(2005) TV series

Episode 6: Mastermind

ROLE:  Serial killer Lothar Kraftzcyk

GENRE:  Crime drama

COUNTRY: Sweden - Germany - Finland - Denmark - Norway

SWEDEN RELEASE:  December 13, 2005


Investigating a grisly local murder and the disappearance of a policeman's daughter, Kurt Wallander and his colleagues at the Ystad station begin to suspect the two are connected. As the investigation proceeds it seems that the criminal knows every move they will make and is practically controlling them. So begins a struggle to outwit a master criminal.

Film Details

Krister Henriksson - Kurt Wallander
Johanna Sällström - Linda Wallander
Ola Rapace - Stefan Lindman
Michael Nyqvist - Lothar Kraftzcyk
Angela Kovacs - Ann-Britt
Fredrik Gunnarsson - Svartman
Douglas Johansson - Martinsson
Mats Bergman - Nyberg
Michael Nyqvist - Lothar Kraftzcyk
Sally Carlsson - Therese
Suzanna Dilber - Jolanta
Marianne Mörck - Ebba
Göran Aronsson - Grönkvist
Lisa Lindgren - Elisabeth Martinsson
Jan Skott - Ragnar Öberg

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Director - Peter Flinth
Writer - Stefan Ahnhem 
Based on the story by Henning Mankell
Music - Adam  Nordén
Cinematography - Eric Kress

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98 minutes

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View trailer


Most Mankell admirers in the English-speaking world will be familiar with the UK’s three-year series (2008, 2010 and 2012) Wallander that is based on the 1990s novels with Kenneth Branagh as Kurt Wallander. Less known is the second Swedish series featuring Krister Henriksson as Wallander, the first in 2005 and 2006, the second in 2009 and 2010. Although the UK films are graced with a glossy cinematography and are a showcase for its star, the strengths of the Swedish series outweigh those in the UK productions, rendering it superior television.

Critics at Large, Canada:
The Swedish series, apart from the first episode, "Before the Frost," in which Linda (Johanna Sallstrom) becomes a member of the Ystad police force on September 11, 2001, is based on stories written by Mankell and scripted by a variety of Swedish writers, dramas that powerfully illuminate the social problems confronting contemporary Sweden in the twenty-first century. I suggest that Krister Henriksson, an older and less unkempt Wallander, offers a more nuanced and understated interpretation: he is stunningly intuitive as an investigator and as an interviewer, and often right as he confronts the doubts of his colleagues.

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"Mastermind" works to earn its status as a theatrical release, everyone upping their game to provide something more filmic than the other direct-to-DVD entries in the series. That’s not to say the other films in the series are bad — they’re certainly as well-produced as any other detective series on TV — but this episode seems to have been constructed from the outset with an eye on a stand-alone cinema release, rather than just randomly plucking an episode from the thirteen produced to receive such an honor.

From the start there are slicker opening titles, and longer end credits to bookend that. The direction is flashier too — still grounded in reality, unlike the heavily-stylized British Wallander, but with more filmic shot choices and editing. Take, for example, the Rear Window-inspired scene where Wallander looks out over the adjacent block of flats while listening to classical music that completely fills the soundtrack — not the kind of sequence you tend to find in TV drama. On-going subplots from the series go unreferenced — there’s no need to have seen a single other episode to follow the story without a hitch.

The main plot’s on a bigger scale — a serial murderer who has eyes and ears inside the police department — and This Time It’s Personal for good measure, with the villain targeting friends and family and (spoiler) a past connection to several characters. It’s not a realistic-scale case-of-the-week, but a once-in-a-career unusual case, the kind of plot that graces serial killer films ("Se7en" comes to mind, obviously) in a way those case-of-the-week plots rarely do. It stretches credibility a little, as these types of tale often do, which does at times leave it feeling a tad out of place in Wallander’s grounded world, which is usually about more realistic murders rather than megalomaniac super-powerful serial killers. Still, it ups the ante appropriately, making the events more action-packed and conforming to the theory that films should never have a “just another day at the office”-style plot.

With the extra effort afforded to make this series instalment appropriately cinematic, the Wallander team achieve their aim and produce one of the stand-out of all thirteen films. That said, some viewers of the whole series may find it a bit OTT when compared to the series’ regular style.