A homicide investigator who feels very much that she can not reach as I get a demanding and grotesque murder case in her hands, and she has a new and not particularly accommodating colleague with her in functions. She has a demanding boss who is most concerned that the police do not lose face, and it is a dark and gloomy autumn in Copenhagen. A politician is getting ready for this autumn’s first session and government meeting, after a long absence from work. Many are influenced by their own circumstances. some more tragic than others.
The frame around this Danish crime series is so classic Nordic noir that one almost expects a certain investigator Sarah Lund in her high-necked sweater to appear around the next corner. That the series does not feel like a pure reuse of the “Crime” formula has to do with the murder plot and a convincing and effective guffaw atmosphere.
“The Chestnut Man” is also the new miniseries from Søren Sveistrup, the series creator behind “The Crime” and thus one of the originators of the entire Nordic noir genre. Here he has teamed up with TV with his own best-selling crime novel debut, and provided a story that is a little scarier and gloomier than his old international hit series. The series also does not recommend hiding that it is in a well-known crime landscape, whether it is in Copenhagen, in government premises or in Danish forests, the action takes us to. There is something special about the harvest in Denmark, even though it shows cruel things in darkened, rain-soaked city streets, you feel like going there and experiencing Danish cosiness with a fire in the fireplace and something good in the glass.
That it is a Netflix series that begins with classic and well-designed Nordic noir crime as this is also a sign of the new times in the TV drama industry, all the time this series comes from a streaming service at the same time as the drama department in the Danish Radio broadcaster who gave us nordic noir, but since then has had other paths in the name of renewal – according to Danish media is about to go completely into solution. A global power giant is certainly more than happy to take over the baton.
The “chestnut man” thus follows the investigator Naia Thulin (Danica Curcic), who has just applied for a new police job with fast office hours to get more time for the daughter, when a woman is found killed on a playground, chained and with a handcuffed off. With her is the uninvolved and unpopular new colleague Mark Hess (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), who clearly states that this job of his is just a staging post before the next position in the European police. Both have their reason for looking a little pale and ragged. Since Naia Thulin is an experienced police officer who does not have the person who accepts bad behavior from a colleague without speaking out, then neither chemistry nor cooperation between the two is particularly god. But we can experience that both are immediately available when they have a love that has taken the life of the woman so that it can be used for a good one. What makes them stunned is a small chestnut man figure, which is found at the scene.
As chestnuts belong to the Danish autumn, as something to eat or a traditional children’s game, the police do not react until a figure sends the case in a completely unexpected direction – to the government premises in Copenhagen. This makes the head of the investigators’ department stumble, because he is the type who does not want to bother the politicians – including a children’s minister who has been in the media a lot – is still necessary. Being opposed by the management does not stop Thulin – or Hess who eventually gets involved – from working on the macabre case. This leads to dramatic situations for the police officers, who have to go down alone in scary, dark basements and other places, where it is terribly stupid to go out alone without waiting for reinforcements in a series like this. That they do it yet, time and time again, reinforces the eerie mood all the time it is created and the expectation that now something dramatic is going to happen.
This is what makes “The Chestnut Man” work, that well-known ingredients and narrative grips from Nordic noir crime and suspense drama are used so immodestly, obviously, correctly and precisely that they work as intended. This is beautifully directed, dialogue and the play sit and the dramaturgy – well – after the book. It is painted thickly with the crime genre’s eerie means, such as when a children’s choir and dark night sing the apparently ordinary children’s song in honor of the chestnut man. Do you have chestnuts, the toddlers sing, so you know that now comes soon I can get something really so horrible to happen. That the police, I struggle for a very long time to find a perpetrator, and are always one step behind, also makes sitting that the crime plot holds its own.
Premiere Wednesday, September 29. The review is based on the series’ six episodes.