With his rumpled raincoat, ever-present cigar, bumbling demeanour and Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, disarmingly polite homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo took on some of the most cunning murderers in Los Angeles, most of whom made one fatal, irrevocable mistake: underestimating his investigative genius.
You can forget the Americans and the British, it's the Swede's who really know how to do it
The original Wallander series is a complete triumph. As others here I caught it on the off chance on BBC4 and full expected to be left a little cold by it. But I can't tell you how happy I am to tell you I couldn't have been more wrong. The first thing that grabbed me was the complete lack of silly old hat jerky camera that was always naff anyway (and which the British for some reason still persist with). Then I began to notice other things, very little shouting, no dumb music played over the dialogue. By now I was starting to sit up as it dawned on me I was watching a very rare thing these days: intelligent drama written for grown ups and blatantly not pandering to the fickleness of the under-25s. Once this realisation had dawned the real strength of this series suddenly grabbed me: the characterisation. First of all it was the wonderful portrayal of the passionate, but lost and vulnerable Linda Wallander by the beautiful and much lamented Johanna Sällström. Then it was Kurt himself and his flimsy grip on reality and finally and sadly not until the final brilliant episode that I got to grips with the hot head character of Stefan. Dysfunctional, deeply flawed and very human characters brilliantly written and superbly executed to breathtaking effect by the excellent cast. I honestly cannot think of a TV series that could be beat this. Can we please have some TV for grown ups again made in Britain? No? I didn't think so.
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