Character of the Week: Linda Wallander

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From 2005 to 2013, the Swedish crime series, based on Henning Mankell’s Wallander series, has celebrated almost a decade of feature-length episodes, appearing on both television and the big screen. Krister Henriksson’s depiction of Wallander; a brilliant, middle-aged and respected detective with a penchant for alcoholic beverages, is also shown as a caring father by the capricious relationship he has with his daughter Linda (Johanna Sällström).

Linda Wallander is not afraid of passing judgement or showing disdain for her father; considering herself to be the product of a dysfunctional marriage that ended in her parent’s divorce. In the very first episode ‘Before the Frost’, Linda joins the Ystad police department and disputes her father at every step, despite being under his command in the workplace. His carelessness and negligence when it comes to performing paternal duties (such as failing to attend her graduation from the police academy) paint her as a petulant child; emphasising Linda as an immature, unprofessional rookie. This attitude also fuels her to be a strong female, challenging her male colleagues in order to avoid being seen as inferior due to her gender. This is evident when she first meets detective Stefan Lindman (Ola Rapace, Crimes of Passion) and stops him for speeding whilst on traffic duty. She does not let him off for breaking the law, even when she finds out who he is.

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Linda often displays an eager, rebellious nature that puts her in harms way but manages to prove her competence early on and is quickly promoted at the beginning of season one, episode two ‘The Village Idiot’. She sheds the uniform and is partnered with Stefan. While Linda acquiesces to Kurt’s efforts to rebuild their volatile relationship as the series progresses, she does not want to live and work in her father’s shadow. And so, by the third episode ‘Brothers’, Linda agrees to Stefan’s suggestion to innocently move in together, which Kurt is skeptical about. Linda naturally defies the fatherly advice and her second, central male relationship of the show manifests as she embarks on a romantic affair with Stefan as they get better acquainted.

Sadly Johanna Sällström’s passed away in 2007. Following her death Mankell declined to write any further stories involving her character for the second season. Linda is referred to as working elsewhere from Ystad. It wasn’t until the third and final season that Linda Wallander returned to the programme, played by Charlotta Jonsson.