Europe Nordic Noir Sweden Television

Nordic Noir, Extra Nordic – Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders – Television Review

Original Title: Rebecka Martinsson

English Title: Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders

Year: 2017

Language: Swedish

Created with GIMP

Rating: 5.5/7


Delving headfirst your work and giving more of yourself than you probably should are admirable qualities for a lawyer, but those same traits could be disastrous for a murder investigator. Unfortunately for Rebecka Martinsson (Ida Engvoll), her own transition from corporate lawyer to murder investigator is plagued by her own need to always find the truth no matter what, even if it means losing herself in process. That is what is at the heart of Rebecka Martinsson: Arctic Murders, the 2017 Nordic Noir series from Sweden, watching the titular character do whatever it takes to find justice for the victims of the crimes she investigates. 

When we meet Rebecka she is a corporate lawyer in Stockholm, seemingly at the top of her game, but she soon learns that the woman who raised her has died and returns home to Kiruna a small city in the far north of Sweden. She intends to go only for the funeral, but soon she finds herself neck-deep in a murder investigation and entangled in the lives of the people living in the hometown she left behind. By the end of the first case, Rebecka is suffering a full-on mental breakdown, but the strength of the show is giving the character the will to pull herself together enough to continue searching for answers. 

Another strength of both the show and the lead character is the actor playing her. Engvoll embodies Rebecka in a way that makes the viewer feel as though she always standing on the edge of a cliff, sometimes she is standing at a safe distance in perfect control and others she is teetering on the edge about to lose it all. She is balanced by another notable performance from Eva Melander, who plays the local police detective who also is at her wits’ end, and often is tasked with either helping Rebecka or trying to rein her in from the brink. 

Engvoll embodies Rebecka in a way that makes the viewer feel as though she always standing on the edge of a cliff, sometimes she is standing at a safe distance in perfect control and others she is teetering on the edge about to lose it all.

The other star of the show is Kiruna, the small city and it’s surrounding areas in Northern Sweden where the show is set and filmed. The “arctic” part of the title isn’t bullshit, Kiruna really is inside the arctic circle, and with the show occurring during the heart of winter a sense of bleakness, combined with the contemptible familiarity of small-town living gives the feeling that everyone around her is also pretty close to the edge of that cliff along with Rebecka.  

The eight-episode season is broken up into four separate two-episode cases, while there is a lot that is carried throughout the entire season, being broken up like that makes the show a lot easier to digest than if there was just one big case to solve. It has been announced that a second season will be released this year, but with Sascha Zacharias replacing Engvoll in the lead role.

Subs & Dubs: The show is available only with subtitles, which would be by far the better way to watch it.

Dr. Pepper Guarantee: For sure. If you watch the first two episodes and don’t want to finish the season I will by two cans of Dr. Pepper.

Where to watch: The whole season is available to buy or rent on Amazon or you can look really hard and find it for free, but it’s worth paying for.

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