Sunday, March 17, 2013

Once Again the Swedes Have It - Annika Bengtzon

This picture does not do her justice.
While searching Netflix for something new to watch, we took a chance on Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter and were hooked.   This subtitled "series of new Scandinavian crime films based on Liza Marklund's worldwide best-selling novels Nobel's Last Will, Studio Sex, Prime Time, The Red Wolf, Lifetime and A Place in the Sun" takes us into the life of a reporter who is working hard to excel at her job which often runs smack into conflict with her life as a wife and mother.  Even though I think of Sweden as progressive  even in Sweden  women face bias in the workplace and the constant struggle to balance and fulfill the demands of their professional and personal lives.

Though I'm not big on crime/mysteries I really enjoyed following the ins and outs of the stories crafted by Liza Marklund that Annika, played with beautiful vulnerability by Malin Crépin, persistently pushes her way through.  Pursuing lead after lead (often against our better judgment) Annika finds what she's looking for to crack the case and deliver a sensational headline to her paper, Kvällspressen.

Between investigating a shooting at a Nobel committee event, the death of a Swedish family in Spain, or the murder of a popular television host, we see the toll Annika's work takes  on her long-time relationship with the handsome Thomas, the father of their two beautiful children, Kalle and Ellen.   You're rooting for their relationship to succeed but it's complicated by an antagonistic relationship with her soon-to-be mother-in-law  and of course the ever-present ring of her cell phone calling her to another crime scene.

Annika finds camaraderie and comfort from an older female researcher Berit, annoyance from male contemporary Patrik who's intent on busting her chops and showing her up, and pressure from Spiken, the curmudgeon who is head of the newsroom.  When he's about to retire, Annika is offered his job and turns it down  only to suffer the consequences when her annoying male colleague becomes her boss.

In addition to seeing the inside of the newsroom and the society and politics of Sweden, we get an inside look at the life of a young professional woman who walks a tightrope of constant tension between following her instincts and adhering to the paper's preferences, politics,and publisher. At the same time as trying to be a good wife and mother...sound familiar?

We've finished episode six.  I'm sad to say goodbye to Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter  but hope you'll enjoy saying hello.

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