The weekends are quenching our insatiable appetite for crime as detective Martin Beck is back on the case.
Ahead of the latest feature-length episode from the fifth season of iconic crime drama Beck (1997- ), audiences were reminded of the last time partners Martin Beck (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 2009) and Gunvald Larsson (The Hypnotist, 2012 and The Salvation, 2014) were faced with a serial killer in Beck: Buried Alive which originally aired in 2009. The case that involved a masked villain burying pillars of society alive in wooden boxes paved the way for the fans to rekindle their appreciation for the Nordic Noir defining series.
Originally written for the screen by Rolf Börjlind, Beck brought the characters created by esteemed crime fiction authors Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall to life. The series created by Jörgen Bergmark and produced by Filmlance International AB which began in 1997 were influenced by the novels and re-imagined with contemporary writers at the helm. And so the saga continues…
On Saturday 19th September, BBC Four screened Room 301, directed by Mårten Klingberg, who notably co-starred in the second season. In Room 301, Beck and Larsson find themselves under the watchful eye of new superior Klas Fredén (Jonas Karlsson) whilst investigating the suspicious death of a young woman found naked in a hotel room the same night of a reported mugging.
Following the opening scene that sets up the crime narrative for the next 90 minutes of tense drama, we are immediately presented with the hypnotic opening credits, as recognised by the viewers: “Love the title sequence for #Beck… #BBCFour”. The haunting vision of the Swedish cityscape in abstract, reflected imagery tingles the spine in the quick and smoothly edited sequence. The fluid fashion of the opening credits connotes a beauty in the muted, modern infrastructure to deliver a suitably unnerving atmosphere for what to expect from the show.
As Beck and Larsson follow-up on their leads they reveal that the victim of the mugging and the corpse are connected. However, they must get used to their boss and his insistence on being actively involved – more involved than they have been used to in the past.
The return of Beck has generated a buzz on the Nordic Noir circuit:
I’m really enjoying #Beckon Saturday nights on BBC FOUR – a treat to get some core Nordic Noir back on the box!
“Beck is like a Swedish kitchen: it all works and looks neat in an unflashy sort of way. Clean lines, nothing loud, what you see is what you get” – David Butcher, Radio Times
What more can we expect? Engaging crime with humour from Larsson exuding confidence, as well as a touching and melancholic Beck whose ingenuity abounds.
Beck continues on Saturdays at 9pm on BBCFour