With the temperature expected to drop into the negative double digits across the UK this weekend, it’s the perfect time for Britons to cozy up with some Euro TV on BBC Four.
Follow the Money (Bedrag)
This critically-acclaimed Danish crime thriller (whose original title Bedrag translates to Deception) is set in the world of economic crime, where speculators, swindlers, and others corrupted by greed and ambition commit all manner of crimes in their pursuit of wealth.
Thomas Bo Larson (The Hunt, Winnie & Karina) stars as Mads Justesen, a thoughtful man and hard cop with a dark past, who investigates the discovery of a dead body in the sea, near a wind farm off the coast of Denmark. He believes the death was not an accident, and his inquiries uncover shady financial and legal dealings. They also lead Mads to suspect Alexander “Sander” Sødergren (Nikolaj Lie Kaas, The Keeper of Lost Causes, Fasandræberne), the CEO of Energen, the rapidly-expanding, billion-kroner, sustainable energy company, of playing a role in the murder.
Costarring in the ten-part drama are Natalie Madueño Wolfsberg (Life Hits), Esben Smed Jensen (Sorrow and Joy), Thomas Hwan (Rita), Waage Sando (Unit One), Line Kruse (Those Who Kill), Lars Simonsen (The Bridge), Henrik Noël Olesen (Dicte), and Stine Stengade (Above Suspicion: Deadly Intent).
Follow the Money premiered in Denmark to impressive audience figures. The first episode, shown on DR1 on New Year’s Day, attracted 1,260,000 viewers and delivered a 48% share (of everyone watching telly at 8 PM local time). The second, which aired two days later, did even better, garnering 1,410,000 viewers and a 56% share, according to DR Fiction*.
BBC Four has not announced the UK premiere date for Follow the Money, so stay tuned.
(There has been no word as of yet about whether the original Danish-language version of Follow the Money will screen in the US. However, Endemol Shine, in collaboration with Anonymous Content, are remaking the thriller as an American series.)
Follow the Money is created by Jeppe Gjervig Gram (Borgen), and written by Gram, Anders Frithiof August (The Legacy), Jeppe Gjervig Gram (Borgen), and Jannik Tai Mosholt (Borgen). Per Fly (Monica Z) is the director and Anders Toft Andersen (The Killing) is the producer.
For a thriller of an altogether different sort, there’s Trapped, the most expensive TV series ever produced in Iceland, at a cost of nearly 1 billion ISK (£5.3 million/€7.1M/$7.7M).
The ten-part drama follows the investigation into the murder of an unidentified man in the small town of Seyðisfjörður, located on the edge of Iceland. Discovered by local fishermen in a fjord, the torso of the corpse is mutilated and the limbs dismembered, and Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, The Deep, A Walk Among the Tombstones), Seyðisfjörður’s Chief of Police, has the task of piecing together clues to identify the victim and find the murderer.
With the international ferry having arrived in port a short time earlier, Andri suspects it is the scene of the crime and detains all on board in an effort to nab the killer. Unfortunately, he gets less than no help from ferry captain Carlsen (Bjarne Henriksen, Borgen, The Killing). But the most daunting challenge for Andri is the powerful blizzard that roars in, trapping everyone in town or aboard the now iced-in ferry. No one can get out and no help can get in.
Series costars include Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir (Virgin Mountain) and Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir (Undercurrent).
RUV’s local premiere of Trapped on 27 December 2015 was a record-breaker. The consolidated audience of 132,000 viewers in the 12-80 age group delivered a whopping 88% share for the 9 PM time slot. More viewers (141,000) tuned in for the second episode on 3 January 2016, which netted a still-impressive 86% share*.
BBC Four hasn’t yet announced the premiere date for Trapped, but the series should screen in the UK sometime after it completes its run in Iceland at the end of February.
(Stateside viewers will be able to watch Trapped, as The Weinstein Company acquired US rights to the series in 2015. No details have been released regarding which streaming service or broadcaster will screen Trapped, so stay tuned for further info.)
Created by Icelandic director/producer/actor Baltasar Kormákur (Everest, 101 Reykjavík, The Deep), Trapped is a production of Kormákur’s RVK Studios, written by Clive Bradley (City of Vice), Sigurjón Kjartansson (Ástríður), Ólafur Egilsson (Afinn), and Jóhann Ævar Grímsson (The Night Shift). The series is produced by RVK’s Kormákur and Magnús Viðar Sigurðsson (Mr. Bjarnfreðarson); directed by Kormákur, Baldvin Zophoníasson (Life In A Fishbowl), Óskar Thór Axelsson (Black’s Game), and Börkur Sigþórsson (Come To Harm); and executive produced by Dan March and Klaus Zimmermann of Dynamic Television.
The Young Montalbano: Series 2 (Il giovane Montalbano)
BBC Four kicked off 2016 with a new season of The Young Montalbano, the hit prequel to worldwide fan favorite Inspector Montalbano. Its first two of six episodes have already premiered and are currently available for streaming on BBC iPlayer.
In “The Man Who Followed Funerals” (“L’uomo che andava appresso ai funerali“), the young Salvo Montalbano (Michele Riondino) investigates the murder of a man who attended all the funerals in Vigata after a construction site accident forced him to stop working. The case gets complicated when the site owner’s wife disappears. Montalbano’s love life is no cakewalk, either. Livia (Sarah Felberbaum) is in Vigata but acting so strangely that Salvo, thanks (or no thanks) to sidekick Mimi Augello (Alessio Vassallo), starts to suspect her of having an affair.
“Room Number Two” (“La stanza numero due“) finds Salvo and Livia preparing for their special day, and even the Vigata police station is abuzz with delight. However, a fire at the beachside Hotel Panorama engulfs the building and claims the life of a guest. Livia is none too pleased about her betrothed’s heroics in trying to save the victim, and neither is he when he discovers the blaze was due to arson.
The next episode, “Death on the High Seas” (“Morte in mare aperto“), premieres this Saturday, 16 January 2016, at 9 PM BST, with the remaining three episodes — “The Transaction” (“La transazione“), “Double Fault” (“Doppio errore“), and “Apricot” (“Un’albicocca“) — debuting on successive Saturdays, starting on the 23rd of January.
(MHz Choice will premiere The Young Montalbano in the US. Read about other Euro TV titles on their upcoming schedule in “New Montalbano + More Euro TV Favorites & New Series in 2016 on MHz Choice.”)
* Source: Nordisk Film & TV Fond