In the remote Swedish mining town of Kiruna, a French man is found dead in horrifying circumstances, sparking an international investigation. That’s how new Nordic noir series Midnight Sun starts, with more intrigue set to follow over eight instalments. Unravelling in a place where the sun doesn’t set for six months of the year, the new show delves into the fractures lurking beneath a mining community, the impact upon the local indigenous populace, and the influence of a long-festering conspiracy. It’s Scandinavian crime at its most enthralling — and here are the main players:
Rutger Burlin — the veteran
There’s a been there, done that look that crosses veteran prosecutor Rutger Burlin’s (Peter Stormare) face when he surveys the initial crime scene; however, that doesn’t stop him from losing his lunch moments later. Despite his uncharacteristic queasiness, his no-nonsense approach, obvious dedication to the job and determination to put together the best team he can sees him respected by everyone around him. Of course, every man has secrets — and Rutger’s marital troubles with his wife Kajsa (Anna Azcárate) clearly weigh on his mind.
Kahina Zadi — the outsider
Workaholic French detective Kahina Zadia (Leïla Bekhti) isn’t known for taking vacations, and as soon as she does treat herself to two weeks off, this case comes calling. Regardless of appearances to the contrary, the timing couldn’t be better — when she first hears about the assignment, Kahina is in a taxi fleeing from a teenage boy who has just shown up on her Paris doorstep. She’s clearly haunted by the past he represents, and in no state to sift through her previous mistakes. Thankfully, running from her own pain and personal responsibilities provides the perfect inspiration she needs to head to regional Sweden and channel her anxious energy into a new investigation, even if she’s troubled by the incessant light.
Anders Harnesk — the underdog
It’s immediately apparent that mild-mannered assistant prosecutor Anders Harnesk (Gustaf Hammarsten) is well acquainted with disappointment and with disappointing others. Known more for his fondness for figures than his fieldwork, he barely reacts when Rutger tells him he wasn’t his first pick for the case. At home, his 18-year-old daughter (Karolina Furberg) is rarely civil, unless she wants something, which thwarts his attempts to unburden a personal secret. But, when he’s given a vote of confidence by the higher-ups, and forms a working bond with Kahina — even revealing his part-Sami heritage to her — Anders jumps into action.
Thorndahl — the inside man
Alongside Rutger, local cop Thorndahl (Jakob Hultcrantz Hansson) is one of the first on site at the initial crime scene. And, like his superior, he shows a keen interest in the case, as well as a fixated look in his eye. And yet, whenever he crosses paths with the investigators, something doesn’t seem quite right. In fact, he’s a little too attentive, not to mention quick to try to put Anders in his place, throwing his weight around in front of other cops and instigating an intimidating exchange after a meeting.
Sparen — the haunted
Resorting to shoplifting tools for the junk-filled lakeside shack he now inhabits alone, Sparen (Göran Forsmark) is a man haunted: by the life he used to have, and by the secrets he knows. A former colleague of Kimmo, and often in need of his help, Sparen has placed his hopes for the future — and his savings — in the woman he thinks is his new love. Alas, when things don’t turn out as planned, leaving him feeling foolish, not even his fondness for alcohol can soothe his many troubles.
Kimmo — the wild card
First seen jumping out of his black four-door ute to help a thieving friend off an angry shopkeeper, Kimmo (Albin Grenholm) likes to throw his weight around — but he knows when to pick his battles. When his pregnant wife, Jenny Ann (Jessica Grabowsky), discovers big news about the town’s impending move, he’s quick to caution her, though he clearly knows more than he’s letting on.
Midnight Sun is available exclusively on SBS On Demand. Stream it from the first episode: