By Caitlin Kelly
Thanks to a Nordic pal here in the U.S., we recently discovered Trapped — and loved! — this Icelandic cop show.
It’s the most expensive series ever filmed there, two seasons of 10 episodes each, from 2015.
I might be the only person left in the world who has yet to visit Iceland, but I can now really see why people go. What a spectacular and dramatic landscape it is!
It only has 364,000 people, and 60,000 in the capital, and is the most sparsely-populated nation in Europe.
The characters in Trapped are all very human, often confused, working either in Reykjavik or an isolated small town on a fjord — where the evil runs mighty deep and sometimes for generations.
There’s Andri, the police chief in Season One, who’s a tall, hefty guy with a thick brown beard and hair that always needs brushing, His assistants, Hinrika and Asgeir, are small town residents, and a real contrast — Hinrika is tough, smart and cynical while Asgeir is always vaguely goofing off and playing chess on his computer.
Their police station is small, and, like everything here, absolutely dwarfed by snow-capped mountains.
The sense of being trapped in this show has many layers: by small town life, by family dramas and secrets, by unsolved murders and disappearances, by ambition. Mostly by weather! So much snow, rain, ice! Roads get shut down and planes and helicopters grounded.
The opening credits are visually very strong and the music very good, initially composed by the late and very talented Johann Johannsson.
By Season Two, Andri has moved back to big-city Reykjavik, and Hinrika is now police chief. But her marriage to Bardur, 20 years her senior, is ending and Andri’s oldest daughter has become a rebellious 15-year-old in a lot of black eyeshadow, living with an aunt.
The pace is slow, but there’s plenty of plot development and it takes a while to finally reveal who’s the true baddie.
Along the way, we get to see Icelandic sheep farmers and ponies and an enormous ferry that is key to the first season plot. There’s a female minister whose formal collar is a white ruffle that looks positively medieval.
Several people die in gruesome ways — consumed by flames, and one with a bolt gun used to kill sheep.
But it’s really compelling and the murder of one character left us on the the verge of tears.
Here’s the Wikipedia entry about Baltasar Koromákur, its creator.
Have you seen it?