I’ve been catching up with BBC4’s latest Scandinavian importa, Crimes of Passion, while not doing ironing because it has subtitles. It must be said that it isn’t The Killing. It’s more Midsomer Murders, except being set in 1950s Sweden the non-Swedish viewer gets to feel more sophisticated than when watching Midsomer Murders or ITV’s 1950s-vicar-cum-sleuth Grantchester*, not least because you don’t recognise the guest stars well enough to work out which one is the murderer. And it certainly lives up to the title: there is mad, often criminal, passion all over the place.
It is also perhaps that rare example of a canon in which everything really would be solved by a threesome.
Our heroine is the puckish Puck, a young woman studying for a PhD involving murder mystery novels, and who is one of those people whose friends, family, and employers keep getting bumped in unsavoury ways. She is also prone to wandering into lockable rooms, not-so-empty building and various places that might contain a murderer. You have met her like before.
Eje (Einar) is the love interest, a young lecturer (in history) at the same university as Puck. It is he who arranges for her to be asked to the summer party at which the murders of episode 1 occur. Death and horror naturally provide a romantic atmosphere, and the two get together. Eje’s chief function in the narrative is to be worried that Puck doesn’t really love him, but prefers Christer. He can also mend boats and swim long distances, something we all associate with history lecturers.
The complicating factor to blissful romance is Christer, who is Eje’s boyhood friend and chief of the Stockholm murder squad and therefore always free at short notice to investigate murders that are not set in Stockholm**. Christer is played by Ola Rapace, who played Stefan in the first series of the Krister Henriksson Wallander. Fortunately Christer has a cheerier personality than Stefan, though he is equally devastatingly good-looking.
Indeed all three leads are handsome in line with their characters: pixie Puck, brown-haired wholesome Eje, tall, dark and handsome Christer. Puck, inevitably, is torn between Eje, who she is going out to and marries and who is rather conventional, and Christer, who has a reputation as a womaniser, and is happy to include her in his murder investigations.*** Together, they fight crime. And angst about relationships.
Here they are, looking, I regret, a trifle gormless:
But honestly, the whole thing makes a lot more sense if Christer is bisexual and carrying a hopeless torch for Eje. He still likes Puck for herself, because she’s attractive and intelligent, but his not making more of a play for her at the start is explained by the fact that the string of women he’s shagging are but consolation prizes given that His Heart Is Another’s, and stealing Another’s girl would not help things. I am even going to claim potential canon support, in that in episode 2 when a fed up Eje says Christer can’t understand because he’s never been in love, to which the answer is a contradictory ‘I’ve been in love’ with no elaboration. They should just all get together. Christer and Puck would be much happier (especially as married!Puck dreams about having sex with Christer when he is temporarily sharing her hotel room...), and I’m sure Eje could be persuaded.
At the moment there isn’t a second series. I’m sure that canonical poly could deliver the viewing figures. Go on Svensk filmindustri, you know you want to. I am going to read the novels, though I suspect they are not quite like the adaptations. Twas ever thus.
*Frankly I felt last week’s compassionate!Shipman rather tasteless. And pointless, as there was a much better potential murderer.
**Maybe this is like old-style Scotland Yard.
***Though I feel that his lack of consideration as to whether Puck is a serial killer is a major flaw in his detective genius.
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