|Original title:||Varg Veum|
|Genre:||TV Series, Thriller|
|Direction:||Alexander Eik, Stefan Faldbakken, Stephen Apelgren u.a.|
|Production country:||Norwegen 2010 - 2012|
|Running time:||Approx. 527 min.|
|Number of discs:||3|
|Languages:||German, Norwegian (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Picture format:||16:9 (1.78:1/2.40:1)|
Film: The former social worker Varg Veum (Trond Espen Seim) has been working as a private detective in the Norwegian port city of Bergen for several years. To enforce his sense of justice, Varg sometimes goes extremely unconventional ways, with which he has especially Commissioner Hamre (Bjørn Floberg) more than once brought to despair. But now he wants to bring some peace and stability into his life for his new girlfriend Karin Bjørge (Lene Nystrøm). He takes a job as a teacher and is well on his way to leading a normal life. But his past keeps catching up with him and just won't let him settle down. It all starts when an alleged murderer, called The Knife, is released from prison and wants revenge on all those who put him behind bars years ago. And Varg is at the top of that list. But also a boy under suspicion of murder, who Varg still knows from his time as a social worker, or a former friend who is killed in an attack, demand all the skills of the private detective. But things get really dramatic when Karin and his unborn child are put in danger and Varg has to make a difficult moral decision...
Varg Veum, the first season of which ran in Germany under the title The Wolf, is a Norwegian crime series based on the novels of Gunnar Staalesen. In his homeland, the unconventional investigator was so successful that two of the films from the second season even made it to the big screen. The self-contained stories strictly follow the rules of classic detective stories, with Varg not entirely coincidentally reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. Lead actor Trond Espen Seim proves to be the perfect casting for the stubborn, edgy private detective as he believably brings the various facets of the character to life.
But the rest of the cast, including one-time AQUA singer Lene Nystrøm and Bjørn Floberg, also deliver strong performances across the board. Coupled with the atmospheric imagery and the thrilling scripts, the overall picture is very positive, with almost every one of the six films being on a similarly high level. Some of the cases are admittedly more excitingly staged than others. For example, the very first episode, titled Signs on the Wall, is one of the most suspenseful cases of the second season, along with Cold Hearts and Business with Death. But overall, all six films have a high potential for suspense, which is well exploited, not least by the atmospherically dense production.
And that's what the individual films are all about:
SIGNS ON THE WALL
In order to make his life quieter and spend more time with his new girlfriend Karin Bjørge (Lene Nystrøm), private detective Varg Veum (Trond Espen Seim) takes a job as a teacher. But he is soon caught up in a dark chapter of his past: Kniven (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), who Varg's testimony put behind bars for the death of a girl, is free again. Veum was working as a youth worker at the time and even had an affair with the girl who died under mysterious circumstances. Now Kniven wants revenge on everyone who put him in prison - as he continues to maintain his innocence. It's not long before Herman Brandt (Per Egil Aske), judge in the case at the time, is found dead. And Torill (Martine Johansen), the sister of the murdered girl, also comes into Kniven's sights. During his time in prison, he had repeatedly contacted her, because she plays a crucial role in his perfidious plan. The ex-con's goal is to get Varg Veum, of all people, to prove Kniven's innocence. Otherwise, there will soon be another victim. (Text: ZDF)
Practical when your significant other is a private detective: Varg Veum (Trond Espen Seim) is supposed to track down the missing sister of his girlfriend Karin Bjorge (Lene Nystrøm). Her mother has terminal cancer, and her fondest wish is to see her daughter Siren (Kjærsti Odden Skjeldal) once more. But Karin hasn't seen her own sister in years herself, and contact has completely broken off. That's why her friend, private detective Veum, gets involved. He actually succeeds in locating the young woman, but shortly afterwards she dies in a car accident. However, the private detective who witnessed the incident is sure that it was murder. So he takes up the investigation, which soon leads him into the prostitution and drug milieu. In the process, Siren's dark past comes to light. Veum finds out that her death is connected to a murder case - and it looks as if the victim at the time has been brought back to life. (Text: ZDF)
GUILTY OF DEATH
After being arrested, a teenager confesses to the cold-blooded murder of his foster parents. But Varg Veum doubts the alleged crime scene because he has a special relationship with the boy. So the private detective is then also confronted with his own past during the investigation The gripping novel adaptation from Norway is presented as a free TV premiere in Monday cinema. In the leading role convinces the charismatic Trond Espen Seim. On a lonely farm, a postman discovers the bodies of a married couple and sees the foster son fleeing into the forest. Jan Egil (Sturla Alvsvåg) is armed and has apparently taken the neighbour's daughter Silje (Dagny Backer Johnsen) hostage. When the boy is surrounded by police, he demands to speak with Varg Veum (Trond Espen Seim). The two know each other from the time when the private detective worked at the social services. The teenager insists that he has already found the two dead, and so Varg is also able to persuade him to turn himself in to the authorities. But both the police and his own lawyer don't believe a word Jan Egil says, and finally the intimidated boy signs a confession. Since even his old acquaintance, Inspector Hamre (Bjørn Floberg), can't do anything, Varg starts to investigate himself in order to exonerate his former protégé. He gets support from his ex-colleague Cecilie (Line Verndal), with whom he also had an affair back then. But this constellation is not the only thing that could worry his girlfriend Karin (Lene Nystrøm) - his investigations lead the private detective on the trail of a network of alcohol and drug smugglers. Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen has been publishing mainly crime novels since 1970, and the books featuring the main character of Varg Veum are among his most successful publications. (Text: ZDF)
