heading for Sweden. Unfortunately, FBI can only tell them that the killer is a white, middle aged
The team goes to Arlanda, to check arriving flights
from the USA. They don’t catch the killer.
Several sadistic killings take place in the first episode.
There are also a couple of ‘good Samaritans’ helping
to smuggle a couple of refugees into the country. It is not clear how these events are related to the main theme.
Sex, sex, and sex
Some of the team members are having a night out to celebrate Viggo.
They all end up having sex.
Kerstin Holm has found a new boyfriend who is a priest.
They are having sex.
Paul is reunited with his wife. They are having sex. His
wife points out that nowadays they are only having sex after having something to drink!
Gunnar, the policeman who was shot in the previous episodes, is not having sex. He is just drinking.
Gunnar is thinking of his children. He hasn’t seen them in 15 years. He doesn’t know how
they look like today.
A great detail in this episode is Gunnar having a
dream in which he is asked to identify a body supposed to be his son.
asked if he can identify the body, he says he doesn’t know.
just what Bergman would have had his characters to say and do?
Gunnar decides to make a call to his daughter. The
daughter is surprised but does not reject his attempt to become friends. A good start.
another interesting detail is that Paul’s son has become a ‘difficult’ teenager. Paul doesn’t understand
When the son appears in a scene in which Paul and his friends are
checking some criminal gang activity, Paul gets a nasty chock. His son is involved in criminal activity!
We still don’t know why the serial killer has come to Sweden, except to kill more people. The team is
not closer to catching him.
Well, I suppose we know more next Saturday.
To be continued...
TV Nights 18/04/2013 Whitechapel
Whitechapel on ITV3 is a repeat, I know!
Unfortunately, I missed the first episodes earlier, but
now had a chance to see them.
The frame story is that an experienced (murder) crime
team in East London’s Whitechapel gets a new boss, a young, well-educated, inexperienced boss.
The team is not very happy about it.
Nor is the
new inexperienced boss, Joseph Chandler (played by Rupert Penry-Jones) happy about it. (I wonder if they name was selected
after Raymond Chandler?).
Chandler is painfully aware of the fact that he lacks
experience and has got a fast track career ticket, and is expected to do well in his position.
He is also somewhat neurotic. He cannot stand dirt, and cleanliness is his top priority. It helps him to concentrate
(but what about the others??).
The first killer replicates the murders of Jack the RipperThere is a murderer in full action in London’s East End. He
(or is it a she?) is killing women, mutilating the bodies, cutting the bodies...
murderer leaves no fingerprints, clues, evidence after him. What to do?
appears that the murderer is a copycat killer replicating the killings of Jack the Ripper.
This is and will be the main theme of Whitechapel; murderers replicating historical crimes!
The team needs the support of the original Ripperologist Edward Buchan (played by Steve Pemberton), who initially
becomes a prime suspect.
The team doesn’t like him and his expert knowledge.
Especially, the self-appointed top dog Ds Ray Miles (played by Phil Davis) doesn’t like him.
There is mutual mistrust and corresponding misinterpretations of the intentions of the team members and the
However, slowly the members and the boss learn to work
together, undertsand each others way of working, and begin to get results.
the end, the murderer replicating the murders of Jack the Ripper, is located, and the last victim of the supposed replicated
murders is saved.
The murderer commits suicide, because his work is done.
For him there’s nothing left to live for.
I like the idea of using
historical crimes as source of information to solve current crimes!
TV Nights: 13/04/2013 The Blinded Man, Part 2
second and final part of the Blinded Man offered us as much violence as the first part.
is back from Tallinn. He survived the crucifixion (he was nailed in the wall), but is ashamed of his own stupid behaviour
that landed him in trouble.
Jenny’s team becomes slowly aware that the Russian
Mafia, after all, isn’t behind the killings.
One of the detectives
is shot while they are keeping an eye on the house belonging to one of the bankers suspected to be on the killer’s list.
We learn a bit more about the background of the main characters,
usually through mobile phone calls from family members or ex family members when in the middle of duties.
Arto Soderstedt (played by Niklas Akerfelt), the walking lexicon, for example, has 5 children and he calls
them after their order number instead of their names (Number 5 was sick...).
also has unusual links to and knowledge of the Russian Mafia.
wife gets tired of him for never being at home, and decides to have some time off. Alone. Without children.
She leaves the task of finding a babysitter to Paul!
think this should have been a drama in 4 parts. Then we would have had a better understanding of how past events had shaped
the main characters and turned them into the persons they are now.
Who was the killer?
Finally, they think they have identified
the killer. Goran Anderson is a bank clerk who was fired because of low profitability
(and yet there seemed to be millions available for bonuses to the leaders-sounds familiar).
The news was a chock to him, since he had been a dedicated worker at that bank most of his life.
By a strange coincidence he happens to be visiting the bank to collect his belongings
just when a bank robber makes an attempt to rob the bank.
the robber (who works usually for the Russian Mafia) and takes over the robbers guns.
he gets the idea to use the guns to kill leaders of financial institutions.
the final scenes we find Paul once again going alone to face the killer (see the first episode), who has two persons as hostage
(he is planning to kill them).
Paul tries to talk him out of the plan and to unarm him,
which is difficult.
When the situation seems hopeless, Paul is helped out by Jorge who shoots the killer.
Then it is time to say goodbye to the team members. They came from different
parts of the country, and were put together only to catch the killer.
I said, this should have been a 4-part follow-up.
Perhaps the best thing
with this drama was the way co-operation between the police in different countries (Sweden, Finland, and Estonia) was made
to look like as a normal and everyday routine. That’s how it should be.
plus was seeing all these suburbs of Stockholm and all the underground stations!
There will be more Arne Dahl’s crime dramas, but unfortunately I don’t know if they involve Jenny
or any of the team members.
To be continued...
A new crime drama began tonight on BBC4. This time
we are offered Arne Dahl series from Sweden.
Totally 10 episodes
will be shown on Saturday evenings.
The Blinded Man- Part 1
first 2 episodes are directed by Harald Hamrell, and authored by Cecilia and Rolf Borjling.
It is about a potential serial killer who seems to target wealthy financiers and businessmen.
Detective Inspector Jenny Hultin (played by Irene Lindh) is in charge of a team aiming to catch the killer.
Jenny’s team consist of the best detectives, although some of the team members have difficult personalities.
a month ago I stated that Spiral was hard to watch because of the brutal violence shown in it. I also stated that the Scandinavian
crime dramas are easier because of the aesthetic violence shown in them.
I must take that back.
The first episode of the Blinded Man was full of brutal violence, conflicting characters, and scary moments.
As said a middle aged very competent Jenny Hultin is
the leader of the team.
The team Jenny has set up consists of very different personalities, which is exactly
what Jenny wanted.
We have an older team member, Viggo (played by Claes Ljungmark), whose ability to function
in ‘action’ is questioned a couple of time.
We have an interesting ‘hero’
in Paul Hjelm (played by Shanti Roney), who is somewhat introvert but fast in action. Introvert in the sense that he doesn’t
tell others what he is going to do before acting.
He is so fast in action that he disobeyed orders and
ran into a Social Service Office, where a refugee had taken staff as hostage.
The refugee had a gun,
and Paul Hjelm shot him. Why he did so, has not yet been revealed.
Is he a racist, as investigating
police officers suggested?
