TV: Trapped (Season 1)

While the language barrier makes its tortuous plot rather a challenge to follow, Icelandic crime drama Trapped is a satisfying new entry in the “Nordic Noir” genre. Andri Olafsson (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) is the chief of police in a tiny, sleepy town on the coast of Iceland. His generally untested detective skills are stretched when a headless, limbless body turns up in a fishing net shortly after the arrival of a ferry from Denmark. Olafsson, along with his taciturn deputies Hinrika (Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir) and Asgeir (Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson), is ordered to hold the fort until the “real” police from Reykjavik arrive to solve the murder. But when a blizzard isolates the town, Olafsson decides to move the case forward on his own, unexpectedly uncovering a treacherous conspiracy that seems to permeate every last corner of this supposedly peaceful corner of the world.

I was lured to Trapped by Iceland’s cold, cinematic beauty, which served the brilliant Fortitude so well. But aside from its idyllic northern setting and a general sense of a small town wracked by incongruous criminal menace, Trapped has less in common with Fortitude than with other Nordic Noir cinema like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or the Department Q films based on Jussi Adler-Olsen’s work. That is to say, it’s dark, bloody, and gruesome, with tortured, beleaguered heroes facing off against dangerous, pervasive criminal mystery. Indeed, Trapped packs several seasons worth of a crimes into its 10-episode tangle of a plot, and it’s an impressive tapestry. Its pace is far from electrifying, unfortunately, and there are so many plot threads that it takes time to untangle them all. But for patient fans of tense, intricate mystery, it’s a rewarding watch.

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