Good guys and bad guys team up all the time. Perhaps they have to unite to defeat an even worse foe; maybe the bad guy has useful information, or is on a path to self-improvement (maybe). The premise of this pairing is always fun to watch, even if it rarely comes as a surprise – unless it’s in the second season of fast-paced Scandi thriller The Lawyer. Because when it comes to bad guys, crime boss Thomas Waldman (Thomas Bo Larson) is about as bad as they get.
He's the man running crime in Copenhagen with an iron fist – a fist he doesn't mind using to punch his girlfriend in the face, and that’s just in episode one. Season one of The Lawyer was all about taking him down, and he had a long way to fall. Ironically, the seeds of his demise were planted decades earlier, when he explosively murdered the parents of Frank Nordling (Alexander Karim) and his sister Sara (Malin Buska).
Some spoilers below for those who haven't watched season 1. Stream it here if you want to start from the beginning.
Season 1 Episode 1
Haunted by that brutal crime, the pair grew up to find jobs with a deep connection with the law. Frank became a successful defence lawyer, a man who seemingly had the world in the palm of his hand: Sara became a cop, and a junkie with a serious heroin habit. Their need for vengeance always burned brightly, and when they discovered Waldman was the man responsible, they swore to finally have their revenge. Against a man like Waldman, that proved to be easier said than done.
Based on an idea by The Bridge creator Hans Rosenfeldt, the first series of The Lawyer set a breathless pace as the siblings worked desperately on both sides of the law to get the payback they’d waited their whole lives for. To get closer to Waldman, Frank trashed his upstanding reputation and started defending his henchmen, while Sara’s efforts pushed her closer to the edge of addiction. While they were both driven by revenge, they still had their own relationship with each other to deal with, and the siblings weren’t always on the same page when it came to avenging their parent’s deaths.
And then there’s Waldman. As the brutal Mr Big running an international web of crime, he loomed large over the first season, a threat so sinister at times it seemed impossible that the siblings could ever bring him down. Larson’s menacing performance made Waldman an unforgettable part of the series, a ruthless man driven by a seemingly limitless lust for power, a black hole at the centre of the story dragging everything down to his dark level.
Even when Waldman’s daughter Therese turned to Frank for help and he made sure she went to prison, Waldman seemed untouchable. Unsurprisingly, the first season ended on a bleak cliffhanger. Frank’s career was seemingly over, Sara was off the force, and true revenge was forever out of their grasp when Waldman was shot four times at Therese’s funeral. But it would take more than that to keep Waldman down.
The first episode of the first season began with an explosion as Frank and Sara’s parents were killed. The first episode of the second season has an equally explosive start. Frank’s out of custody, having managed to hang onto his legal career despite his dubious activities last season, and he’s become a new father to boot. It looks like the past is finally behind him and Sara, who’s now clean and trying to reconnect with her son – until we discover that not only did Waldman survive the shooting, but his henchmen are about to bust him out of prison and let him loose on the world again. Now he’s the one driven by revenge, and both Frank and Sara have families at risk.
The only thing on their side is that Sara has heard that Therese’s death may not have been a suicide as first thought. For Sara, that’s good news: it means her death isn’t their fault and they can finally move on with their lives. But for Frank, it’s a question he can’t leave unanswered. If he wants to find the truth he’s going to have to work with his former foe, no matter what the cost. And the cost could be very steep indeed: it’s not like the legal system looks kindly on lawyers who help escaped crime lords on the run.
The twists and turns come fast in the second season, as Frank and Sara battle both the system and each other to uncover the truth about Therese’s death and its links to what happened to their parents. Waldman might be after the same things as they are, but he remains a loose cannon – and with his rage and grief over his daughter driving him down an increasingly paranoid path for revenge, there’s no way all this is going to end well.
This is a man who was shot four times and survived; if he turns on Frank and Sara, will they have any chance of stopping him?
The Lawyer season 1 & 2 are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Start at season 1:
Jump to season 2:
Follow the author here: @morrbeat