Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Fifteen - Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter: The Red Wolf, "Murder begets murder begets sales."

It's been a while since I was in the mood for Annika.

I can't really say it's because I wasn't interested in continuing the series (only two more left after this), it's just that sometimes even I have to want to read subtitles. Coming from a self-confessed subs fan when it comes to anime, I kind of find that revelation hilarious.

Anyways, since we last visited Sweden's most dogged crime reporter, not much has changed. Sure, she's married now to her longtime companion (and father to her children), but we knew that last episode. No, the only difference between the time of Studio Sex and now is yet another murder.

Seems someone has offed a journalist that Annika knew in passing in a town called Lulea in Uppsala. What might have been a case of petty revenge or genuine accident turns into much more when Annika finds a witness... who is subsequently murdered, himself.

Apparently, this all revolves around a left-wing terrorist cell from back in the seventies and its hitman leader who has been abroad the past few decades. It seems like he's rounding up his old cell compatriots, who have all gone on to lead normal lives, and offing them or anyone getting close to them (like the reporter and the teenaged witness). There's a twist to that assumption, of course, but it would be spoilery of me to reveal.

The mystery, itself, unfolds rather simply. There really are no connections until the bodies start piling up, but it's nice to see Annika do all the legwork and operate both on logic and instinct. I especially like the gimmick of the Red Wolf postcard. It's a nice visual that seems to be the only redeeming dramatic feature of the episode's whodunit.

Unfortunately, on the "Annika's personal life" side of things, this episode is more than a bit annoying. We've seen her relationship with her husband go through some tough times, but they've always pulled out in the end... and the better for it. This time, though, an affair is inserted to drive them apart. It's amazing what demanding work schedules and children can do to spoil a marriage.

I just really find it disingenuous that, even if there's a little friction, he hops into bed with the first bimbo to show any interest... especially after Annika helped him review some case for his job where he basically ripped off and repeated exactly what she told him of her analysis. 

It all feels fake and forced, but that doesn't stop me from getting furious with him for cheating... an act that Annika finds out about all too soon. I mean, honestly, if you're going to have an affair, try not to snog your mistress in the open air in the very same area of town where your wife and children could be walking down the street.

Dumbass, moron, villain.

I think that, overall, Annika Bengtzon isn't the greatest of crime dramas. It force feeds you clues as well as drama and never has any real sense of menace when it comes to its murders and murderers. That said, it's still more intelligent and interesting than the grand majority of procedurals (like Numb3rs and BONES, which rely on gimmicks and formulae).

It's worth it, I think... but don't go beating a path to it in your queue.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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