Did he think that by shooting him, the refugee had a better chance to stay in Sweden?
There is Jorge Chavez (played by Matias Varela) who has difficulties with anger management, and
there appears to be rivalry between him and Paul.
are numerous theories about the killer. The killer is someone who has been hurt by the financial crises.
is a psychopath, who for some reason targets financiers.
The killer belongs to the Russian mafia. The killer wants
revenge for a teenage girl who was insulted by the old financiers at a gold club...
The old man, Viggo,
follows a lead to Tallinn. He follows a criminal, but is caught by this criminal and his gang. He gets literally crucified.
To be continued next week...
06/04/2013 The Grand National
The Grand National race at Liverpool's Aintree
is a 'must' for me, and for many others who usually aren't following horse races.
The challenging racecourse is nearly 4.5 miles long and the horses must jump over 30 fences.
of the fences have 'bad reputation', since horses can harm themselves on them.
However, changes have been
made to some of the fences this year to address this problem.
Congratulations to Auroras
Encore and Ryan Mania
This year's winner was a horse called Auroras Encore with a Scottish born
jockey Ryan Mania. Congratulations.
It was a good race, and this year there were no harmed horses or jockeys.
Unfortunately, I didn't do my homework with the horses and their performance before betting.
I do, I often get at least one of my 2-3 bets right (each way- my horse coming first, second, or third).
time my first bet was on Sunnyhillboy, but the horse fell. My second bet was on Always Waining. It came 10th.
Grand National winner seldom is the one with the best odds. This year was no exception to this rule!
30/03/2013 TV Nights
BBC4 has obviously
decided to show films instead of crime drama follow-ups.
don’t mind watching films, especially if the films are good!
The secret in their eyes – a thriller
BBC4 showed an Argentinean thriller ‘The secret in their eyes’ (orig. El secreto de sus ojos).
It was directed by Juan Jose Campanella (2009) and based on a novel by Eduardo Sacheri. This film received
an Oscar for best foreign language film in 2010.
The story begins during the 1970s when a young woman is raped and murdered.
Benjamin Espositio (played by Ricardo Darin) is the Federal Agent assign to solve the murder case.
parallel story takes us to 2000 when Benjamin Espositio already is retired, only to realise that he doesn’t like the
‘freedom from work’.
He decides to write a novel of the events that took place during the 1970s.
The storyline demands you really concentrate on it. On the other hand, the film is so intense
that you will not have any difficulties in concentrating on it!
It is an intense film, in which both philosophical
and political dimensions are added to the crime drama in a surprising manner.
search for the killer
Benjamin gets well along with the Judge Irene Memendez-Hastings
(played by Soledad Villamil).
He is attracted to Irene but hesitates to show it, since he is not sure of her feelings
The only one who seems to understand him, is his an assistant, the alcoholic friend, Pablo.
There is also the nasty agent Romano, who tries to frame two innocent construction workers for the murder
of the young woman.
They confess after police beats them up.
Benjamin exposes Romano’s
method, and files a complaint against Romano, who becomes a life-long enemy to him.
Ricardo, the husband
of the killed young woman, finds it hard to restructure his life, and relives repeatedly the events and conversation with
his wife during their last days together.
He asks Benjamin how the person who killed his wife
will be punished, and Benjamin promises him that the killer will do life.
Ricardo accepts it. He
thinks it’s better than death penalty. A life full of nothing is the right punishment, he reasons.
shows Benjamin old photographs belonging to his killed wife.
Benjamin focuses on one face appearing on several
photos. He thinks this person might be the killer.
Finally, they think they know this man is the killer,
but the problem is that he is extremely difficult to find.
They learn that the killer writes letters
to his mother. The ingenious assistant Pablo analyses the letters of this man to his mother, and with the help of some pub
mates they figure out that the ‘friends’ he mentioned in the letters refer to football players.
killer is a passionate football fan. They decide that by attending football games they will find this killer. They find him
but first after attending several games.
Now this should be the end of the film. But it isn’t. Suddenly the normality of Argentina is changed
by a military coup.
The rules of justice do not apply anymore. Secret police hunts political enemies.
Benjamin and Irene learn that the killer was not sent to prison but is now working for the secret police,
as is Romano.
They try to protest, but Romano laughs at them and simply states that they now live
in a new Argentina.
The killer is more useful as a spy and informant than in prison. Who cares what he
did in the past, Romano declares.
Things move fast forward; Pablo is brutally killed in Benjamin’s flat. Benjamin
has to escape to the countryside. Irene gets married.
This is a brilliant move by the director
and author. The story begins in ‘an ordinary country’ that could be anywhere. The focus is on solving the crime.
Then, suddenly, a military coup changes everything. We are not anymore following crime fighters
and criminals, but forced to accept that political ‘reality’ sometimes interferes in a brutal manner.
Twenty years later
Benjamin is now retired,
and finds life boring. He decides to write a novel of the previously mentioned events. Society is once again more ‘normal’.
Benjamin contacts Irene and asks her to read the novel. He also tracks down Ricardo.
I’m not going to reveal the end of this film, since some of the readers might wish to see the film without
knowing the end.
But this much I will reveal; the final chapter between Benjamin and Irene has not yet
23/03/2013 TV Nights
Silence – a thriller
was no new follow-up on BBC4 tonight, but instead there was a thriller.
I decided to watch it, and am now happy I
This thriller is called Silence, and it was directed
by the Swiss born director Baran bo Odar.
The events were set in Germany.
The beginning is both in the present and in the past
In the beginning, we see various characters, police officers, family members living their somewhat ordinary
middle class lives.
We also see some episodes from the past in which
two men in a car follow an 11-year old girl riding a bike.
One of the men goes after the girl, rapes her, and
accidentally kills her.
He demands that the other man helps him to hide the body.
The crime theme refers to the disappearance of a girl in current time.
The case seems to have
many similarities to the case in which an 11-year old girl disappeared and was later on found dead.
place 23 years ago (see above).
The shadows of the past
are following numerous characters, whose scars from the past have not healed.
is the police inspector who was in charge of the old murder case. The crime was never solved.
When the disappeared girl is found murdered, he is desperate to find the killer.
We have the mother of the murdered girl who still lives in the same house, and who has kept the room of the
daughter as it was when she was alive.
of the other girl makes her to relive the tragic events from the past.
have the parents of the disappeared girl. They are waiting.
They are not really hoping to see her alive again,
but they need to know what happened to her, and to find her.
is a talented detective who has been on sick leave since his wife died.
Due to his suffering, his sensitivity
is increased also concerning the new and old crime.
the details of the disappearance of a girl emerge in the media, the man, who helped the other man to hide the body 23 years
ago, immediately sees the similarities.
He is now seemingly
‘happily’ married and has two children. But he knows the past is catching up.
The film proceeds like a series of photographs (I bet the director is also a photographer!).
This is an unusual thriller.
It does not show much violence, it reduces the moments in which we
are predictably expected to feel the approaching danger.
is about ‘angst’, about the past catching up, about doubts.
HAPPY LUNAR NEW
10/02/2013 TV nights
It was hard to say goodbye
to Borgen, but life goes on. There are other follow-ups on TV, and now and then you can watch a good movie.
The drama that replaced Borgen on BBC4 is a French
police drama, Spiral, produced by Son et Lumiere.
Several episodes of Spiral have been shown
earlier, but I haven’t followed it from the beginning.
