Powerhouse production companies SVT, the Swedish public broadcaster, and Canal+, the French premium cable channel, have greenlit the new multi-lingual crime thriller Midnattsol / Jour Polaire / Midnight Sun. It sounds familiar, but has a twist of its own.
At first blush, Midnattsol / Jour Polaire / Midnight Sun sounds like the Swedish/Danish The Bridge / Bron meets its French/English remake The Tunnel. But one of the new series’ creators wants us to know that the similarities end with the crime theme, dual settings, and multiple languages.
In an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Björn Stein said, “From our side, we have struggled to do a new [version of] The Bridge. We did everything to find a whole new world, and we have done that in Kiruna.”
The we that he referred to are Stein himself and fellow Swede Måns Mårlind, who together created and wrote the first two seasons of The Bridge / Bron, and under their Mårlind & Stein shingle will direct the eight-part Midnattsol / Jour Polaire / Midnight Sun.
And the Karuna that Stein mentioned is the northernmost town in Sweden, where, in the series, a French citizen has been murdered in a struggling minining community. It is here that French detective Kahina Zadi (Leïla Bekhti, A Prophet, Paris, je t’aime) is sent to investigate the crime with the local Swedish prosecutor, Anders Harness (Gustaf Hammarsten, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Brüno). (Shades of Fortitude, too?)
When another elaborate and brutal killing takes place, Kahina and Anders realize that the murders could be the work of a serial killer, but they haven’t yet discovered the link between the victims. As they continue on the case, he tries to prevent the investigation from wreaking havoc on the community in Karuna, where many of the indigenous Sami people (perhaps better known as Laplanders) make their home, while she confronts pains from her past. Yet it is something in their respective backgrounds that leads them to solve the case.
Midnattsol / Jour Polaire / Midnight Sun, based on a idea by Henrik Jansson-Schweizer and Patrick Nebout (both, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared), is being produced by Atlantique Productions and Nice Drama, and marks the first-ever co-production between Sweden and France.
“Midnight Sun is the result of several years of collaboration between SVT, Canal+, Nice Drama, and Atlantique Productions. It is important to try to find a story that is relevant to both channels,” said SVT’s Head of Drama Christian Wikander. “In this case it is both a story and a theme you have not seen before. However, it is still based in crime. But there is something unique, not least because of Bjorn and Måns’ way of telling it. It is also unusual that it is partly set in Sami culture.”
Costars include Richard Ulfsäter (The Fjallbacka Murders), Göran Forsmark (Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter), and Jessica Grabowsky (Thicker Than Water).
Featuring dialogue in Swedish, French, and English, Midnattsol / Jour Polaire / Midnight Sun begins filming in Paris later this month, before moving on to Kiruna in July, where most of the drama unfolds.
The series will premiere on Sweden’s SVT and France’s Canal+ in autumn 2016. Stay tuned for updates on whether it will screen in the US and/or UK.