As tv shows go I'm easily pleased. Give me a Nordic Noir style crime show and I'm glued. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, they tend to be better crafted crime shows than the normal stuff churned out over 22 episodes. Secondly, I have to read the subtitles so it forces me to put my phone down! So imagine how happy I was when The Valhalla Murders made its way into my Netflix stream.
Filmed in Iceland, The Valhalla Murders initially follows a Reykjavik based homicide detective called Kata (Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir). Anticipating a promotion, all is going well until she is passed over in favour of somebody who plays the political game a bit better. To add insult to injury, as she is in the middle of investigating two connected murders, the powers that be decide to bring in an external investigator to help. That is Arnar Böðvarsson, an Icelandic expatriate living in Oslo, Norway.
But it soon becomes clear that they need the help as a third person is murdered. The connection is made that all three victims worked in a remote boys home known as Valhalla, 30 years earlier. All the police have to connect them is a photograph sent to each victim in the weeks leading up to their death.
As the police dig further the truth about the brutal conditions the boys faced come to the surface. Physical, mental, and sexual abuse was rife in the home and now somebody is out to get revenge.
Over eight episodes the story unfolds, bringing in elements of the detective's private lives that threaten to derail the investigation. The subplots, while not necessarily connected to the case, add more layers to the intriguing story. As each layer is peeled back the conspiracy of Valhalla goes deeper and higher up the political food chain, keeping you hooked.
The Valhalla Murders is really, really good but it's not perfect. One aspect of these types of crime shows is that they are almost permanently set in the dark. I mean that literally. People live in houses and barely turn the lights on. That may make for heightened tension but it does get annoying. But if you can get past that, which you probably will, then you should really enjoy the show. Much like others in the genre such as Bordertown, Trapped or Deadwind, this is well worth watching.