Two Seasons in One

Wisting, on Sundance Now, is a Norwegian series about detective William Wisting that is based on the best-selling books by Jørn Lier Horst (who was himself a detective in Norway). There are 10 episodes in this first season of Wisting, but it’s actually two seasons in 1. Episodes 1-5 cover the book The Caveman, and 6-10 are based on The Hunting Dogs. Regular blog readers will remember my ire at Dublin Murders merging two books into 1 season, but Wisting takes the preferred approach.

A Solid Start

For the first 4 episodes, I really enjoyed Wisting. There is clearly money behind it, and the casting is excellent, with Sven Nordin as the kind and weary detective, the sharp Thea Green Lundberg as his daughter Line (that’s “Lena”), and the sensitive Jonas Strand Gravli as Line’s twin, Thomas. Guest starring for the first half is Carrie Anne Moss as a steely FBI agent who puts her foot in her mouth a few times with her aggressive American style. It was a solid procedural with two mysteries. Wisting and Carrie Anne Moss are searching for an American serial killer who had emigrated to Norway years ago. Line, who is a journalist living with the recently widowed Wisting, is writing a story about their neighbor who died alone in his house and wasn’t discovered for months. My only beef in those episodes was that some of the red herrings were cheap bait and switches-such as Wisting’s partner (Mads Ousdal) having a locked girl in his basement. Turns out she is his junkie daughter who is trying to kick and has asked to be locked in. Uh, Ok.

A Rough Landing

But in episode 5, the show gets VERY confusing. By the end of episode 4, the Line story and the American serial killer story have merged, as you might have guessed. Part of my confusion is that we churn through older male characters in both plot lines and it’s hard to keep them straight. Also, how Line’s neighbor actually fits into the serial killer story isn’t as clear as the showrunners think it is. (Was he killed by the serial killer? Or did he die alone? Why did nobody believe him when he said something wasn’t right with one of his childhood friends?) If you ignore the confusion and get swept up in the drama as Wisting races against time to find the killer, it’s a pretty engaging episode. But if you try to analyze how the police got their answers, you will be all “wait, what?”  Now I feel like we are on shaky ground, which is too bad because I was liking it.  We’ll see how the second half of the season goes.

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