Money is the least of two women’s problems in Dough, the award-winning Swedish drama that is set for its premiere in North America on Topic.
The winner of the 2022 Kristallen award (Sweden’s equivalent of the Emmy® Awards) for Best Drama Series of the Year, Dough (Deg) stars Helena Af Sandeberg (Alex, Quicksand) and Bianca Kronlöf (Thin Ice, Young & Promising) as two women whose lives become inextricably linked because of one thing: a bag of stolen cash.
Malou (Helena Af Sandeberg) is a divorced, financially-strapped single mother and entrepreneur in a posh suburb of Stockholm. Make that an unsuccessful entrepreneur, as she’s already lost one business and her current one, Empire Design, is going belly up as well. She blames online shopping, an excuse the bailiffs don’t give a hoot about when they begin going through her possessions for things of value to put toward the money Malou owes on her house.
Elsewhere in the Stockholm area, Liana (Bianca Kronlöf), a skint, working class single mum, can’t catch a break. Her boyfriend is in prison, her boss won’t pay the wages he owes her, and her daughter doesn’t fit her boots anymore. Worse yet, criminals begin to harass her. With no money, seemingly few skills, and even fewer resources for help, and now afraid to return to her flat, Liana turns to shoplifting and couch surfing and soon overstays her welcome.
Those crooks want to know where Liana’s boyfriend, Steffe (Philip Oros, Blinded), hid the money he stole during a headline-making robbery. So does his criminal father, Kangas (Johan Hedenberg, Conspiracy of Silence). When Steffe finally tells Liana where it is, two things happen: Liana becomes furious that he didn’t trust her to tell her sooner, as she’s had to live rough for the three years he’s been behind bars. And she finds a large, gaping hole in the ground where the money used to be hidden.
Now in possession of the SEK 47 million (about USD 4.5 million) is Malou, whose curiosity led her to dig up the large blue duffel bag holding the loot while she was trying to de-stress in the forest. Not a complete dummy (but still a bad entrepreneur), Malou decides to launder some of the money by putting it into a failing bakery — where she and Liana meet… and become employer and employee.
Laundering money is one thing; spending stolen cash like it’s going out of style is another, which is what Malou does — not realizing that she’s aroused suspicion, including that of certain Swedish authorities. Meanwhile, the folks who are desperate to get their mitts on the money are on the hunt for it. And for Steffe, desperate times call for desperate measures…
That sums up the first two episodes of Dough, which I will be getting back to shortly. Helena Af Sandeberg is good as Malou, whose unexpected windfall alleviates her money worries, only to have them replaced by concerns that could cost her more than her house. But it’s Bianca Kronlöf’s performance that brings it home for me. Her portrayal of Liana makes the woman’s pain palpable — causing me to hold my breath when Liana does to hold herself together and not completely lose it in especially stressful moments, and making me wish I could do for her what Malou does when hiring her: give her a second chance.
Featuring in the eight-episode series are Olle af Klercker (Rig 45) as Malou’s son, Hugo; Nikole Baronas (Snow Angels) as Liana’s daughter, Heaven; Eva Melander (Rebecka Martinsson) as Malou’s snooty friend, Felicia; Sunil Munshi (Lust) as her high school friend, Joakim; and Erik Bolin (Heder) as Joel, a criminal.
Dough premieres in the US and Canada with its first three episodes tomorrow, Thursday, November 17, exclusively on Topic and its digital channels, including Topic on Amazon. New episodes will debut weekly through December 22.
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