The reason is that this drama sometimes
shows violent acts as they are; violent.
The shown violence might reflect the brutality of the
actions of real criminal gangs engaged in human and drug trafficking.
I must admit I’m
not too keen on seeing ‘realistic’ violence.
The kind of aesthetic images of crime scenes and victims
of crime as shown in Nordic drama, in Killing or in the Bridge, are thrilling enough for me.
suppose this is because they are not quite real. They don’t remind me of real violence as the violence in Spiral does.
Spiral might be seen as a French version of Law & Order, which has a UK version and a US version.
The UK and US versions have a clear-cut storyline, and no doubt is left in the mind of the spectator
that the aim of the officers and lawyers in this drama is to catch the criminals and sentence them in prison.
merit of the UK Law & Order is exactly this fight for justice, because there are hardly any UK crime dramas with such
a clear-cut storyline.
The Spiral, on the other hand, has numerous shades of grey between what is legal and
what is illegal.
The police officers need their informants, and the company they have to keep is somewhat
The police officers sometimes find themselves acting as brutally towards the crime
suspects as the brutal, criminal gangs themselves act towards their victims.
In the latest episode
the African activists were seen as heroes by some and as criminal terrorists by the police.
prosecutors and judges are all the time reminded of their sensitive role, and how they must protect their integrity and reputation.
The defence lawyers have to find ways to defend their obviously criminal customers, which sometimes
means helping the suspects to invent not-so-white lies.
In other words, it is not easy to decide
who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’ in Spiral.
Instead, Spiral demands some
concentration from the side of the spectator, since individual events in one episode may have a significant impact on the
events in another episode.
Women in (crime) dramas
The French Spiral has
a female Police Captain Laure Berthaud (played by Caroline Proust) who is as original as Sarah Lund and Saga Noren in the
It seems that being original, impulsive, sharp, and a bit ‘crazy’ have
become the characteristics of the ‘new police woman’.
These women are often
stubborn in their work role and messy in their private life.
In myths (see the article on Myths on men
and women on the middle and right column of this page), they correspond to the myth of Puella Aeterna.
They are quite different from the previous image of the Inspector/Police woman, whose aim was to make career
within the police force.
A good example of this is Helen Mirren’s Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison
in Prime Suspect. Her inspector corresponds to the Amazon-woman in myths.
is yet another change in the way women are seen in TV crime drama.
The Puella Aeterna-police woman is not anymore
silently judged as unfit as woman, but accepted and respected as she is.
Previously, it was common
in TV (crime or other) drama to condemn women, who did not fit in the Mother-image which has been the only accepted image
of women for a long time.
Sometimes they were condemned by others in the drama or by the spectators, sometimes
by the role characters themselves who played such female roles. Not so anymore, and that is good.
Women in Hitchcock's Birds
A couple of days ago I saw once more
Hitchcock’s Birds. It is a great movie. You can see it over and over again and always find something interesting in
But consider the female figures in Birds, and compare them with modern female images.
The film Birds was made in 1963, and we have to bear in mind that both men and women had quite different gender
roles at that time.
In Birds the population of a small community called Bodega Bay is attacked by birds
on several occasions for an unknown reason (I’m not going to speculate here about anything else than gender roles).
There are three main female characters in the film.
To begin with, Melanie is a ‘spoiled,
rich girl’ coming to visit Mitch (and bringing along lovebirds).
Annie is a schoolteacher, and Lydia is
the mother of Mitch.
Mitch is the only important male figure. He looks after his mother, is in love with
Melanie, and used to be in love with Annie.
is very attached to his son Mitch, especially after her husband, the father of Mitch, died.
She does not quite
know how to live without a husband. She was used to having a man around who would tell her what to do and what to think.
In every scene in which the birds attack people, the men are somewhat
active and try to defend themselves and women, whereas women are quite helpless.
When the family suspects the birds are going to attack the family home, Mitch alone is doing the hammering
around and inside the house to cover all windows, doors, and other spots that might attract the birds.
the birds attack creating a noise that sounds like a scream, all the females are trying to find cover close to walls and corners.
They are covering their faces by hands.
Mitch is the only one who is trying to kill the birds
and to prevent them from entering the house.
When he sees that some of the birds are trying to get
in through a window, he struggles with them while trying to shut the window.
His hands are covered
in blood, but he finally manages to shut the window.
During his struggle with the birds the
women sit paralyzed and stare at him.
Mitch does not say a word.
He does not ask the women to come and help him.
Can you imagine modern women
acting as helplessly?
Can you imagine Sarah
Lund, Saga Noren, and Laure Berthaud as helpless women waiting for Mitch to rescue them?
you imagine modern men accepting to struggle with the birds alone without
expecting some help from the side of the women?
Wouldn’t a modern man
shout: Bloody women, don’t just sit there, come and help me to shut this window!
is only one bird-attack scene in which women act resolutely.
In this scene, Melanie
goes to the school to escort Cathy (the little sister of Mitch) back home. She waits outside the school building.
While the children are in the classroom singing, Melanie becomes aware that the school is surrounded by birds.
She goes inside to warn Annie. Annie uses her authority as a schoolteacher, and instructs the
children to go out silently and calmly.
Together the women evacuate the children
and protect them from attacking birds while they are running away from school.
did they act resolutely in this particular scene?
Because there were no men present in it!
Thus, women could only act resolutely, when no men were present.
This was part of the behaviour
dictated by the old gender roles.
Men were supposed to be the ones who protect women, and in order to do so, women had
to be helpless when men were present. Men could not ask for help from women.
Yet another interesting
scene is the one in which Melanie wakes up to noises, after the main attack by birds is over.
is asleep and Melanie does not wish to wake him up. She is curious and wishes to find out what the noise is and where it comes
She finds her way upstairs and gets into a room where the birds attack her.
WHY is she not crying for help?
Because she was not supposed
to be curious and go alone into that room to find out about the noise!
After all, there was
a man in the house. She had been disobedient to the gender roles.
Oh, I’m so happy our
behaviour is not anymore dictated by ridiculous, old gender roles.
The world is not perfect but it is better than
it used to be.
Dallas, Dallas, Dallas!
is back with Jr, Sue Ellen, Bobby, and some new characters to represent the younger generations.
I must say I
was disappointed. I'm not sure what I was expecting, perhaps some form of nostalgia. But the storyline was too predictable,
and I don't seem to be able to enjoy the same storyline anymore. Must be getting old...
Bobby and Jr
are now too old to be the main antagonists, but instead there are younger generations in the Southfork who can do that
job. But never underestimate the older ones..
Bobby's son Christopher has interest in enviromentally friendly
energy solutions whereas John Ross is after oil!
Of course there are some beautiful young women who are in
love with the same man. I suspect the marriage that took place in the first episode, will not be a happy marriage.
True American values
Yet the 'best' part of the first episode was when Bobby's wife (don't
remember her name! not Pam) went down to kitchen in the middle of the night and realised there was an intruder in the house!
Did she start screaming? No. Instead, she immediately loaded a rifle (there seemed to be plenty of them in the
house) and went after the intruder.
The instruder got scared and ran away. She didn't shoot him, though. Afterwards,
when the police officers visited them, one of the officers said before they left: If he comes back, shoot him!
the true cowboy spirit..
