Chief Inspector Bäckström is cranky, arrogant, self-absorbed and a pain to be around. Is that enough to drive him to murder?
By
Anthony Morris

29 Apr 2022 - 10:04 AM  UPDATED 29 Apr 2022 - 10:04 AM

--- If you haven't discovered this series already, we suggest you head straight to SBS On Demand and start from the beginning, as this preview of season 2 contains a few spoilers for season 1. ---

 

For Evert Bäckström (Kjell Bergqvist), the death of a rival is a cause for celebration. Or it would be, if he wasn’t the prime suspect.

It’s all his own fault. The Swedish super-sleuth famous for a 99% success rate when it comes to solving crime (and a roughly similar percentage when it comes to annoying those around him) is just as arrogant and self-serving as ever, a man as interested in a good meal as he is in solving a murder. He might not be a cold-blooded killer, but someone who would dispose of a rival out of sheer annoyance? Let’s be honest here: you wouldn’t want to bet big money on “no”.

The first season of Bäckström introduced us to a cranky, rude, sarcastic detective who pretty much everyone only endured because he was brilliant at solving crime. His friendship (of sorts) with his young neighbour Edvin (Elvis Stegmar) softened him a little, and his passion for life – lived on his own terms – made him fun to spend time with… from a distance. But this season things turn a little darker; it turns out living life your own way sometimes leads you astray.

Back in season 1, we met lawyer Tomas Eriksson (Jens Hultén) as part of the team on Bäckström’s weekly television panel series. Clearly he knew what he was talking about, which didn’t exactly endear him to the detective (Bäckström is not a man who likes to share the spotlight). Season 2 begins with his murder, which you’d think would be good news for Bäckström. Only there’s a catch: he’s the one who found the body. Considering their history, nobody’s in a hurry to rule him out as a suspect.

Being the prime suspect (at least initially) in Eriksson’s murder makes it somewhat difficult for Bäckström to become part of the investigation to find the real killer. That means it’s finally time for his long-suffering police partner Ankan Carlsson (Agnes Lindström Bolmgren) to take the lead. Not that a little matter like being a murder suspect is going to slow Bäckström down – especially once he starts looking into a seemingly unrelated case that rapidly leads back to the death of his rival.

The character of Bäckström has been toned down a bit from the novels (reportedly high-profile author and criminologist Leif GW Persson isn’t overly pleased about this, but much like his character, he’s a pragmatist), but there’s still an edge to him that pushes him beyond your typical genius detective. Ankan is particularly long-suffering; since the beginning of the series, she’s had to deal with a boss who sees himself as the smartest person in the room and isn’t afraid to let everyone else know it.

She doesn’t suffer in silence. She sticks around because he’s a great investigator to learn from – once you look past his ample character flaws. Not to mention when she did get around to calling him out back in season 1, it turned out she was the one in the wrong. She’s not exactly wracked with guilt, but she does feel bad about it, which is exactly the kind of leverage Bäckström is happy to use to keep her on side.

And he’s going to need that leverage. As the season progresses, Bäckström figures out the link between the ever growing string of murders: a valuable golden antique music box depicting Pinocchio. This Russian artifact is either cursed or just sought-after by a lot of people willing to kill for it: either way, if you get too close, you’re marked for death. For anyone else, that’s reason enough to think twice. For Bäckström, that’s someone else’s problem. It’s worth serious money, and he’s serious about getting it for himself.

Now the greed-crazed Bäckström is racing to solve the case by fair means or foul. Not to clear his name, but because if he can get to the music box first, he’ll find a way to keep it. Meanwhile, Ankan is running an above-board, honest investigation alongside his secret one. If she solves the crime and gets to the music box first, his dreams of a big payday will be dashed.

Even Bäckström wouldn’t lie to his fellow officers and hide evidence from them – let alone destroy his professional relationship with Ankan – just to cash in on someone else’s murder. Would he?

Season 2 of Bäckström is now streaming at SBS On Demand.

 

Or start at season 1:

 

Follow the author @morrbeat

 

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