I’m not a massive telly watcher. I like The Walking Dead (though that cliff-hanger, WUT), and I was enthralled by Walt and Jessie in Breaking Bad (yet to watch the second half of the final season though) but for a series to really capture my attention, it has to be varied and summink special.
A while back, I started watching Forbrydelsen, a Danish crime drama series, in Danish. It was brilliant. Something about the cinematography, the language, the jumpers, and having to read the screen without getting distracted by my phone, kept me hooked.
I tried the American rehash, but there was something missing. I was massively underwhelmed.
So back to the continent I went with Borgen, another Danish drama series all about politics and such. Sounds boring, right? WRONG. Again, it was great watching. Birgitte Hjort Sørensen (who you might have seen leather-clad in Pitch Perfect 2) became a ladycrush.
So when The Tunnel came out, in English, based on Scandi crime drama Broen, I wasn’t massively convinced it would be as good as the original. I can’t even remember why I started watching. Perhaps I was bored one evening and liked the premise. A murder of a French politician takes place in the Channel Tunnel, right on the international border. The English police, led by Karl Roebuck, are happy to leave it to the French team, headed by Elise Wassermann, to solve. When the forensic team try to move the body, it splits in half. The top is the French politician, yes. The bottom? An English prostitute.
The two countries unwillingly work together to capture the killer, known as the Truth Terrorist. It’s brilliant, disturbing and well-written – each episode had me hooked and guessing. Unlike telly from across the pond, there is no plot armour. The main characters are just as likely to get into serious danger as the extras. It’ll leave you screaming at the telly in case you haven’t seen it. Good things happen to bad people, and good people usually are in the way and end up worse off. It’s impossible to guess the ending.
Clémence Poésy is brilliant as the ever-so blunt and chilly lead. Another definite ladycrush.
So when Sky asked if ’d like to preview The Tunnel: Sabotage, I almost threw my phone out the window out of pure excitement. Take a look at the preview:
Days I waited for the coveted DVDs to arrive, and coupled with a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, some delicious macarons and a scone or two (building Anglo-Franco relationships there) we settled in.
The first episode. It’s a whopper, starting with a plane crash and passports being washed up on the shore, and panning over to a newly engaged couple hanging dead from their seats.
A French couple travelling on the Eurotunnel are kidnapped, and their child is left behind, finding herself in Karl Roebuck’s care. Elise Wassermann, who is being trained for her more senior role, heads over. As the couple begin their investigation, we find out there’s been a double crossing when the child’s mother is shot by her husband, and we see how the plane crash happened – hackers taking over the autopilot and forcing the plane into the Channel.
Episode 2 features a Muslim girl heading from London to an interfaith tolerance weekend in France. While things start off rocky (I believe she calls a girl’s cross a ‘torture instrument dangling from [her] neck’ after she spat that the hijab was oppressive) they all start to warm up. However, a terrorist is being directed to the house to make a point – one of each religion must die. It’s harrowing, and a strong start that had me itching for the next episode.
I’m two episodes away from the ending, purely as we’ve had our TV and DVD player in boxes. This weekend I’ll be finishing the series, itching for the next.
If you haven’t seen it, you really must. Watch on Sky Atlantic, online, Tuesdays at 9pm.