Jordskott is not the typical Scandi crime series, although during the first episode you could be forgiven for thinking it conforms to the pattern established by The Killing / The Bridge. The lead character is a determined female police investigator with a significant trauma in her past, and her return to the Swedish hinterland coincides with a similar child-kidnapping.
However, Jordskott is altogether more strange and more sinister than most Nordic noir. It’s layered through with strands of what might be supernatural influences, and malign forces which manipulate a complex conspiracy. It has a similar feel in some ways to Fortitude; an isolated community with scant police resources, struggling to cope with bizarre kidnappings, unexplained deaths, outright murder and far stranger things than that…
The filming is atmospheric, and Jordskott definitely leans towards the slow-burn, melancholic end of the Scandinavian spectrum (so if you want car chases and shoot-outs, look elsewhere). The story is set in summer and the twilight nights are eerily lit. The forests are deep green; there’s no snow but even so there’s an overwhelming sense of oppression and intrigue. The opening episodes are full of confusing, conflicting mysteries, many of which remain unresolved until the finale.
There are a few less-good moments. The plot and characterisation occasionally veer into the territory of the outright unbelievable, like when the male policeman insists on dragging his sensitive wee child to a murder scene and exposes her to the paparazzi. His relationship with his ex-wife is straight out of cliché central. The death toll also reaches prodigious proportions for a rural community. But such is the strength of the core mystery that these worldly concerns seem far less important than trying to figure out what the heck is going on.
In some ways, Jordskott is like a Swedish-language X-Files. From another perspective, it’s an environmental parable, a modern version of the fables which tell of stolen babies and poisoned wells and of the weird creatures which lurk in the woods, always slightly out of sight. Either way, it’s 10 hours of gripping entertainment, beautifully paced and with skilful storytelling that keeps nudging you to watch just one more episode. It is not ‘horror’, but it does raise difficult and frequently violent human issues – and then it twists them by 45-degrees, bringing myth slap-bang into our reality.
The writers and directors have created a fascinating scenario, and neatly wrapped up most of the multiple threads in a satisfying manner. (although one of the lead characters just kinda vanished in the final ten minutes: odd, but we may have missed some dialogue while following the subtitles). They’ve sneakily left the door open to explore more of the Jordskott world in a follow-up season, which would be hugely welcome. If you enjoyed the French series ‘The Returned’, then Jordskott is definitely another boxset to add to your watch-list.
Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason
Jordskott is available on DVD or to download
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