• The Lawyer: once more onto the bridge (SBS On Demand)Source: SBS On Demand
Step back onto that familiar crossing between Malmo and Copenhagen with the next big thing in Scandi drama.
Tanya Modini

13 Sep 2018 - 10:38 AM  UPDATED 13 Sep 2018 - 10:38 AM

Have you suffered withdrawals since The Bridge ended its final season at SBS On Demand? The Lawyer serves up a brand new, edgy thriller that asks the question: "Does the end always justify the means?"

Crossing the streams

The Lawyer was developed from an idea by the The Bridge creator Hans Rosenfeldt. Both are set in Malmo and Copenhagen, featuring an unorthodox female police officer in Malmo, and layers of murder and grisly dealings in both cities. It’s hard not to compare.

WATCH: The Lawyer is streaming now at SBS On Demand.

But while there are clear similarities The Lawyer can now stand on its own track record of acclaim. It has become the most watched original series ever on the nordic streaming service Viaplay.

Gone are the muted colours and the winter only shoots for which The Bridge and other nordic noir shows are renowned. Replaced with brighter colours and blue skies, The Lawyer looks lighter from the outset. But don’t get too comfortable — this series is definitely dark.

A tale of revenge

As children, Frank Nordling (Alexander Karim) and his sister Sara (Malin Buska) witness the horrific deaths of their parents. Cut to the present day and we find Frank is now a seemingly ultra-confident, upstanding, talented defence lawyer who takes out his grief and anger in the boxing ring.

Meanwhile, Sara is an unhinged Malmo police officer with a heroin habit (what is going on with police recruitment in Malmo?). When the siblings find out that one of the local Malmo law firm’s most important clients — who also happens to be head of the Copenhagen underworld — is responsible for the death of their parents, they embark upon a dangerous, obsessive journey of revenge. But can they handle it? And who is really deceiving whom?

In true Scandi noir style, this series starts with a bang — an opening scene that gives rise to the reasons why Frank and Sara are hell-bent on vengeance. The introductions of the characters and the story feature clever techniques, great performances and good writing that relentlessly elevates the stakes until the tension is almost unbearable. And there it stays.

Rather than The Bridge-type serial killers with socio-political causes, we are introduced to some very nasty underworld people doing unspeakably nasty things to remain powerful. None more so than Thomas Waldman (Thomas Bo Larson), the ultra-menacing gangster boss of the Copenhagen underworld who, among his other undesirable traits, doesn’t balk at punching women in the face. You won’t like him one little bit.

Themes of justice and revenge loom large throughout the series as the siblings’ enthusiasm to follow through on their quest fluctuates — as one’s passion abates, the other seems to take it on and run with it. As viewers, we have inside knowledge that they are embarking on a very dangerous game. And as with all stories of revenge, moral dilemmas and difficult choices are rife — how much of themselves will this duo have to sacrifice to enact their vengeance?

One of the main stars of The Bridge features here: the Oresund Bridge itself, an imposing work of architectural brilliance stretching for 16km between Denmark and Sweden, is once again thrown into the spotlight. This time, there is no 1977 mustard-coloured Porsche traversing the bridge, but for those pining for seasons gone by, the sight of this old friend will help.

Going international

The outstanding work of the writers of The Lawyer, Karin Gidfors and Charlotte Lesche (Wallander), has already been recognised at the 41st Gothenburg Film Festival. The series was one of only five nominated for the 2018 Nordisk Film & TV Fond Prize for best TV drama script.

At the international trade show MIPCOM 2017 in Cannes, worldwide interest in The Lawyer created a frenzy of overbooked screenings and unprecedented media attention.

This is not just a story about revenge. It’s a universally relatable tale of sibling relationships and the impacts of trauma. It’s about what happens to people when their lives and relationships are torn apart. Veering onto a slightly different path from the usual police procedural Nordic Noir, The Lawyer proves how addictive these new directions can be.

Set yourself up for some marathon viewing.

All ten episodes of The Lawyer  is streaming now at SBS On Demand:

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