Danish thriller series Unit One follows the lives of a group of crime experts from the mobile investigator squad. The task force travels around Denmark helping local forces solve a plethora of typically noir-tinged crime, tackling everything from sex trafficking to child pornography. Although the subjects in each episode may be particularly chilling, the show was a huge success and even won an Emmy in 2002.
The series boasts an incredible cast of Nordic talent, many of whom have gone on to star in other Nordic Noir favourites such as Borgen and The Killing. With the DVD release of Season 4 on Monday, we have decided to take a look back at the actors and actresses involved in series and see where their talents have lead them since the show’s conclusion in 2004.
Mads Mikkelsen is one of the most recognisable actors in the world right now who first came to prominence in Unit One. However, his original dream was to be a gymnast and dancer. Thankfully for us he took a different route and ended up landing the part of Allan Fischer, the sometimes emotional and impulsive ‘probelm child’ of the unit. As Detective Inspector, Fischer has been frustrated by a lack of advancement and is seen by colleagues Ulf and Ingrid as difficult to manage. Despite his questionable tactics, his persistence, physicality and willingness to bend the rules often produces results making him a highly valued team member.
Mikkelsen has had a successful film and television career both in Scandinavia and around the world. He has starred in big budget productions such as Casino Royale (2006), Clash of the Titans (2010)and the Oscar nominated Nordic film The Hunt. His TV career has also gone from strength to strength as he is currently starring as the most recent incarnation of Dr Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal.
Charlotte Fich first began her film and TV career in 1993 and joined the cast on Unit One to play Ingrid Dahl. Ingrid is promoted to a leadership position where she initially struggles to gain the respect of the team and her superior, Ulf Thomson. She is the single mother of Tobias and the guardian of Gry.
After Unit One ended, Fich went on to star in a number of other Scandinavian films such as Kinamand (2005), Worlds Apart (2008) and also Manslaughter (2005) which was written and directed by Fich’s husband, Per Fly.
Thomas La Cour
Lars Brygmann plays Detective Inspector Thomas La Cour and is the most cerebral member of the unit. His talent is his highly intuitive approach to solving the crimes, often being able to solve them through placing himself in the victim or criminals state of mind.
Brygmann has been acting since 1995 in both TV and film, most notably in the film StealingRembrandt (2003) where he played a talented art thief. He also starred in Borgen as Troels Höxenhaven, the Justice Minister and Labour Party deputy leader.
Jens Peter Sørensen
Waage Sandø (left) previously worked in theatre, cabaret, radio and film but it was television which gave him one of his most famous roles as Detective Inspector Jens Peter Sørensen in Unit One. He is another senior member of the unit who is passed over for promotion when Ingrid is appointed commander. Jorgensen has been with the force for 40 years and is a trusted and quietly supportive second in command to Ingrid.
In television, Sandø is also known for his roles in the hit series Landybyen (The Village, 1991-1996) and most recently in Kroniken (The Chronicle, 2003-2006). Sandø has become somewhat of a favourite with both Danish and world audiences in recent years, and when Danish idol actor Ole Soltoft died in 1999, many film enthusiasts regretted that the pair never got to work together.
Erik Wedersøe plays the role of senior police official Ulf Thomsen whom under the unit operates. He appointed Ingrid to command and this seems at least partially due to the political pressure to elevate a female. Ulf frequently challenges Ingrid’s decisions but in time it is revealed he does respect her and does it for her own benefit.
Wedersøe does not only act, he is also a director and author. He directed the film Anna in 2002 and has wrote 9 books between the years 1979 and 2005. Aside from his role on Unit One, he is also well known for his portrayal of psychiatrist Pigernes Ole in Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom (1997) and The Idiots (1998).
Trine Pallessen plays Gaby Levin, the most junior member of the unit who develops a relationship with Johnny Olsen. Gaby is often portrayed as the glue which holds the entire group together, she manages group logistics and is heavily relied upon by Ingrid and other unit members.Trine Pallessen had acting in her blood as she is the daughter of actors Per Pallessen and Kristen Peuliche.
Pallessen has been best known for her skills as a stage actor but broke onto film screens with the Norwegian film Sunset Boys in 1995. Since then she has gone on to star in the third instalment of the hit Danish cult drama The Killing (2012).
Lars Bom plays the part of Johnny Olsen, a contract truck owner and operator. Johnny is responsible for moving the Unit One mobile office between locations. He is a former Danish football star and is frequently unofficially involved in the task force’s police work.
Bom was educated at the Danish National School of Theatre in 1985 and has worked in a variety of roles in theatre, film and television. Aside from his role in Unit One he is also well known for his starring role in the cyberpunk-thriller Skyggen (1998) for which he won a best actor award at the Italian Fantafestival. Since Unit One, Bom has appeared in several productions including In a Better World (2010), Max Embarrassing 2 (2011) and Ronal the Barbarian (2011).
Benedikte Hansen (right) plays the role of Trine Dagaard in Unit One. She is best known to international audiences for her role as Hanne Holm in the political drama Borgen (2010) where she plays a journalist. She ventured into yet more Nordic Noir territory when she joined the second series of The Killing in 2009 in which she plays Birgitte Agger. In 2013 Hansen played her first major English-language screen role when she appeared as the Baroness in a new BBC adaptation of The Lady Vanishes.
Nicolas Bro grew up in a family of actors with his mother, father, brother and sister all in the film and TV business. He graduated from the Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance in 1998 and had his first role in the Danish short comedy film Election Night that same year. Fans of Unit One may also recognise him from his supporting role as Justice Minister Thomas Buch in series two of The Killing. Other TV appearances include a role in Mammon (2014) and international audiences may be familiar with his work in the films War Horse (2011) and Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013).
Lars Mikkelsen is the older brother of Unit One star, Mads and makes his first appearance in the series in the third instalment. He plays a particularly difficult to deal with criminal that challenges the entire squad. After attending the National Theatre School of Denmark from which he graduated in 1995, he went on to have a number of small roles in films such as Royal Blues (1997) and Cecilie (2007). It was also in 2007 that he gained a role in The Killing and then subsequently went on to star in two more Danish dramas; Those Who Kill (2011) and Borgen (2013). His face will be familiar to fans of the BBC drama Sherlock in which he had a starring role in one episode playing antagonist Charles Augustus Magnussen.
Søren Malling made his debut appearance in Unit One in episode 6 of the first series, as Betjent Madsen. However fans of The Killing and Borgen may also recognise him. In The Killing Malling plays Deputy Superintendent Jan Meyer whilst in Borgen Malling portrays the TV1 editor-in-chief Torben Friis. Malling has also starred in one of the most successful Danish films of recent years, A Hijacking (2012), written and directed by Tobias Lindholm.