It’s the latest Danish series to hit British television screens and although it bares no obvious comparison to The Killing or Borgen , The Legacy already looks set to follow in their footsteps when it comes to critical acclaim.
The series, which follows a complicated family fighting over the rights to their deceased mothers lucrative estate debuted last Wednesday on Sky Arts. Starring Carsten Bjørnlund, Trine Dyrholm, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard and Jesper Christensen, The Legacy has already proved to be a massive success in Denmark, where filming on a second series has just concluded but after just one episode it is clear us Brits are already wanting more.
In his review, Andrew Anthony of The Guardian was keen to bring up the tonal similarities that The Legacy shared with The Killing. “The Legacy displayed the same subtle gift for social observation that made the first series of The Killing such a phenomenon. If the Killing effect is anything to go by, be prepared for a spate of intense, roiling British family dramas in about two years’ time.”
“Though neither a crime drama nor a fizzing pot of political intrigue, the opening episode revealed The Legacy as something just as gripping: a claustrophobically intense tale of a family torn apart by a disputed inheritance” says Gerard O’Donovan of The Telegraph. “It is The Legacy that offer everything we have come to love and expect of drama from that part of the world: intensity, intrigue, superb acting and a sheen of effortless style and chilly sophistication” concludes O’Donovan.
The acting on show particularly blew Jasper Rees of The Arts Desk away. “The acting is impeccable in the Danish style, all monotones and shrugs and glowering tension. While drunken, unboundaried operatics are the preserve of Kirsten Olesen as the wantonly selfish Veronika, the real masterclass stuff happens when her children learn of her death” writes Rees. “Carsten Bjørnlund as the uptight Frederik keeps a lid on his emotions when, dressed as Santa Claus, he carries on doling out presents to his unwitting family. “I wasn’t going to let her spoil our Christmas,” he tells his wife. As Gro breaking down over her mother’s corpse in hospital, Trine Dyrholm powerfully exudes the lonely regret of the eternal drudge, the daughter taken for granted and now abandoned.”
Finally Will Dean of The Independent picked up on one of the more peculiar elements of the first episode. After one episode there are already plenty of unanswered questions. Those include what will happen to Veronika’s artistic retreat. And, more pertinently, why does Frederik, a grown-up father of two, think it’s appropriate to have a giant poster of German industrial metal legends Rammstein in his living room!’
You can catch The Legacy every Wednesday evening at 10pm on Sky Arts.