Sebastian Bergman Episode One Review

SEBASTIAN BERGMAN: Saturday 26th May, BBC4, 9pm

BBC Four can’t get enough of imported European dramas at the moment, so here’s another one for you, because nothing goes better with unseasonably hot weather than bleak Swedish television.

Coming straight off the heels of The Bridge, this programme, Sebastian Bergman, is a crime drama about one of Sweden’s leading police profilers. Bergman’s getting on a bit, he’s been in the game for a long time, but he’s smooth. When he’s not looking horrifically graphic crime scene photos, he’s turning on the charm. And by charm, I of course mean forcible persuasion and sexism. That’s just the way he is; he’s unapologetically politically incorrect.

When Berman returns to his hometown, two weeks late for his mother’s funeral, his career is on the rocks. Tasked with helping police solve the murder of a 15-year-old boy, it soon becomes clear that he’s nursing old wounds from when his wife and daughter were killed in the 2004 Thailand tsunami. As the episode develops, Berman’s personal troubles begin to get in the way of the investigation, offering a portrait of a great, but troubled profiler.

Bergman is played by Rolf Lassgård, who some viewers might know from Wallander, which aired on BBC Four back in the 2010. Lassgård is perhaps the programme’s biggest strength. He’s a fantastic actor and he helps establish Bergman as a likeable, but ultimately flawed character early on in this first part of the series. It’s an hour and half long, however, and it does occasionally drag in places, even though the end is griping and very suspenseful.

If you’re a fan of BBC Four’s latest slew of European dramas, this is pretty much more of the same. At times it’s very humorous, but there are, unsurprisingly, many dark and gruesome moments throughout. Sometimes the violence even borders on the gratuitous side, although fortunately there’s enough interesting characterisation and substance to make it worth sticking with. The first part of this double-header is promising and it should be interesting to see how things pan out for this shambling police officer who doesn’t play by the rules ™.