The office of a Stockholm internet bank is subject to a violent robbery, not normally the kind of case that would involve the elite A Unit crime squad. But unit leader Kerstin Holm just happens to be visiting the branch when the robbery occurs. Meticulously planned, the robbers escape using the entrance of an armed police squad to cover their tracks. Although only two masked criminals are caught on camera, Holm saw a third man engaged in the robbery.
The A Unit is assigned to the case when US intelligence shows an interest. Clearly there is more going on than just the theft of Kroner. Subsequent investigations reveal a legacy of secrets stretching back thirty years into the Cold War and the activities of the Stasi and KGB in Sweden. But as the detectives close in on the criminals, they become aware that of an assassin stalking them also.
This second story in the current series of Arne Dahl got off to a relatively suspenseful start with the brutal bank robbery and daring escape that followed, but soon became mired in soap opera melodramatics. Holm has ended her relationship with former colleague Paul Hjelm, and moved on to another. Despite the fact that they split because of Hjelm’s fear of commitment, he has become jealous. It isn’t helping that he is now an internal affairs officer and as there is evidence of collusion in the robbery from the police and so he must also work with the A Unit.
Then there is the ongoing saga of married officers Sara Svenhagen and Jorge Chavez and their relationship issues. There is even time for a plot line involving rookie team member Ida Jankowicz making personalised mugs for the team. These melodramatics take up almost as much time as the actual case and sap the story of a sense of urgency. It is noticeable that the most interesting character in the unit is Arto Söderstedt, the one we are told the least about.
The mystery of the case reveals itself in the second part when it is discovered that the robbery was a smokescreen to cover a search for hidden blueprints of experiments in cold fusion – a potentially revolutionary form of cheap atomic power.
Arne Dahl: Requiem was a story that felt padded to feature length with dull and clichéd melodrama whilst also having a sketchy and underdeveloped central mystery. It was never really made clear why the blueprints were considered so dangerous that it was worth killing to prevent their discovery. Only Söderstedt really had much to do outside of the ongoing domestic dramas, and even then his main talent appears to be turning up just a little too late to prevent witnesses and suspects from being killed.
A disappointing episode that did little to allay suspicions that Arne Dahl is strictly in the Second Division of Scandinavian crime drama.
Directed by Lisa Farzaneh
Cast: Malin Arvidsson, Natalie Minnevik, Shanti Roney, Alexander Sulzberger, Magnus Samuelsson, Vera Vitali, Niklas Åkerfelt
Review by Stuart Barr.
Did you tune in for Arne Dahl series 2 episode 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – and don’t miss the next double bill on BBC Four on Saturday 31st October!