Icelandic murder mystery Trapped was a huge hit in its first season, drawing worldwide audiences with its tale of greed, corruption, a past that wouldn’t die and a range of suspects who kept turning up dead. Now with season two just around the corner, here’s everything you need to know to get caught up on the sinister goings on in Seyðisfjörður.
The opening credits set the scene
By now we’re used to crime dramas having striking and memorable opening credits. Trapped still manages to take it to another level. Combining the frozen sweep of the landscape with unsettling close-ups of an extremely dead corpse, it immediately sets the tone for what’s to come. And a theme by the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson of Sicario and The Theory of Everything fame definitely doesn’t hurt.
It’s set in Iceland – but not the part you expect
It might be hard to think of a more isolated place than Iceland, but Trapped goes one better by finding Iceland’s most isolated place. Far from the bright lights of capital city Reykjavík, the small fishing town of Seyðisfjörður on the east coast is already remote – and that’s before a blizzard cuts off all contact with the outside world.
The threat is in the water
Season one begins with the discovery of a human torso in fishing nets just outside the town’s harbour. As it’s discovered around the time of the arrival of the regular weekly ferry from Denmark, local police chief Andri (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) suspects the two are linked, and orders the boat locked down. But with the storm cutting off the town, detectives from Reykjavík won’t be arriving any time soon…
The past haunts the present
Seven years earlier, teenager Hjörtur (Baltasar Breki Samper) and his girlfriend Dagný (Rán Ísold Eysteinsdóttir) would secretly hang out in one of the town’s abandoned factories to drink and smoke and have sex. One day there was a fire. Hjörtur made it out, but he wasn’t able to save Dagný. The town blamed him for her death, and it’s turned him bitter. But has it made him into a killer?
The future’s not looking much better, either
Murder might be the oldest crime, but there are plenty of 21st-century sins taking place alongside it in Trapped. When Andri’s lockdown of the ferry collapses, among the first people on shore is a human trafficker with two Nigerian women in his campervan (turns out he’s not great at driving in the snowy conditions). Meanwhile, a major subplot involves a possible bid for Chinese investment in the port, featuring all the corruption and extortion that comes with big money and locals who don’t want to sell.
Andri has his own problems
For one thing, Andri’s father-in-law was Dagný’s father, and he’s still not over her death. For another, Andri’s ex-wife is back in town with her new partner and Andri’s clearly not yet over her.
And the weather in Iceland doesn’t mess around
You might think you’ve seen snow, but you haven’t seen snow like this. When the blizzard cuts off the town in the first season, it feels like a real threat, and when people try to drive (or run) through metres-deep of it, they struggle to make any progress at all. It’s presented as a part of life here in a way that even other Scandi-noir series can’t match – season one even has a plot twist that pivots on an all too successful attempt to cause an avalanche.
Moving on in season two
Without giving too much away, over the course of season one it becomes clear that Andri’s placement in Seyðisfjörður wasn’t entirely a step up professionally. So after the events of the first season, season two sees Andri living in Reykjavík as part of its police force. Most (but not all) of his family have come with him to start a new life down south – but that new life may be short-lived…
But he can’t leave the past behind
Season two begins with a shocking crime in Reykjavík that looks like it might be politically motivated and connected to major new industrial developments around Seyðisfjörður. Obviously, Andri is the logical choice to send back to investigate. But while some things may have changed in his former home town – his former deputy is now the police chief, for starters – it looks like the corruption and political skullduggery from the first season remains as strong as ever.
Season two of Trapped begins streaming at SBS On Demand from March 14. You can catch up on season one now:
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