As one of the biggest culprits in this century’s wave of Nordic TV noir, I was really looking forward to seeing the new from Søren Sveistrup. The creator of the original ‘The Killing’ returns to cold and intense investigations with ‘The Hartung case’ (‘Kastanjemanden’), Netflix’s new crime drama.
Based on Sveistrup’s novel of the same name, the miniseries followed a strange case that begins with the appearance of a severed young woman. The killer’s signature appears to be a doll made from chestnuts. Stunned, they see how that chestnut man has the daughter’s fingerprints, disappeared years ago, of a policy.
As I said at the beginning of this text, I really wanted to see this proposal. And in general it does not disappoint: we are facing an intense thriller with all the hallmarks of Nordic noir, including political subplots and its characteristic treatment of the (broken) characters that swarm in this Danish plot.
A broth of functional ingredients
But just as we recognize those elements, so do the too common terrain where it gets into, giving the feeling that the series gets stuck in a sea of generic ingredientsIt’s for the sole purpose of getting through the job of putting out six episodes.
Sveistrup and company try that, since they are using hackneyed resources – which includes a trope like the one that is the last case of the inspector – to try to get it right. He is a good writer and it shows, but at the moment of truth the result is irregular.
This also carries over to the presentation and the game played with the chestnut man: the dolls, that sinister “song”, those symbols that are used are somewhat obvious and repetitive. We could even talk that they are counterproductive when inviting us to see more.
And we will see more. Because even as frustrating as it can be, ‘The Hartung case’ hooks like the effective crime thriller that it is. Of course, surely if we did not have all the episodes available, another rooster would have crowed.
In short, the greatest sin that ‘The Hartung case’ has it’s his lack of personality. She is very well dressed, at the production and cast level she is very well done, but she fails by not working better with the elements of Nordic noir, remaining in a correct, effective, but generic fiction.