A return of Iceland’s most expensive TV show ever, with a weird crime, weird families, uncommonly believable individuals, and fabulous scenery.
Just like The Bridge, I became attached to the main characters of Trapped when I watched season one a couple of years ago. And also just like The Bridge, I had assumed that season was a one-off: there was unlikely to be another murder at that exact location on the Øresund Bridge (between Sweden and Denmark); and was a snowstorm going to confine an investigation to a little Icelandic coastal town again, really? But in both shows, viewers around the world loved the locations and the characters, and so The Bridge continued… and now Trapped, too, has returned.
Trapped is familiar, but different: there’s no snow this time, but brooding crags, and wide green avenues. The landscape and its cinematography are truly marvelous. Some key cast is no more, of course; just like any season of Luther, the dramatis personae needs some new blood.
Oh but it’s great to have the main two back again, though. Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) is now police chief, as Andri Ólafsson (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) found things too much after earlier dramas and left for a job in the city. But wouldn’t you know it: the city center (right outside parliament) was the scene of a truly brutal attack on a politician, and he found himself obliged to go back to his unnamed rural town, because that’s where both the victim and attacker lived, along with family and – hopefully – backstory.
(That attack really was brutal, Hereditary-quality stuff. The first season has some awful sights too, but I don’t think any of them occurred before the credits!)
Hinrika impressed me as a very strong police officer in the first series of Trapped, and now that she’s chief, the responsibility is weighing on her a little. She’s understaffed and doesn’t get along so well with her layabout husband. And like most people in the show, she wears an exceedingly big coat. Andri is clearly very reluctant to be back, though he has a warm welcome from old colleagues and the respect that comes with not only being a former police chief but also coming from a city office. He too is having family problems – half his family live (without him) in Reykjavik, and his older daughter lived with an aunt in this grim sheep-and-dock town he’s gone for his investigation. And he too wears a massive coat; though unlike Hinrika and nearly everyone else, he’s 6’5″. (Wonder if that’s why a couple of papers call Ólafsson the hottest man in Iceland?)
This season does seem to have more characters than the first, and I confess it’s not easy to tell some of them apart: if it’s not massive coats, it’s a standard style jumper, and/or beards. OK, not everyone has a beard, but the vast majority out of their teens do. Perhaps the characters who look alike will be thinned off a little as the story progresses…
Director and creator of the show, Baltasar Kormákur, plunges us into some scene-setting in episode one… But do watch season one if you can first: old relationships do not get explained again; the only explanations given are about what may have changed since Andri was gone. The scene setting involves politics, both national and nationalist; family strife, amongst new characters even more than the old; environmental concerns, and a dead body.
Episode two slows down a little, giving a bit more attention to details. Writers Clive Bradley and Sigurjón Kjartansson do a great job in introducing some richness to the script and laying foundations for what may come without being heavy-handed about foreshadowing or obvious hints. There are now two crimes (the severely injured politician and the dead farmer) to investigate and potentially link. It’s such a small town that there’s no surprise when one of the victims’ son becomes friends with the detective’s daughter. (Hope she’s not doomed: she went through enough last time.) Episode two gives us more about the energy company who is upsetting both the environment and “Hammer of Thor”, the local bigot group. And we also get to know some likely suspects. Something tells me it’s going to get a little complex.
I have no idea where the story will go from here. If I knew any Icelandic, I might be able to find out: they’ve been watching it one episode per week since late December, and have just one episode to go. BBC4 is showing it at a rate of two episodes every Saturday, for five weeks. And I wish I could see the next one now.