The Nordic Noir sub-genre has spread like wildfire.
Nordic Noir has been a literary sub-genre since the 1990s but we hadn’t seen many popular TV adaptations of these novels until recently. Films like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo really drew attention to this sub-genre and its popularity has boomed in the past few years. Now you can find countless films and TV series labeled ‘Nordic Noir’ and people can’t get enough of it. Its unique flavour comes from the straightforward nature of the protagonists, who tell it how it is, without using metaphors or allegories. The real, gritty, urban world confronts every viewer in its rawest form and asks questions about society than the average British-style whodunnit only ever hinted at. There’s nothing else quite like it.
1. The Rain
A virus rips through the population, leaving a brother and sister alone in a bunker, in an almost post-apocalyptic world. For every lie they unravel about the virus another emerges and they meet a whole host of complicated characters along the way. This Danish series has become incredibly popular in countries across the world, with a storyline that sucks the viewer in immediately and never lets go.
A dedicated reporter clashes with the police in her attempts to tell an accurate story. Based on a set of novels by Elsebeth Egholm, this Danish thriller is shown on TV2 Danmark but it is also available to watch on Netflix.
There is a school shooting in Djursholm, Sweden, and a young woman is arrested on the suspicion that she may have been the shooter. As the only person left alive following the shooting, the accused admits to having committed the murders, but she denies having committed a crime. Confusing, right? But then, all good Nordic noirs are complex. Plus, the series is based on Störst av allt by Malin Persson Giolito, who loves writing complex explorations of psychology and criminal behaviour.
4. The Valhalla Murders
This hit Icelandic series is loosely based on real-life events, but the murder part isn’t true. An institution run by the state is home to lots of boys who are seen to be troubled. It’s an incredibly abusive environment, and it shocks more and more as the plot progresses.
5. Young Wallander
In the city of Malmö, Sweden, a very gruesome murder takes place, and soon enough people start blaming it on immigrants. The protagonist, Wallander, begins to investigate what happens as more people disappear and it seems that the truth is constantly being shrouded and twisted.
This Finnish noir has been really popular on Netflix. Inspector Kari Sorjonen works for the National Bureau of Investigation and he’s a kind of Sherlock Holmes type of protagonist. He moves to Lappeenranta, Finland, near the Russian border and finds his nemesis there is the shape of another agent who once worked for the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.
Sofia Karppi is a Finnish police detective and finds herself widowed aged 30 with two children. She returns to work as a detective in Helsinki and begins a long and gripping investigation into the death of a social affairs consultant who is found murdered.
This hit Icelandic series cost 1,000,000,000 ISK to make, which is about €6,400,000. This makes it the most expensive Icelandic TV series ever, and it was worth the money! Fishermen find the body of a man on a remote Icelandic island and a thrilling investigation ensues.
9. The Killing
Copenhagen detective Sarah Lund investigates a murder, but it’s full of twists, turns, shocking revelations and political implications. Also, the shots of Copenhagen in this series are beautiful and the show has been so popular internationally. It’s fantastic and should be on everyone’s watch list this year!