I suppose it is difficult to rebuild on the old Dallas. Since the old Dallas, we have
learned that the reckless money-makers (a la Jr) have cheated us of our money, work and income, not to mention pensions.
Personal wealth creation is not anymore appreciated as much as it was during the 1980s. Now we need inventors and
entrepreneurs 'to put things right' and create wealth to societies. At least that is what we hope will happen.
Britons seem to be as successful in the Paralympic Games as they were in the Olympic Games!
(Saturday) evening I enjoyed the company of Inspector Montalbano one again. It is great that BBC4 shows these European crime
I enjoy the characters, especially Montalbano himself. This time Mafia was involved but not in the usual
way. Most of the time the crimes are committed by 'ordinary' criminals, not by Mafia.
I suspect one
of the ideas behind the creation of Inspector Montalbano was to show that not all about Sicily is about Mafia.
Fortunately, the camera uses the opportunity to show the beautiful landscapes of Sicily, and does it often...
The Olympic Games in London are over! What a great experience!
But the Paralympic
Games have just started. We are not going to comment upon these Games, but wish good luck and all the best to all
athletes who take part in Paralympic Games!
Myths on men and women are back here in September.
Test yourself and Enjoy!
08.07/2012 Wimbledon: Congratulation
to Roger Federer, the great, great winner of Wimbledon final for the 7th time.
And congratulation to Andy
Murray too, for his great performance. Silver place is not easy to reach.
I saw in the Guardian newspaper a picture of three European finance ministers discussing the Eurozone problems.
They were the finance ministers of Denmark, Finland, and Austria.
THEY WERE ALL WOMEN!
Margrethe Vestager, Jutta Urpilainen, and Maria Fekter.
I don't think I've ever before seen 3 female finance
ministers in the same picture... Somehow finances have not been trusted in female hands before.
true that during hard times, women are given a chance to take over important positions. I suppose this the the silver lining
of these uncertain times..
SPAIN- THE CHAMPIONS OF EURO2012
Spain vs Italy 4-0
You did it once
In the first half goals were made by Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba. In the second half of the game
the great Italian defence failed completely. Fernando Torres scored the first goal, and Juan Mata the second goal.
Great performances from all in the Spanish team! Your team work was excellent and you really enjoyed the
game during the second half.
And let's not forget the great Manager of the Spanish team, VINCENTE DEL BOSQUE.
Well done Spain!
The Italian team was in tears after the game. But cheer up; your performance has been good, and
losing the final to the unbeatable Spanish team is not a shame!
Alter Ego has chosen IKER CASILLAS as the FAVOURITE
of the EURO2012.
And finally, finally we could see Iker smiling and laughing (next time, Iker, select a smiling
picture of you, please!)
19/06/2012 How I failed to pick the winners!
It is difficult to pick a winner in Euro2012.
A week ago before the Ukraine vs France match, I was sure Ukraine will win.
Why? Because they had won all the
previous games, and France had mainly lost their games.
I was wrong, it was France who won.
I was sure
that Russia wins against Greece (for similar reasons as above), but I was wrong.
It was Greece who won. It must
have been a great day for everyone in Greece!
Then I doubted the ability of England to beat Sweden. I was wrong.
Yesterday I finally got it right. Spain and Italy won their games!
Today I'm not so
sure who the winners will be..and now I can confirm that I was wrong again!
Once again I failed to pick the winner! I was sure Germany would win, but was wrong. Italy won and goes to final!
01/07/2012 22.30 Finally I got it right!
My thoughts 21/05/2012
suffering of separation anxiety. On Saturday I saw the last two episodes of the Bridge on BBC4.
Danish crime-drama follow-up where the Danish detectives and Swedish detectives are forced to collaborate.
the characters, especially Saga Noren, the Swedish detective. She is a master mind without social skills. She blurts out the
truths without thinking of the consequences.
In the very first episode, the Danish detective, Martin Rohde, asked
Saga if she was related to Lars Noren. She denied it and didn't even know who Lars Noren was.
I think the question
was put in Martin's mouth deliberately. Saga means 'fairytale', and Lars Noren is perhaps the most famous Swedish
playwriter since August Strinberg. There are always odd figures in his playes, and in the background there is always
a real, social world.
The name Bridge comes from the fact that there is a bridge connecting Copenhagen in
Denmark with Malmo in Sweden.
Yes, it was interesting to follow how the culprit's status was downgraded from
Truth Terrorist to a man with a twisted mind on a very personal crusade. Yet, the problems the Truth Terrorist highlighted
But what I will not forgive the writers of the follow-up is the ending...
WHY, WHY did
you let August die?
My thoughts 22/05/2012
people in Britain don't like the way the Prime Minister spends his leisure time. I'll tell you people that how the
PM spends his leisure time is none of your business!
There is this strange expectation among Britons that their
leaders should be nearly perfect beings, to act as role models to people who clearly have no intention to act as role
People who demand others to be 'better than themselves' often do it because in
that way they don't have to improve how they themselves spend their leisure time.
So, go ahead, Dave, do whatever
you like during your leisure time, or rather, what you and your family decide to do...
There will be something new here soon...
CONGRATULATIONS TO QUEEN ELISABETH II
Enjoy old comments on Borgen (below).
Bravo Borgen, Bravo Birgitte, Bravo Danish TV!
In the final two episodes of Borgen we learn how private life of a politician can become the main discussion
topic in the media, and how a touch of psycho-therapy is good for all.
how gender suddenly can become an issue in a country that was supposed to have solved most questions and problems related
to gender equality.
The private life
of the PM’s family
The Prime Minister
Birgitte Nyborg’s daughter, Laura, needs to stay in a mental hospital for a couple of months, while the PM is busy getting
the government’s health reform through in the Parliament.
The problem is that the mental hospital is a private hospital, while the government
suggests higher taxes on private hospitals so that people would prefer public health care, and that there would be more money
to fund public hospitals.
Of course the media finds out that the daughter
of the PM is in a ‘posh’ private hospital.
becomes surrounded by journalists trying to catch a glimpse of the PM’s daughter.
was a good idea to show how the privacy rights of persons who are neither politicians nor famous can be ignored in the name
of ‘public interest’.
Both the patients, including Laura and the staff at the
mental hospital are suffering of this sudden interest attack.
new, female psychiatrist, played by Stina Ekblad (born in Finland, went to Drama school in Denmark, and became famous mainly
in Sweden, and seems to have kept her magical touch over the years) informs the parents of Laura that the hospital simply
cannot tolerate this kind of media attention.
This unacceptable situation
forces Birgitte to make the harsh decision to be on leave from her post as the PM until Laura gets better.
She reasons that in this way, the media cannot attack the private life of her family by using the excuse of
her being the PM. A PM’s life is never private.
absence, Hans-Christian Thorsen, from the Labour Party, becomes the acting Prime Minister.
He makes the most out of this opportunity, in the hope of becoming the new PM. However, he does it openly
in order to increase the popularity of his Party without back-stabbing Birgitte.
The journalist and the spin-doctor
Meanwhile Katrine (played by Birgitte Hjort Sorenson) and Kasper are learning to live together without letting
their work roles interfere with their family life.
They have to
finally inform their respective bosses of the fact that they are living together. To their surprise, they don’t receive
condemnations but only congratulations.
But there is a new element
introduced to their life (or forced upon them) by other people; namely the potential of having children.
