Scandi crime drama fans will be celebrating the return of Borgen, the Danish political drama series from the makers of The Killing that’s centred around a fictional female prime minister of Denmark, Birgitte Nyborg, which returned to our screens earlier this month.
While not technically a crime drama, Borgen season 4 cements itself firmly in the Scandi-noir category through its amped up characterisation of lead character Nyborg (depicted by Sidse Babett Knudsen), whose ruthless tactics step up in this season. There’s also political journalist Katrine Fønsmark, played by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, who will stop at nothing to dish the dirt of the political going-ons.
Since its release earlier this month on Netflix, the show has been getting stellar reviews on social media. And you can also watch the trailer here, to whet your appetite…
With eight hour-long episodes of Borgen: Power & Glory, there’s still a fair chunk to get through – but we’ve learnt the hard way that, given the highly-addictive nature of this genre, we’ve been known to whizz through the shows in… oh, a day or two. If you’ve made that fatal mistake already – or are rapidly nearing the end of the eight-parter, then you need to get started on the Scandi crime dramas to fill the gap in your TV viewing regime.
There’s much-adored Swedish drama Before We Die which is finally getting a reboot in the UK. It follows Detective Hannah Laing (played by Lesley Sharp) whose personal and professional worlds collide when her son becomes embroiled in a murder investigation. The new six-part series dropped on Channel 4 earlier this year.
So, why are we all obsessed with Scandinavian crime series? The genre has gained an international following for its dark, suspenseful, sinister, sometimes complex, always enthralling stories. Our obsession with the gloomy, gritty genre started back with Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, of which The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was the first instalment, later made into a 2011 blockbuster starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig.
Then the world became even more hooked on Nordic noir following a trio of Scandi exports – also in 2011, when The Killing was remade in the US starring Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman; Borgen and The Bridge. So, what was once a niche, indie corner of entertainment has become a global phenomenon. And we can see why. There’s something about the mix of bleak backdrops, whether it’s drizzly, grey city streets or eery volcanic landscapes; brutal crimes by twisted criminals; tortured detectives and often strong female leads; and intriguing plots with plenty of twists and turns that keep us on the edge of our seats.
But since the Scandi crime boom, viewers have gradually started to look to the shows’ original (and often far superior) Scandinavian roots, and streaming services have followed suit. Here’s our pick of the best Scandi crime dramas to watch on Netflix right now. Warning: may cause addiction and/ or nightmares.