They’re called Nordic Noir – dark, brooding dramas with equally brooding leading characters, many of which have held western audiences spellbound since the release of such classic crime dramas as The Killing and The Bridge. Of course both of these went on to become very successful English-language remakes and I’m pretty sure the same can be expected for this next series that’s currently got me riveted on Netflix…
Icelandic mysteries, with their stark landscapes and frontier atmosphere, actually do have a natural kinship with the American Western. Trapped, a 10-episode series airing right now on Netflix takes the resemblance further: Its hero, a lumbering, bear of a man – small-town police chief Andri (Olafur Darri Olafsson), is a classic western sheriff.
The story revolves around Andri and his tiny police team discovering a dismembered body on the same day he learns his ex-wife is returning to town with her new boyfriend.
As the hours in the day countdown, a huge snowstorm also hits the town, trapping him, his two daughters, the townsfolk and an entire ferry of potential murderers inside the town walls. The show’s title is also a metaphor for Andri’s personal life; he’s trapped living in his in-laws’ basement with his girls in the same small town to which he originally migrated for his ex-wife’s sake.
To make the case more complicated, multiple complications are introduced: The body may be connected to a human trafficking ring, to a plan to sell the port to Chinese interests or to a fire that gutted the local fish factory (and killed Andri’s sister-in-law) eight years earlier.
I’m halfway through and the plot has developed at a slow burn – despite the hauntingly chilly, and albeit starkly beautiful surroundings in which it takes place. There are unexpected story twists which are made all the more surprising when you consider a cast of characters who divulge only as much information as is barely necessary and are not prone to long outbursts of prose or conversation.
If you enjoy your dramas gradually unfolding, instead of at breakneck speed, you should give Trapped a try – it’ll definitely give you a few chills – but in a good way!