Katrine’s boss Torben Friis, wanted to know if she was planning to be on maternity leave soon.
For Katrine the potential of having children is not a great problem, whereas
Kasper is definitely against the idea.
The past of Kasper (see previous
episodes) has assured him that he cannot or does not deserve to have children.
when he has to visit the mental hospital where Laura is, simply to reach and discuss with Birgitte, he unintentionally becomes
friends with Laura, the daughter of the PM.
He reveals to Laura that
he too had spent some time in a mental hospital in his youth. This is important for Laura who still doubts if anyone can help
When she asks how Kasper had become well again, Kasper’s simple
answer ‘by talking about it with other people’ encourages Laura to take part in group-therapy (and makes Kasper
reflect upon it too).
In the final episode when Laura has gained back some of
her self-confidence, she even hugs and kisses Kasper.
This opens the eyes of Kasper to the idea that having a
family might not be so scary after all...
Psychotherapy for all
the month Birgitte is on leave, the politicians and the media are beginning to assume that Birgitte will not be returning
back to her post.
The question everyone is asking is whether a woman really
can take on the heavy role of being a Prime Minister (and a mother).
a while we all were invited to consider the option of Birgitte leaving politics and becoming a good housewife.
But the clever idea of the writers of Borgen was to treat the month on leave as a kind of regression to the
past, back to the neglected aspects of life for all involved; for Birgitte, her ex-husband Philip, and for Kasper, as well.
The shit, problems, troubles in our lives make us stronger, was repeatedly
mentioned during this episode.
When Birgitte is very much in doubt about her ability
to be a good mother, Laura’s psychiatrist informs Birgitte that no woman can be perfect both at work and at home. Everyone
makes mistakes but the idea is to learn from them.
The reference to the fact
that the relationship between parents and children was the theme in most Greek drama, is also a great comment (on Borgen as
When Birgitte mentions that sometimes she is happier at work than
at home the psychiatrist ‘diagnoses’ Birgitte as a workaholic and welcomes her to the club.
Finally, she makes it clear to Birgitte that Laura did not become ill because Birgitte was made a Prime Minister.
It is great to hear these words said aloud. It happens too rarely,
both in drama and in real life.
After regression follows progression
Birgitte returns to get the last part of the health reform through in the Parliament
(and it goes through with a small margin).
She then takes the opportunity
to declare new elections and puts stop to all speculations whether a woman can be a Prime Minister.
She mentions the names of the first female members of the Danish Parliament, and states that they put an end
to the debate on whether women could be politicians.
those who doubt today, whether a woman can be a Prime Minister, were expressing concerns that were solved already a hundred
She then encourages people not to decide in the
elections what the gender of a Prime Minister ought to be, but who the best person to be a Prime Minister is. BRAVO!
The producer of Borgen was Camilla Hammerich for the Danish Television and the writes
of the final episodes was Adam Price.
The latest episodes of Borgen had a serious tone in many ways. It began by showing how tired the Prime Minister
Birgitte Nyborg was and how she had lost in popularity.
she is offered the position of peace negotiator between two, conflicting African (fictional) countries, North and South Kharun
on behalf of the European Union. (The real Kharun is in India!!!)
Because the political leaders of other EU countries had refused already.
she is not interested, and all her staff advice against taking on such a position since peace negotiations can only fail.
The outcome would only be bad publicity for her.
Most people around the
PM see her commitment cynically and simply as an attempt to improve her popularity.
is not surprising considering that Denmark ranks as the 21th richest country in the world.
based on the purchasing power of the population of each country; see also Just a Thought in January 2012; It’s a new
year –silly old world ), Politics in such a country is more about scoring popularity points than dealing with extremely
Most African countries, on the other hand, are at the
bottom end of the richest country list consisting of 181 countries. There are wars, civil wars, and famines in many African
countries and peace negotiations are more likely to fail than become great successes.
after a while they understand that she is serious about it, and come to her support.
decided to take the tough task. The rest is an admirable account on how peace negotiations are built up.
The episodes go through how everyone counts in building up circumstances for peace negotiations; from older
party members who are or used to be experienced in foreign policy, to business contacts who already have a foot inside the
two countries and Arabic speaking co-workers (in this case it was Amir, the Green Party leader who resigned from his leader
post and from his post in the government shown in the last episodes).
is also a lecture in how smaller countries negotiate.
As Birgitte expressed it, Denmark is a small country that
cannot threaten China (or other big countries who put the peace negotiations at risk), but can only make a humble appeal to
the big countries.
I must say I was glad the peace negotiations became a
success story (probably only for a short period, but still!).
friends, on the other hand, had to make some tough choices between crediting themselves for a good, sensational story, and
the consequences for the peace negotiations (followed by a war) if they reported the story in the news.
But we still don’t know what or who the ‘Merchant of Death’ was. The man with ‘a past’,
who tried to persuade them to air a documentary that would have stopped the peace negotiations.
No doubt, he tried
to persuade them deliberately. Who IS he?
In the home scene, Birgitte’s daughter refuses to
continue to eat the ‘happy pills’ and suffers, of course, a relapse after suddenly stopping taking the pills.
I must confess that I don’t like the psychiatrist. Or rather what he stands
There are plenty of open questions in here. What kind of treatment
did this psychiatrist have in mind in addition to antidepressants?
Currently, the daughter has been turned into an object of treatment,
instead of being an active agent for change in her own health condition.
further, why was the daughter so completely uninterested in politics? Why was she so uninterested in her mother’s great
Had she always been uninterested in politics or was it the Prime Ministerial post of
her mother that scared her of? Or did the parents, Birgitte
and ex-husband Philip, protect the children too much from the harsh realities of life?
they do it so well, that when one of the parents, in this case the mother, became a very powerful person in Denmark, she turned
into a stranger in the eyes of her daughter?
It is, of course, as difficult
to be the daughter of a powerful woman as it is difficult to be the son of a powerful father.
I want this family situation to be sorted out without any return to ‘old-fashioned, patriarchal family-values’...
To be continued...
Tonight’s 2 episodes
of Borgen looked deeper into the murky waters of human psyche than the action packed 2 episodes we saw last week.
Last week’s Borgen was more action-packed than usual. But it was
also a lesson in Machiavellianism in politics.
Younger politicians were making an attempt to topple the leaders of their parties or the Prime Minister herself.
There were power struggles within the Labour Party and within the Prime Minister’s own Conservative Party.
When it started to look as if these younger ‘shooting stars’ were
on top of their game, they were encountered by a reversal of fortune in form of an old adversary or by events out of their
control (or which they had not been expecting). Their own smartness was turned against them.
Every good drama has an episode involving reversal of fortunes, but last week in Borgen they happened in rapid
So rapid, that most other follow-ups would have split them between four episodes instead of squeezing
them into two episodes.
Does this happen
in real life?
On the other hand, it
is not unusual for dramatic events to follow in rapid succession in politics.
week, the topic in British political debate was PM David Cameron’s gamble with the British positioning within (or out
of) the European Union.
The PM was accused of putting British interests at risk.
Cameron was also expected to give his speech on the matter at the end of this week, but he escaped temporarily this risky
business by the event in Algeria, where Muslim militants had taken Algerian and European oil workers as hostage.
Thus, Cameron had a ‘positive reversal of fortunes’ and good reason to postpone his speech!
