Wallander series 4 episode 3 review
Wallander series 4 episode 3 – ‘The Troubled Man’, based on the book of the same title – is the last case for Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander. And troubled he is. The dizzy episodes and disorientation he was experiencing in episode two of the series have continued and the programme begins with his doctor urging him to reveal his Alzheimer’s diagnosis to his family.
Kurt psyches himself up as best he can, practicing his speech alone at home. But when his daughter Linda (Jenny Spark) arrives in a worried state, he can’t bring himself to tell her. Linda’s problem is more serious – her father-in-law, Håkan von Enke (Terrence Hardiman), has disappeared. She wants Kurt to go up north and, although he’s currently suspended, look into what’s happened to the retired naval commander.
Clues start turning up right away. When Wallander searches Håkan’s desk, he finds a tape recording of the man being interviewed about an incident involving enemy submarines in Swedish waters back in the 1980s. Then Wallander discovers that Håkan and his wife Louise (Ann Bell) had a child nobody knew about. More than that, he suspects one of them may have been a Soviet spy. When Louise is found hanged his fears turn to who could be next. Are his daughter Linda and granddaughter Klara in danger?
With its building tension, a touch of espionage, political intrigue and a growing sense of melancholy, this is the best episode of the current season and a fitting conclusion to the entire series. The climax, in a rusty old beached submarine, is tense and darkly textured, ending with a dramatic twist that goes right back to Kurt’s other problem. His greatest asset – his mind – is under attack.
Throughout, he fights to stay on track. At best, his thoughts will wander a little. At worst – like when he confronts his son-in-law Hans (Harry Hadden-Paton) over financial irregularities – he goes from being an angry interrogator to a confused man in a stupor, and has an altercation with the window blinds.
And there are some wonderful reflections on matters past and present too. When he finally reveals to Linda that he has Alzheimer’s, he explains that he has six or seven years left. “What was I doing seven years ago?” he asks. “Drinking red wine and falling asleep in your chair,” she replies. “Looking after granddad,” he retorts, recalling that his father had the same condition. “I saw a 15-year-old girl set herself on fire in a rape field. That’s something I could do with forgetting.”
Fans of Wallander will be reminded of ‘Sidetracked’, Branagh’s very first case in the role, back in 2008.
Later, we see just how fractured his investigative procedure has become. “Try and be methodical,” he tells himself as he pulls bits of crumpled notepaper out of his pockets, smoothes them all out and assembles them on his desk in a bizarre proxy of the case whiteboard we’re so used to in police procedurals.
This is another beautifully shot episode. Trees reflected in dark lake waters, windswept coastlines, rocky fishing villages, and purple Scandinavian nights set a visual tone made more disconcerting by edgy, percussive music, with straining strings and a few sad piano notes. The atmosphere, together with an intriguing plot, mean that of the three episodes in the final season of Wallander, this is the one you’ll want to watch over again.
Written by Peter Harness
Directed by Benjamin Caron
Love Wallander? Find out more with Garrick Webster’s ultimate guide.