BUSINESS WITH DEATH
Varg Veum (Trond Espen Seim) works as a private detective in the Norwegian city of Bergen and lives with his girlfriend Karin (Lene Nystrøm), who is expecting his child. Now, after a long time, he meets up again with his old friend Even (Jon Øigarden), who until recently was stationed in Afghanistan. The inhumane missions have left clear marks on the ex-soldier, now he has found a job as a security guard at the armaments company Armakon. When there is a bomb attack on several board members, Even is also one of the victims. Relatively quickly Even is presented as the alleged perpetrator, but Varg can't believe in his guilt and starts investigating. After searching Even's apartment, Varg's house is broken into and Karin is injured. After this attempt at intimidation, the private detective can be sure that he is following the right leads - and they lead to Armakon's company headquarters in Budapest. In the Hungarian capital, Varg discovers more and more clues that point to unscrupulous crimes committed by the corporation, but before that, there are more victims and some surprising developments. (Text: ZDF)
DEATH BEFORE EYES
As private detective Varg Veum investigates the death of a young asylum seeker, he comes across some inconsistencies. More and more circumstantial evidence suggests that the girl was murdered and that high-ranking townspeople are involved in organized human trafficking. The gripping Norwegian crime thriller with its charismatic main character will be presented as a free-TV premiere in Monday cinema. When the body of a young asylum seeker is recovered in Bergen harbour, the official cause of death is unintentional drowning. Nevertheless, private detective Varg Veum (Trond Espen Seim) is interested in the case because his friend, social worker Karin Bjørge (Lene Nystrøm), was looking after the girl. In fact, Varg comes across some inconsistencies, including the death certificate raising some questions. Meanwhile, on duty, Karin meets Amina, a friend of the victim, who seems extremely scared. However, Amina (Bintu Sakor) is unwilling to talk to her. The first clues lead to an asylum for girls. Its director Ellen Watu (Fumi Desalu-Vold) seems to be very committed to her charges. A seemingly trivial theft, in which he investigates at the same time, leads Varg into the upper social circles of the city - and there, of all places, he finds a hot lead in the case of the dead girl. Now police chief Jacob Hamre (Bjørn Floberg) also slowly becomes active, because members of this elite circle seem to run an organized human trafficking and try to make all witnesses disappear. (Text: ZDF)
Varg Veum is supposed to track down a young woman's missing sister. But the supposedly routine assignment soon has threatening consequences - even on the private life of the investigator. With the free-TV premiere of "Varg Veum - Kalte Herzen" (Varg Veum - Cold Hearts), the film night on ZDF concludes the Norwegian crime series about the charismatic private detective. Varg Veum (Trond Espen Seim) and his girlfriend Karin Bjørge (Lene Nystrøm) are about to become parents. Reason enough for the private detective to cut back a bit soon. But that doesn't work out as easily as he thought: because his latest case, the search for a missing prostitute named Margarete (Gitte Witt), not only fills him up professionally, but also puts a strain on his private life. Siv (Ingrid Olava), the sister of the missing woman, is the client of the investigation. But it soon becomes clear that all three siblings of the Gunnar family are involved in dark machinations. Shortly after, the body parts of the brother Karl (Brage Kjepso) are found - scattered all over the city. He had not returned from prison after a day out and was reported missing. Furthermore, there is no trace of Margarete. But how are the siblings' missing persons cases connected? Varg Veum gets on the trail of a drug dealer from whom Karl Gunnar is said to have stolen large quantities of heroin. In addition, the former guardians of the three siblings seem to be hiding something. The investigation leads Veum into a swamp of drugs and violence. In the end, he must decide whether to turn in those responsible or risk the life of his unborn child. (Text: ZDF)
Picture + Sound: The visual realization of the six thrillers captures the dark atmosphere of the stories very well. The coherent color scheme contributes to this quite particularly. The fact that there are now and then minor point deductions in the detail representation, can therefore be easily tolerated. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is rather restrained in many scenes. Dialogue, atmospheric ambient sounds and the music dominate the proceedings here. But every now and then, clearer surround effects provide an audible utilization of the multi-channel sound range. This is enough overall for a more than satisfied: Good!
Extras: On the third DVD there is a short making of the episode Business with Death (15:29 min.). Overall a bit lean, but well worth watching!
Conclusion: Varg Veum is thrilling thriller entertainment from the far north. The maladjusted private detective, who not only has to fight all kinds of criminals, but also inner demons, may not be the most original series creation. But thanks to the good scripts and the convincing play of Trond Espen Seim, The Wolf has become an interesting character, which one very much enjoys watching over his shoulder during his investigations. The DVD box set offers six gripping thrillers, presented in good picture and sound quality. As a bonus there is a short but worth seeing making of. For lovers of Scandinavian crime fare, the box is despite some small lengths overall: Absolutely recommendable!
Source: Sebastian Betzold, Summary: ZDF