Wallander: Series I: Sidetracked
Synopsis

In a rapeseed field a girl is seen wandering alone. Inspector Kurt Wallander is called to investigate. Before his eyes, the girl douses herself in gasoline and burns to death. A hunt for her identity begins.

Wallander's workload soars as a string of apparently motiveless murders are committed. The victims were all male: a former minister of justice, an art dealer, a small-time criminal and a rich playboy. All were viciously scalped. Wallander and his team investigate, determined to discover the identity of the killer and how the murders may be connected.

On the home front, Wallander, recently estranged from his wife, has moved into his own place. Linda, his grown-up daughter, is keeping an eye on her dad as he adjusts to bachelor life. Wallander's relationship with his own father, Povel, is difficult. As it becomes clear that Povel's health is in decline, Wallander strives for some reconciliation.

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Warning: Contains significant plot spoilers

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Warning: Contains significant plot spoilers

A teenage girl burns herself to death in a field as Inspector Kurt Wallander looks on. Shaken, Wallander tells his colleagues that the girl seemed scared of him.

Back at home, Wallander's grown daughter Linda arrives. Wallander and his wife are separated. Linda is excited about her grandfather Povel's birthday, and tries to share that excitement with a distracted Wallander.

Ex-politician Gustav Wetterstedt is brutally murdered. Wallander and the rest of his team — Martinsson, Hoglund, Holgersson and Svedberg — find the victim was scalped.

Wallander questions Magnusson, a bitter ex-reporter who was seen around Wetterstedt's property. Magnusson reveals that Wetterstedt had girls regularly delivered to his home, but the police covered it up.

Art dealer Arne Carlman is axed to death outside his home. Wallander probes Anita Carlman for any connection between her husband and Wetterstedt. When Carlman's criminal past is later revealed, Anita still denies it.

Wallander returns to Magnusson, and learns that Carlman was in Wetterstedt's circle and involved with the girls. Sandin, a former detective now retired, was also connected. Wallander questions Sandin and gets nothing.

Wallander arrives late for his father's birthday dinner. At the meal, Povel flies into an unusual rage.

On the way home, Wallander learns of another similar murder. The victim is identified as Bjorn Fredman, a petty criminal with a history of domestic violence.

Wallander visits Fredman's estranged wife Annette and children. It's apparent that Fredman treated them badly. There are three children: a very young boy, Jens, an elder son, Stefan, and a daughter Louise who is no longer at home.

Wallander goes to Sandin's house and notices a painting of a young girl, its disturbing undertones apparent. He is called back to the station as his father has been arrested. Wallander's father tells his son that he has dementia. Meanwhile, another man is murdered; a playboy named Ake Liljegren.

Wallander returns to the Fredman's home and talks to Stefan about his father. Stefan reveals abuse in the family, but is reluctant to say more when asked about sister Louise.

Svedberg uncovers that Liljegren used to have parties with prostitutes, and sets about tracking down one of the girls. A prostitute who was at Liljegren's parties provides answers for Wallander when she recognizes photos of Wetterstedt and Fredman. She reluctantly alludes to another man involved who was "evil."

Wallander finds out that Louise Fredman has been hospitalized for trauma, and he confronts Annette and Stefan for answers. Why didn't they reveal this sooner?

It transpires that Fredman was arrested seven years ago for assault; Sandin dropped the charges. Wallander shows the prostitute the picture of Sandin, and she confirms he was the "evil" man from the parties. Wallander races to Sandin's house.

Finally able to see the bigger picture, Wallander returns to the Fredman house. There he finds Louise's diary that details her history of abuse and connection to Wetterstedt.

Closing in on the killer, Wallander decides to use Sandin as bait. Will Wallander be able to lure the killer to take one final action? Wallander waits in the shadows and watches.

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