It's Carrie Bradshaw meets Jessica Fletcher, liquidized through the blender of Scandi sensibilities. Dicte is binge-worthy Nordic-Noir.
Christopher Hollow

7 Mar 2017 - 3:55 PM  UPDATED 25 May 2017 - 4:07 PM

The body is still warm and there’s a mystery to uncover. Based on Denmark’s most popular book serials, Dicte is one of Europe’s most popular series set in one of Scandinavia’s most popular tourist towns. Three seasons of the addictive whodunit await.

For those who are still making up their mind on whether to give this great show a look, here’s what you need to know:

Who the hell is Dicte?

She’s Denmark’s Carrie Bradshaw who also happens to be the Danish Jessica Fletcher. Recently divorced crime reporter Dicte Svendsen is a single mum-turned-wannabe-novelist-cum-amateur-sleuth. She's spirited, plucky, and so very stubborn.

Safe to say, Dicte has a different way of looking at life and approaching her cases.

Dicte is played by a familiar face

Iben Hjejle is Dicte. You might remember her as Laura from High Fidelity, the one who dumped music nerd John Cusack and sent him on his sad-sack trawl through his past girlfriends before realising he only needed to craft the perfect mixtape, beginning with Solomon Burke’s “Got to Get You Off My Mind”, to make Laura’s cold, cold heart grow warmish. After a couple more roles including Defiance with Daniel Craig, she turned her back on Hollywood to return home.

Dicte is based on best-selling books by Elsebeth Egholm

Thanks to my super-sleuthing, I now know it all started with 2002’s Skjulte fejl og mangler [aka Hidden Errors], when writer Elsebeth Egholm introduced Danish readers to heroine, Dicte Svendsen.

Like Dicte, Egholm worked as a journalist in her hometown of Aarhus. Unlike Dicte, Egholm likes to spend most of her time basking on the sunny Maltese island of Gozo.

Originally conceived as a trilogy, there are now six novels in this best-selling series that tackle murder, child abuse, football match fixing, and the sale of blood diamonds.

Without giving too much away, Dicte has a past

Following a messy breakup, Dicte has moved from Copenhagen back to her home town of Aarhus with her teenage daughter, Rose.

Just like anyone returning home, this reawakens some painful memories. The one that really haunts is the newborn son Dicte gave up for adoption at the insistence of her religious parents. In her darker moments she wonders, how is he? What’s he doing? How did this happen?

Unlike many Nordic Noir heroes, Dicte is not socially inept

Dicte is vastly different from The Killing’s jumper-clad loner Sarah Lund or the abruptness of Saga Norén from The Bridge. Sure, she blurts out inappropriate comments at unfortunate moments but that’s part of her Scandi-charm. Dicte is someone you can imagine hanging out with at a party. She wants to be happy, she wants her friends to be happy.

If only the drama and the murders would stop occurring at such an incessant rate.

Her besties are Anne and Ida-Marie

They like wine and they like to talk. When discussing men, look out for the Danish word ‘fjols’ dripping off the tongue.

But not everybody likes Dicte

Dicte is constantly clashing with criminal investigator John Wagner, played somewhere between careworn and prissy by Unit One’s Lars Brygmann. Like Dicte, Wagner is also getting over a painful divorce.

Just so you know, ‘Bo væk fra denne sag, Dicte’ in Aarhus-accented Danish translates roughly as: ‘stay away from this case, Dicte’. But she never listens.

Book my flight! To the ancient town of Aarhus

While Dicte’s teenage daughter, Rose, acts like she’s now living in some backwater hellhole, as a viewer you’ll be like, ‘book my flight!’

Aarhus is actually renowned as ‘the city of smiles’ and was named the 2017 European Capital of Culture. Founded in the 8th Century as a fortified Viking settlement, Aarhus also has Stone Age history. Its second most famous citizen is a 2000-year-old mummified Grauballe Man, whose remains were found in an ancient peat-bog. In true Nordic Noir form, he died because his throat was slit. 

We have no doubt you're now keen to join Dicte in solving some crimes. Dicte is streaming now on SBS On Demand:

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