From action to psychotherapy
last week’s episodes were inspired by action movies, this week’s episodes were inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s
This week the trouble that has been brewing in the unconscious minds
of the characters began to reach the surface in an involuntary manner.
PM Birgitte’s teenage daughter Laura is chosen as the character who is beginning to show symptoms
of the stress the family is going through.
In other words, of everything that happened after Birgitte became
Prime Minister, after the parents divorced, and after Philipp, the father, found another woman to live with. (see
also my last week’s comments on the characters)
I may have
missed some dialogue between Birgitte and Philip concerning Cecilie, the new woman, in Philip’s life. Therefore, I’m
not sure whether Philip met Cecilie before or after the divorce.
it is a fact that women wish to divorce because they are unhappy or dissatisfied with the marriage, whereas men leave (if
dissatisfied or unhappy) only when they have already found another woman to lean on...
was also a clever move to involve the question of drugs or psycho pharmacy into the drama around their daughter.
Philip and his Celine suggest the daughter ought to be given anti-depressants, whereas Birgitte is totally against ‘happy
pills’ for children.
Unfortunately, Birgitte’s trust in expert opinion
makes her give in, when the psychiatrist (chosen by Philip and Cecilie) convinces her that the antidepressants are a vital
part of therapy.
The psychiatrist also manipulates Birgitte’s mindset
by stressing the importance of her (as a reason for the daughter’s symptoms) as a role-model for her daughter.
Birgitte did not realize that psychiatrists are as divided as the general
population is concerning the use of psycho pharmaceutical drugs to treat children. (I sincerely hope that the producer and
writers of Borgen keep this topic alive in the coming episodes!)
Children and criminality
trouble brewing gets aired when an extreme right-wing politician presents a bill to lower the age of criminal
responsibility from 14 to 12 years.
This debate on children’s
responsibility gives the PM’s spin-doctor Kasper Juul (see my last week’s comments on the characters) a nasty
reminder of his past.
The past is reinforced when he visits his family-home
for the last time (his aged father is dead and aged mother is in a care-home) to arrange it to be emptied and sold.
Kasper’s father was a paedophile who himself and together with his paedophile
friends sexually abused Kasper when he was a child.
At the age of 12 Kasper stabbed his father. No-one in his
current political circles know about his past.
He is naturally
against the idea of lowering the criminal responsibility age to 12.
At the same time he is not quite
aware of how much the disturbing memories of his own past influence his judgment when planning the spin
against the suggested bill.
He is so blinded by his own past that he 'sees'
his father in the extreme right-wing politician (a big loud man), and he also puts his job at risk.
His attempts to build relationships with other women than Katrine, fail completely. He admits that he only
loves Katrine, but she demands honesty from him in order the relationship to function. ‘No secrets’ is her motto.
In the last minutes of
the latest episodes he reveals his dark secrets...
To be continued...
As in every Saturday evening lately, I’ve been watching Borgen on BBC4
Borgen is a Danish political drama produced by Camilla Hammerich
at the Danish Television. We are already following Series 2 of the drama.
I missed the very first episodes of the Series1, but since then haven’t been able to resist watching it!
Politics, politics, politics
is a very Nordic drama, but has something universal about it making it popular overseas as well.
Personally I like the way practical politics is portrayed in the drama. The problems to be solved by the politicians
in this Danish drama can never be solved by finding simply a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ solution.
Of course not, since political problems are not mathematical problems that can be solved by finding the single correct answer.
Mostly, the solutions reflect compromises. Sometimes the solutions are very good
and a compromise may even improve the original suggestion to a solution. Sometimes they water the original idea. And
that is exactly what characterizes everyday politics.
Since the government
in Borgen is a coalition government, it is very useful for Britons to watch it.
are not used to coalitions (but have a coalition government right now). They can learn about the realities of coalition
governments by watching Borgen.
Is it a men vs. women drama?
The very Nordic aspect of the series is, of course, the presence of strong female
characters in leading roles.
They are not copies of American-style ‘ruthless women in power’, nor
of the British ideal based on Margaret Thatcher.
In the Nordic countries the struggle is not anymore about seeing women in working life, nor is it really about
seeing women in high positions (except in the private sector).
of Birgitte Nyborg, the Prime Minister, is not that of a woman struggling to earn the respect of her male political collaborators
and rivals (within and outside her own party), but of a woman who is ambitious and has strong convictions.
She is shown as the strong leader she is, but also her moments of weakness are revealed.
her strengths and weaknesses are human rather than ‘female’. Sidse Babett Knudsen plays the role as Birgitte in
an excellent manner.
Her struggles lie closer to home, namely in the
changes that her new PM role brings to her family.
husband, Philip, is very supportive and he even leaves his full-time employment at the University to be the one who is in
charge for their home and children.
But after a while, all the
cooking, shopping, picking up the children from school and taking them to dentist, is becoming tiresome for him. After all,
he was used to a much more rewarding role at the University.
Birgitte is becoming more and more attached to (or is drown by) her new role as Prime Minister, which is a role that demands
developing a strong political Persona to survive the ever present media attention and attacks from other politicians.
In the end, Birgitte doesn’t have time for a private personality, and her
political persona takes over her relationships with family members as well. She is not even aware of this change in her attitude
and role towards family happening.
This, rather than any reason related to her gender, is
the reason why the marriage is not any more working. The outcome is divorce, which Birgitte has difficulties in accepting.
The characterization of the young Katrine Fonsmark, making career in the media,
is not that of a woman struggling to survive in a male dominated media world.
the problem for her as for many young journalist is the struggle between high ideals and the demands made by her superiors.
These demands often go against her high ideals.
Her love-life too is troublesome
since she appreciates debating and analysing public affairs and intellectual companionship. These qualities can only be found
in persons who are equally ambitious and busy with their own careers.
is attracted to Kasper Juul, who is the Press Advisor and spin doctor of the Prime Minister Birgitte.
Kasper too is attracted to Katrine, but their working-relationship interferes with their private relationship.
Are the men in politics
better off? No, not really. The fact that the marriage of many politicians ends in divorce is repeatedly mentioned.
We might reflect upon the life in public scene, the organizational
culture of politics and media as they appear today, and ask if they are managed in the best possible manner.
More comments later...
To the top of page
Alter Ego has decided
|by P. Niemenmaa
Manchester International Festival (MIF) takes place
between 04 and 21 July 2013.
This is a festival suitable for everyone.
It suits young adults,
parents with young children,
middle aged and older persons who enjoy culture in many forms.
It is international
enough to be attractive to persons of different nationalities.
It is suitable for those Northern Britons
who think London is too far away.
And Londoners have a good reason to travel North.
If you like theatre performances, you can enjoy, for example,
Robert Wilson's The Old Woman, starring the dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov
and the actor Willem Dafoe,
or you might prefer Smokey's Barbers sitcom.
original dance performances are on offer, conversations with artists and musicians, and plenty of music with Massive Attack,
Goldfrapp, Delphic, and many others.
You can visit numerous clubs of Manchester during the festival, or you can
visit Art galleries.
Festival Square is a place to relax, socialise, eat,
The tickets seem to be inexpensive and
some events are free, such as the Do it
2013 A Group Art Show.
Go and have a look at the programme of MIF on http://www.mif.co.uk
16/03/2013 TV Nights
– The End – or is it?
Today we finally
reached the end of Spiral. I wonder if there will be any new episodes of Spiral?
going to miss it. This evening we saw two and a half happy endings and one tragedy.
After loving them,
doubting them, deserting them, we can once again love them.
Josephine and Philippe
these last episodes we see Josephine making a poor performance in the court room in her confusing attempt to defend illegal
workers against their employer.
She fails in her defence but later on manages to pull
herself together, and finds evidence that the employer was keeping his business illegally.
So she ‘blackmails’ the employer and his lawyer to pay the salaries, and other payments to the
illegal employees he had previously sacked.
Well done. Last week I
told you she would be making a come-back!
Philippe is getting tired
of the lies of his ‘retired gangster’ client.
He is trying to mediate between this client and his
enemies, but then the client is killed.
Philippe believes that the
enemies were behind the killing but later on learns that it probably was the wife of the client who got him killed.
Now that he has learned how difficult it is to defend criminals, he has a greater
understanding for Josephine, and for the mistakes she has made.
is a kissing scene involving Josephine and Philippe in the last episode. A happy ending...
Judge Roban’s victory
Roban wins his appeal and can provide the court with evidence against judge Garnier.
evidence shows that Garnier had received and accepted bribes from accused persons in criminal cases against reduced sentences.
Roban is happy and returns to his office and receives the congratulations from
persons who did not wish to know him only a week ago.
that he had acted alone, but a friend of his puts him right.
several (powerful) persons acting behind the scenes on behalf of him!
is a good reminder to us all.
If we are up against powerful people, we need the active support of other, equally
This week Laure’s team is after a group of PKK (the
Turkish Kurdish militant gang) members, and another group classified as terrorists, led by Riffaut.
They know that a huge amount of weapons and explosives have been sold but who is in the receiving end of the
purchase remains unclear, and therefore also for what purposes the explosives had been bought.
It appears that the younger brother of a Kurdish family is establishing his own criminal business.
He has difficulties in understanding all the family talk about Kurds in Turkey,
because his life experiences are from France.
He grew up in France and
feels that he is part of a French youth subculture rather than part of any Kurdish movement.
Meanwhile Laure needs to decide between her new boyfriend and her old boyfriend, Samy, who is also part of
There is a kissing scene (or love making to be exact)
here too between Laure and the new boyfriend. Is this another happy ending?
is evidence that somebody is planning a bomb attack, and they suspect that Riffaut, the terrorist, is behind it.
I still don’t quite understand what Riffaut in his fight against capitalism
When Laure’s team once again tries to catch him,
he manages to escape but the bomb-maker of this team is shot.
to his follower and girlfriend Sophie that they should postpone the bomb attack, since the police has been alerted and are
looking for them.
Sophie decides to act alone. I’m not sure if she
is doing it to show Riffaut how reliable partner she really is.
is young and madly in love with Riffaut and somehow wishes to prove herself.
she enters with all the equipment needed for a bomb to the police station with a backpack.
She finds a toilet
in which she hides the suitcase (?) which is loaded with explosives and a mobile phone.
she needs to do now is to activate the phone and to make a call from another phone to this phone number to create an explosion.
However, since Sophie is inexperienced as a terrorist, she doesn’t
realise that Laure’s team is keeping an eye on the activities of that phone number.
They trace the signal of the phone to their own police station and begin to evacuate the building, both staff
Finally they find Sophie who threatens to blow up everyone
if they try to catch her. Laure, Josephine, Laure’s team members, and boss are in the same room with her.
Sophie is desperate and tries to call Riffaut for help.
She doesn’t understand that the call will be traced, whereas Riffaut, an experienced terrorist, is well
aware of that, and throws away his mobile phone.
Meanwhile Tintin (who
is just starting to cope with his panic attacks) and Samy have located the bomb.
tries to unload the bomb, while Tintin checks that everyone has left that part of the building.
Somebody rushes in the room where Sophie is, and shouts to (inform) Laure that they have found the bomb.
Sophie panics and explodes the bomb. Samy is trying to unload the bomb when it
Tintin is not as close to the bomb as Samy is, and survives.
Poor Laure, this was not the way she wanted her and Samy’s
relationship to end.
reader, this is the way producers and writers always deal with love triangles.
One of them must be killed, one
way or another!
Next week there will be something new here.
09/03/2013 TV Nights
Spiral- Will they sort things out?
In the recent episodes we have witnessed the main persons in Spiral acting out of character or getting involved
in doubtful dealings.
Will they ever sort things out?
A Judge on Trial
Saturday’s episodes see judge Roban on trial, for forgetting his duties of loyalty towards other judges, or rather towards
another judge, Garnier.
No matter how much supporting evidence Roban was
bringing to the trial concerning the incompetence (and dishonesty) of Garnier, it is Roban and his reputation that suffer.
However, with the help of his previous secretary Marianne,
Roban collects more and more evidence against Garnier, and he receives ‘silent’ support from other judges.
I suspect there will be some interesting revelations about
Garnier and his methods in the coming episodes.
Laure’s team has got a new addition to the
team, namely Laure’s ex-lover.
was clearly an unfinished business. The ex-lover claims he is still in love with Laure.
Laure feels confused, since she too has feelings for him. She is heading for emotional trouble.
It is difficult for her to work with the ex-lover, and she
is risking her relationship with the new boyfriend.
who was shot a couple of episodes ago, has developed psychological problems.
He gets panic attacks as soon as
he has to work outside the office.
He gets paralysed
in simple arrest situations, and in stressful situations is too willing to use his gun.
Gilou is the only one
really noticing this.
Now that Gilou has sorted out his own problems with
informants and petty gangsters, he seems to be the only member of the team who can think and act clearly!
Poor Philippe and poor Josephine
Josephine is in deep trouble due to her previous actions based on poor judgment.
There are compromising pictures of her and she is accused of preventing the course of justice.
Philippe has to help her mainly to save his own reputation, but he is getting tired of the unpredictable and
unpleasant surprises Josephine’s professional life seems to be full of.
Philippe tells Josephine that her professional career is over and that their relationship too is over, Josephine tries to
Slowly, she begins to realise that while trying
to please her less than honest clients (and some of them quite dangerous) by doing them favours, she has created enemies in
the police and justice system.
Honestly, she has behaved
like a little girl trying to test the tolerance of her parents, and then expecting them to come and save her when she is in
But I’m sure she will make some form of a
Philippe is learning that being the lawyer of a
‘retired gangster’ is financially rewarding but has unpleasant side effects as well.
Some customers of his client (the retired gangster), try to collect money owed to them by this retired gangster
by attacking and beating up Philippe.
Poor Philippe, this
is not how he had imagined his future!
To be continued...
Scott & Bailey
I would like to add a couple of comments on another crime drama,
namely the British Scott & Bailey.
It is shown on ITV
and is about the work of a Major Incidence Team in (the fictional) Manchester Metropolitan Police.
It is a mixed team consisting of both men and women, but the focus is on two women, DC Rachel Bailey (played
by Suranne Jones) and DC Jane Scott (played by Lesley Sharp).
crimes themselves are not different from any other crime dramas, but the storyline is build around the relationships between
the two DCs, between them and other team members, and between them and persons in their private life.
Their boss is a woman too, Gill Murray (played by Amelia Bullmore), and there seems to be more informal chats
and conflicts between the female members of the team than between men and women.
