Monday, August 9, 2021

Outlier: Nordic Noir, Criminal Minds Style


Well, there's no team of FBI profilers working the case in Outlier, in fact no FBI and not much of a team at all,  but Maya Angell, a doctoral student in London who goes back to her hometown in northern Norway to investigate the killing of a young woman, would fit right in with the BAU.

She begins her work in Norway by telling the incompetent police chief that the man he has locked up for the crime couldn't be the killer, because he acts on his emotions too quickly.  The killer, Maya quickly realizes, is a serial killer, who operates much more carefully.

And then things get really interesting, as Maya realizes that some kind of sexual attack she experienced as a child, but can't quite remember, may in some way be connected to this serial killer.  Meanwhile, we get to meet him.  He's married, with two kids, a family man who gets his kicks by kidnapping and killing women when he's out on his job, installing video equipment in peoples' homes.

Maya is an intelligent, resilient, though deeply wounded character, and we get to slowly see how she wound up that way as she pursues the case.  Good acting in this role by Hanne Mathisen Haga, and the northern scenery is vivid and convincing.  The other characters range from interesting to ok.  I found her London fiance who doesn't want Maya to pursue this case to be annoying.  But Hanne's performance brings this definitely not-ensenble series home to a powerful and somewhat surprising ending.

This was just the first season of Outlier.  Will there be a second season?  I hope so.  But whatever happens, hats off to Arne Berggren, who wrote, directed, and executive produced this off-beat nordic noir series, which makes especially fine viewing on a few hot August evenings.



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