Binge Watcher's Guide: Wallander
Are you into dark detectives, exotic locales, and gritty dramas? Then Wallander might just be your new favorite show!
The series follows rumpled detective Kurt Wallander as he solves murders in the small, Swedish town of Ystad. A workaholic with a heart of gold, the series is as much about compelling mysteries as it is about Kurt’s dysfunctional personal life and internal struggles.
Grab your coziest Nordic sweater and hop onto your meticulously-designed couch—it’s time to find out what you’re missing.
Wallander’s fourth and final season premieres in three episodes, Sundays, May 8 – 22, 2016 at 9/8c. Stream full episodes starting the day after broadcast for a limited time.
1. It’s dark, brooding, and philosophical.
Like: True Detective, Broadchurch
If you’re a fan of the more gritty, unflinching portrayals of police work and its psychological toll, then Wallander could be your new obsession. The series tackles tough topics and raises big questions—often with no clean-cut answers. Kurt Wallander acts as a buffer between the audience and the unspeakable evil in his world, giving us a human lens through which to view the side of human nature that only a detective can uncover.
In short, Wallander is TV for the somber thinker in all of us.
2. It’s Nordic Noir.
Like: The Bridge, The Killing
Ever since Lisbeth Salander and her dragon tattoo, America has been escaping into “Nordic Noir.” What does that entail? Think: foggy pines, summers of endless light, and frosty, modern architecture. Wallander has its feet firmly planted on the mossy shores of Sweden, and its drama is all the more realized when punctuated by chilly Scandinavian landscapes. It’s easy to immerse yourself in seaside cottages and pickled herring, without the plane ticket.
3. It has smart, human-driven mysteries.
Like: The Fall, Sherlock
Sure, reality TV has its place, but for those of us who appreciate more cerebral entertainment, Wallander is perfect brain food. Although the series allows the audience to play detective, Wallander tends to leave the gimmicks of flashy whodunits behind—instead opting for stories of jealousy, corruption, complicated relationships, and the other flaws that make us human. Solving one of the series’ mini-mysteries is the perfect achievement to end a weekend.
4. It has a prestigious leading man.
Like: House of Cards, Mad Men
If great drama is your thing, then you likely already have a shrine to Sir Kenneth Branagh—a man who was literally knighted for his contributions to the craft.
In addition to his revolutionary work with Shakespearean drama, Branagh is best known for My Week with Marilyn (2011), as the director of Thor (2011), and recently as the director of Cinderella (2015) starring Downton Abbey’s Lily James.
Wallander earned Branagh another Emmy nomination, and it’s well deserved. From his haunting, silent expression of emotion, to his moving depiction of a man struggling against the evil in the world, Wallander is truly a master class in drama.
5. It has an imperfect hero.
Like: Luther, Jessica Jones
Even if he always manages to crack the case, outside of the station, Kurt Wallander is far from perfect. Because he works so tirelessly for the people of Ystad, his personal life and health are often in shambles—his relationship with his daughter is strained, he struggles to manage a drinking problem, and his on-call status means romance is always on the backburner. But despite his flaws, there’s a gentleness and bravery to Kurt Wallander that keeps him utterly likeable. He’s a compelling hero of the most authentic kind, and for that we applaud him.
Catch the Final Season of Wallander in three episodes, on Sundays, May 8 – May 22, 2016 at 9/8c on MASTERPIECE on PBS. Take advantage of our free online streaming for fourteen days after the episode broadcasts.
Will you be watching? Let us know using #WallanderPBS.