I think is the novelty of the drama. Usually when the focus is on male characters, the male bosses now and then have informal
and personal chats with their male subordinates.
drama, the same happens with the female boss and the female members of the team.
and Bailey, produced by Nicola Shindler, is clearly a middle-class version of detective work, and I suspect it appeals
particularly to woman.
I would say that it definitely is worth seeing.
Spiral- Have they
all gone mad?
This Saturday the French
crime drama Spiral gave me even more angst than last week!
How are we supposed to continue to love them?
suspect the writers of Spiral have decided to create a couple of episodes in which all the characters become truly unlovable.
We, spectators, have to distance (or alienate) ourselves from
the main characters, and reflect upon our own values.
to decide if we can continue to understand or respect the actions of the main characters, and to love our favourites.
What did they do?
is perhaps the least confusing character this week. We see her trying to cope with ‘ordinary middle class life events’.
example, she attends the birthday celebration of her boyfriend’s daughter (Laure bought her shooting lessons!).
Gilou’s informant is shot with the gun Gilou gave
to his gangster friends.
They claim that the bullets (?) used to shoot the man have Gilou’s fingerprints
Suddenly Gilou seems to have the moral code of a
But fortunately he understands he must let some
of his team members know about his mistakes.
the help of ‘the new girl’ in the team (sorry, can’t find her name), he gets access to the bullets.
They would have incriminated him, although he was not the one who shot the informant.
I still don’t understand what the saintly Pierre Clement is up to.
He has become
to defence lawyer of a ‘retired’ criminal, and is now defending his petty criminal relatives. He gets well paid.
Is Pierre trying to show his love to Josephine by convincing
her that he can see the law from both sides of it, from the prosecutor’s side and from the side of the defence?
He was warned earlier that by taking on the case of a retired
criminal, his reputation was at risk.
Could it be that he is acting instinctively in case his position at the
Prosecutor’s Office is in danger?
Yet, I’m not
quite happy with those explanations. There will soon be a new development which will reveal something new...
Judge Roban is now in deep trouble. His open attack on his predecessor, Garnier, has repercussions.
Garnier is on war path, and suddenly Judge Roban has difficulties
in finding allies.
It is a good reminder of the reality (in real life
too) that faces those who follow their principles and reveal dishonest behaviour amongst their own (or higher-up) ranks.
It is a good point, but it makes me uneasy. After all, Judge
Roban is my favourite!
The last episodes of the Spiral gave me some doubts
about the French justice system.
They reminded me
of the satirical images of the justice system illustrated in Claire Bretecher’s
Do you remember Claire Bretecher and her cartoons
(Les Frustres and other cartoons)?
They mainly illustrated
in a satirical manner the life of French middle classes.
of the French readers explain to me how well Spiral reflects the French ‘law and order’? Send me a message, please.
position of women in these episodes was shown as inferior and weak in numerous ways.
Most criminals are men in this drama, but now there appears to be a female matriarch behind the gang of Turkish
To be continued...
23/24/02/2013 TV nights
This time the French crime drama Spiral gave me angst! Did they all have to take so great
risks in the same two episodes?
Before I continue
with Spiral I have to say how great it is that BBC, or to be exact BBC4 shows these European crime dramas.
Most crime and other dramas in British TV (and I fear in most European TVs) are British or American.
By showing Italian, French, Swedish, and Danish crime dramas, we learn also about the cultures of these countries.
I’m not saying they reflect reality in these countries, since, after all,
they are fictional stories.
However, the dramas reflect the myths about police, justice, interpersonal relationships
in each particular country.
The crime dramas produced by all countries have some universal
themes which make them understandable for most spectators. Yet, they reveal something specific about each country.
And sometimes they reflect the myths of two countries. Remember the Danish-Swedish
There were clearly conflicting ways of dealing with both routine tasks and major operations by the Danish
and Swedish police.
Those who live outside Scandinavia, often think that the
Nordic countries are ‘all the same’. Bridge showed them some of the differences between the countries.
The dramas produced in different countries give us a hint of many cultural differences.
What characterises the relationship between superiors and subordinates in a police/law
and order drama?
What characterises the relationships between male and female workmates?
How is the
balance between work and home life, and is that really so important?
are the underlying values behind the actions?
Is the main storyline about finding the killer and how to find evidence
against the killer ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ (that can be a problem in real court room cases too, as we seen here
in Britain last week!)?
Or is the main storyline build around an existential-phenomenological
approach, in which right and wrong exist somewhere in the middle of complex relationships between actors in different sides
of the law and between actors on the same side of the law but with different agendas?
can add other questions to the list of differences between dramas produced in different countries. If you do so, you will
notice how much you can learn by reflecting upon such cultural differences.
As said, all the main character is Spiral took big risks
in the two episodes. Now I’m not quite sure if career related risks (or
rather putting the focus on career related risks) belong to a universal or national theme...
Laure and her team took risks by careless planning while tracking the weapons belonging to a terrorist group.
‘Gilou’ is getting deeper and deeper in trouble because
he trusted an informant who has now double-crossed both him and a gang of little (?) criminals.
Meanwhile the defence lawyer Josephine Karlsson (played by Audrey Fleurot) made earlier some mistakes and
is now being blackmailed by the Secret Service to gather information for them.
saintly Deputy Prosecutor Pierre Clement (played by Gregory Fitoussi) is suddenly ‘acting out of character’ (what
is he up to?). Is he doing so because he is in love with Josephine?
Meanwhile Judge Roban fearlessly puts his career at risk by revealing the incompetent and dishonest actions
of his predecessor.
Honestly, I felt very tired and out of breath after these two episodes!
17/02/1013 TV nights
The French crime drama
Spiral on Saturday evening was again interesting.
Laure and her team have a new boss who for some reason doesn’t
like Laure (have I missed something?).
He tries to make her look
bad in the eyes of her team, and uses particularly one of the team members to do so.
Judge Roban (played by Philippe Duclos; I love him!) has to deal with the incompetent handling of cases by his predecessor.
Defend lawyers, especially Josephine, are deep in trouble with their less than honest clients.
The great thing with Spiral is the way the clients, criminals,
who this time also are activists are shown in a very human light.
They may be dishonest but they also follow their
own strong principles.
There is one activist leader who prefers to
follow the legal path but gets involuntarily involved in the criminal actions of another leader, who clearly prefers violent
Patsy and Edina as role models
Last week I reflected upon the way the image of women in (crime) drama has changed. The Mother-myth is not
anymore seen as superior to other myths of women.
Could it be, that Patsy
and Edina in Absolutely Fabulous were the first ones to challenge the Mother myth?
(played by Jennifer Saunders) is a PR woman and an incompetent mother who tries to live up to the myth of an Amazon woman,
but really is a confused Medium-woman.
Patsy (played by Joanna Lumley)
is a fashion editor and an ex-model, who lives up to the myth of Puella Aeterna! Sex and drugs..
Perhaps it is their absolutely fabulous, crazy, and Anti-Mother-Myth-Behaviour that make them so popular among
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ALTER EGO AND I HAVE BEEN WORKING HARD ON THIS PAGE.
See what TOPICS we have already covered.
The First Anniversary of Myfun-page and Alter Ego
Nottingham- a great city in the East Midlands
Forest- a nice community in Brussels
Political Party Conference Season in Britain
The London 2012 Olympic Games
Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Myths on men and women
Eurovision Song Contest 2012