Monday, June 15, 2009

"Wallander" on PBS: "One Step Behind"

Through quirks in scheduling, HoustonPBS aired the third, and final, Wallander episode last night. "One Step Behind" is probably the best of the lot (here's my take on part one) in terms of mystery content that twists and turns.

We see three young people, dressed in vintage attire, having a picnic in the woods. Enter murderer and we now have three corpses. Enter Kenneth Branagh's Kurt Wallander, who, as usual, needs a good night's sleep and a bath. He and colleague Karl Svedberg are scoping license plates on cars coming off a ferry looking for stolen cars. Boring work. Svedberg tells Wallander that his personal life is starting to impinge on his work life. Wallander all but ignores the comment.

A day later, the mother of one of the young people comes to the station demanding answers. Svedberg is the detective on the case so Wallander looks for him. He's not there. Arriving at Svedberg's apartment, Wallander finds his collegue dead.

From here, Wallander and the rest of the team start investigating their colleague's murder and the disappearance (soon to be murder) of the three teens. What marks this episode as the best of the three is the personal relationships, or lack thereof. We learn, through Wallander's tortured eyes, that he really didn't know Svedberg at all despite working with him for ten years. Niether did any of the other co-workers. Wallander ponders his own relationships and, again, realizes he has no life outside work. It's a sad commentary on modern society where walls are erected that are so strong, nothing can break them down, not even the cries of friends.

Knowing he might get in trouble, Svedberg left Wallander some clues and, when Wallender pieces them all together, even I didn't see the ending coming. Well, I saw the ultimate end coming but not the big twist. I could say that the twist is like XYZ movie but, by doing that, the entire show would be given away. It' too good an episode to do that to you.

This episode is my favorite kind of mystery: something that, at the beginning, seems so tiny and small is really just a thread of a much larger canvas. And, once at the end of the story, the main character is changed.

I enjoyed all three Wallander episodes and I'm happy they're going to make more. Here is a link to PBS's Wallander page. Have a look and see if you can't catch some of them this summer. You'll certainly enjoy them.

8 comments:

Martin Edwards said...

I agree. This was a really good episode, well acted, with an excellent plot.

Chris said...

I'm interested, and it sounds like something my wife would love. Thanks for the tip!

pattinase (abbott) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Parker said...

Martin - Do you know when the new films will be made?

Chris - It's hard to go wrong with PBS's Masterpiece Mystery series.

Gordon Harries said...

Scott-- I believe that they're being filmed now.

Todd Mason said...

As I've noted elsewhere, including today, the Swedish telefilms of WALLANDER novels are also on display in the US, on the small but growing public network MHz WorldView (it just picked up a Philadelphia affiliate).

Also, I've answered your question on last week's FFB, involving Richard Powers, from this morning.

Scott Parker said...

Gordon - Good to know. Now, I'll just have to wait a year or more for them to get to the US.

Todd - I've not heard of MHz WorldView. I just discovered Houston now carried the This TV network. And I've already visited the Richard Powers links you provided. Thanks.

Todd Mason said...

Yes, public stations are adding MHz WorldView as a source for their digital feeds much as some commercial stations are adding This TV...but, alas, no WorldView in Houston yet, though New Orleans and Topeka do (time to shame KUHT into adding it to Create and V-me).