Here at Must, we are well aware that there are enough detective series circulating British TV to feed a village of crime fanatics. But what if we told you that there was a new drama out – one which is funny, stylistically subversive and headed by the much loved and undeniably talented Nicola Walker? We are, of course, talking about Annika.
In this series, Annika Strandhed has just moved from her home country of Norway and is now faced with the challenge of managing a marine homicide unit in the Glasgow waterways. Maybe that sounds like dreary dialogue (fit with a plethora of police abbreviations), an inexplicable number of morbid murders, and an appropriately moody atmosphere to match. Predictable, right? Wrong.
The Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries describes the series as falling under the category of “comedy crime drama”, which is seen in Annika’s attempts to break the rules of the detective drama by injecting humour into its scripts in order to give the genre a much-needed kick up the backside. And if this isn’t enough genre-bending for you, the Shakespeare-esque destruction of the fourth wall, which sees Annika directing thoughts direct to camera, adds in another layer. Jeffries also describes how “the dialogue is so droll”, whilst The Telegraph’s Benji Wilson searingly states that it “ticked so many detective show cliches that at first [he] thought it might be a spoof.” Ouch. Despite its shortcomings, which are arguably more to do with its confining genre than anything else, the show is still a Must, largely due to Annika’s characterisation which, as James Jackson from The Times describes as breaking “the mould of the TV copper as we’ve long come to know it” and Nicola Walker who has, expertly described by Jackson, “that oddly watchable thing going on,” with a “distinctive face” and “a rhythm to her delivery of lines that sounds real”.
So, if you’re tired of watching the same old genre, why don’t you watch the same old genre, but with a Norwegian, Nicola Walker-twist?
First shown August 2021