Kurt Wallander, the famous Swedish police detective created by Henning Mankell, is being revived. The Kurt Wallander novels were written in the 90s and all set in the little town of Ystad. Later the books were adapted for TV and the character Kurt Wallander has been played by Rolf Lassgård, Krister Henriksson and even the English actor Kenneth Branagh. Young Wallander tells the story of Kurt Wallander’s first case and we meet him as a young man, fresh from the police academy. He is played by the Swedish rising star Adam Pålsson, surrounded by a mixture of English and Swedish actors and with a dialogue in English.
However, devoted fans of the middle-aged melancholy policeman, have to come to terms with some contradictions. The timeframe: Young Wallander is said to be a prequel telling the story of Wallander´s first years as a policeman, BUT it is set in present day. The setting: Kurt Wallander is strongly associated with the little town of Ystad, where he lived and worked, BUT the young Wallander lives and works in suburban Malmö.
Apart from this Young Wallander is a compelling story about how an ambitious, naive young cop with a strong sense of right and wrong becomes the cynical, short-tempered loner we already know. His first case brings him into contact with gang warfare, race-violence, illegal arms dealers and social problems, things that undoubtedly may change a man. Still, the story is a sensitive reimagining and we get flashes of his detective brilliance and devotion as well. Apart from time and setting this new TV series stays true to the character Kurt Wallander.
With a story set in present day Sweden, the timing couldn´t be better, because lately the real Malmö has been ravaged by nightly riots. The newspapers are reporting about an increasingly violent environment, much like the one young Kurt has to face. And in both reality and fiction the troubled district of Rosengård is a place partly ruled by drug dealers and gang violence, social problems and racial tensions.
When we meet young Wallander , he’s living a solitary life in a small apartment and working undercover in an immigrant community when a heinous crime occurs. But what begins as a case rooted in a hate crime turns into something else when connections are discovered to an arms dealer…
The original Wallander novels as well as the previous television adaptations often focused on the themes of immigration and racism. Henning Mankell intended the Wallander series as an investigation into the deterioration of the often celebrated Swedish welfare state and to bring its problems to the surface. In that sense Young Wallander continues in the same spirit.