If I could binge-watch all ten episodes of Season 1 of Norwegian legal drama Aber Bergen, I would, cos the show is fabulous.
Alas, I cannot, as Aber Bergen premiered in the US yesterday with only its first two episodes. But man were those two episodes ever good!
Erik Aber (Odd-Magnus Williamson, Ragnarok, Beforeigners, Nobel) and Elea Bergen (Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Wisting, Borderliner, Acquitted) are two of Norway’s shrewdest defense attorneys and the partners in Aber Bergen, the Bergen-based law firm they built together. While they work under the same roof, these parents of a young-adult son now live separately. And despite Erik’s attempts at reconciliation, Elea is quite clear she is done with him as far as their personal relationship goes.
Work-wise, it’s a different matter.
In the series opener, Erik defends his best friend, who is on trial for the murder of a young woman. Things go totally sideways, and Erik ends up representing his friend’s wife, as well. At the local jail, Elea realizes she has received incorrect information from her teen client’s mother; the girl isn’t in police custody for falsifying a school record, but for lying about being raped. And due to an indiscretion on Erik’s part, the entire firm ends up in the crosshairs of the national tax authority.
The second episode finds the company’s newest hire doing Erik’s bidding (against Elea’s wishes) in looking for information and a witness related to the murder case, as Elea represents the dying mother of a Down Syndrome boy in her negligence lawsuit and compensation claim against a hospital. Meanwhile, the tax auditor’s deep-dive into the firm’s financials continues.
There is much to like about Aber Bergen. First, the lead characters. The cool, calm, and collected Elea has her stuff together, if you don’t count her strained relationship with her father, aka “the Emperor” (as in Star Wars). Given Erik’s shenanigans on and off the job, you’d think she’d have a harder time dealing with him than her dad, but no. For his part, Erik is snarky and arrogant and over the top, and can exhibit a blatant disregard for kindness and respect. But he does have positives, including a certain charisma, an abiding love for his family, and a (maybe not so healthy) need for the truth.
Second, the stories. Each episode features a standalone story in which we witness an Aber Bergen attorney strategizing and applying their skills on behalf of their client, and how the proceedings, in or out of court, can deliver a surprising result. The murder case that kicks off the series is the first part of a story arc that spans the first season, with the tax audit being a secondary arc — and you can tell after the second episode that things are going to get a lot messier before they’re over.
And then there’s the rest — from aesthetics that tend toward black and white/dark and light, to some dramatic scene staging and camerawork, to the gorgeous shots of Bergen at dusk.
It’s good stuff, Aber Bergen.
Costars include Line Verndal (Varg Veum) as attorney Diana Drange, Torgny Gerhard Aanderaa (Amundsen) as attorney Magnus Braseth, Lykke Kristine Moen (Eiktyrne) as junior attorney Unn Frøynes, and Siv Torin Knudsen Petersen (Ingen Retur) as secretary Trine-Lise. The series features Gard B. Eidsvold (Good Night Darling) as prosecutor Morten Stærk, Lasse Lindtner (Codename Hunter) as Elea’s father, Carl Wessel, and Oliander Taule (Voyager) as Elea and Erik’s son, Jørgen.
Episodes 1 and 2 of Season 1 of Aber Bergen are currently available for streaming on MHz Choice and its digital channels, including MHz Choice on Amazon. The remaining episodes of this season will debut singly on Tuesdays through June 9. Seasons 2 and 3 will premiere in the US on MHz Choice later this year.
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