Wallander, which has been on our screens since 2008, came to an emotional conclusion on Saturday night. Krister Henriksson’s flawed hero has been one of the most revered and influential fictional detectives of recent times. We have witnessed his battles with alcoholism and dementia, the tortured relationship with his daughter Linda and his unorthodox professional ways, all of which have made for compelling viewing over the past 5 ½ years.
The last episode, The Sad Bird, saw Wallander investigate the case of a kidnapped restaurateur, whilst finally coming to terms with his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. A fittingly powerful climax to the series, the final episode was warmly received by many critics:
The Guardian’s Phil Hogan wrote that Wallander had “bowed out gracefully” and particularly praised lead actor Krister Henriksson’s performance. “Henriksson rose wonderfully to the job. His Wallander – emotionally difficult, brooding and self-fancying – has never invited the viewer’s warmth, but in his Lear-like roaring against this new, cruel, unreadable fate we feared for him and of course ourselves.”
Similarly, Robin Jarossi of Crime Time Preview was also impressed with Henriksson’s performance. “It is a sign of how well we feel know and empathise with the lonely but decent Wallander that this final 90 minutes with Krister Henriksson’s portrayal is so affecting.”
Deborah Shrewsbury from The Killing Times also wrote a tribute to Henriksson in her review. “His struggle with becoming the Swedish stereotype is the only moment we really see him break down in this finale, and director Lisa Ohlin handles this scene in a perfunctory yet moving manner – a perfect example of less being more. Though he berates himself for being a coward, we know he never has been.“