Branagh’s last case as UK’s ‘Wallander’

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The British remake announces its distinguished end

We have already bid a fond farewell to Krister Henriksson as Kurt Wallander in the long-running Swedish series of feature-length investigations, which have spanned from 2005 to 2013. In a bittersweet honour, both the Swedish and UK show finales have come to bookend the death of best-selling author and fervent humanitarian, Henning Mankell. Now, Sir Kenneth Branagh hands in badge, having served the resplendent role for eight years on our screens.

Read more about the literary icon Henning Mankell and the tributes to his memory.

The final Wallander novel – The Troubled Man – was published in Sweden in 2009 and announced to be the last in the prolific franchise by the late Mankell. The Troubled Man sees Kurt Wallander delves deeper into the disappearance of a high-ranking Swedish naval officer, Håkan von Enke. However, this case proves to be unique in more ways than one. Not only is the vanished officer his daughter Linda’s father-in-law, Kurt must battle against his own health threatens to undermine his quest to discover the truth. Possibly the greatest crime he has been charged to solve, Kurt is led into a shocking cover-up that dates back to the Cold War. Has he unearthed a diabolical scandal in Swedish history? He certainly doesn’t intend on going out with a whimper…

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The UK show has made a bang or two at the BAFTA Awards. In 2009, Wallander won five trophies for Best Drama Series, Photography & Lighting Fiction/Entertainment, Production Design, Original Television Music, and Best Sound Fiction/Entertainment. In 2010, another accolade for Best Sound was joined by Best Actor for Sir Kenneth Branagh. The four season series began in 2008, produced by the BBC and Swedish production company Yellow Bird; set up by Danish producer Ole Søndberg and Henning Mankell to create the Nordic Wallander adaptations.

In a recent interview with PBS for a Masterpiece podcast, Sir Kenneth Branagh shares his thoughts on the final episodes and the relationships the character has formed: “It adds to the sense in this final shows that Kurt is so, so close to a happiness that was not possible for him before.” Branagh adds: “I think Wallander has always felt that that it’s almost easier not to have a relationship with people and not therefore disappoint them because once again, you’ve missed that dinner, or that holiday, or that phone call, or whatever while you were in the middle of intense inquiry.”

The actor reveals more titbits in researching Wallander: “Something interestingly, when we were researching this show and in Ystad with policemen and women who’ve been involved with violent crime, the key thing for them to try and do, in order to get through the most difficult of the cases, was to have time off, to make sure that they did not work, if it were possible, as obsessively long and intensive as someone like Kurt does. But he seems not to be able to help himself.”

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We can expect a sad climax with Kurt Wallander’s onset Alzheimer’s affecting his signature sleuthing, as he wanders further into the sweeping countryside of Skåne to a new peaceful life.

Wallander is back for a final farewell from 22nd May at 9pm on BBC One