From its startling opening scene, it’s obvious that Midnight Sun is going to deliver.
A man is tied to the rotor blades of a helicopter in the isolated tundras of the Arctic Circle. He screams as it begins to spin, until he is little more than a headless corpse, spun mercilessly in a torturous death scene.
This French-Swedish drama ticks the boxes that we have come to expect from Scandi-noir. Dark themes, layered characters, strong visuals, and an affinity for binge-viewing.
The murder of the nameless man triggers the investigation by Swedish prosecutor Rutger Burlin (Peter Stormare). He is juggling an imperfect marriage and is disappointed to be assigned Anders (Gustaf Hammarsten) as his deputy for the case. But he knows this is a killer that must be stopped.
Anders has his own challenges, surrounding his daughter Jessika (Karolina Furberg) and is amusingly introduced trying to lift an unloved stove from a local tip -it’s that kind of show.
Without giving too much away, the corpse turns out to be a French national, which leads us to our other key protagonist, Kahina Zadi (Leila Bekhti). When her estranged son turns up on her doorstep and triggers feelings of guilt, she is happy to be assigned to the case and the isolated town of Kiruna. Kahina is a woman on the run….
What she discovers in the mining town is, aside from the stark title nod to a sun that doesn’t set, disruption. There are cracks in the soil, an entire town to be relocated, a powerful company and disharmony amongst the community.
Whilst the opening episode shifts between French & Swedish locales, there are grisly scenes that keep things moving and prevent it from slipping into claustrophobia. When our two lead cops also meet, there is the added bonus that both must rely on English dialogue. Created by directors Mårlind & Stein (The Bridge) the series will actually zero in on Kahina & Anders.
The setting makes Midnight Sun all the more captivating, cleverly contrasting the bright backdrop with its sinister themes. One of Scandi-fans and others yet to explore its many attributes.
Midnight Sun premieres with a double episode 9:35pm Thursday on SBS.