The BBC version of Wallander with Kenneth Branagh was a pleasant viewing experience but did not really grab my interest. It was a long time since I had read the Henning Mankell books and Kenneth Branagh was not the Kurt Wallander I had in my head and I found it difficult to identify with him. The BBC production seemed to be all about beautiful settings and the brilliant acting of Kenneth Branagh and just seemed too glossy for me.
The four Swedish Wallander episodes I have watched have been of variable quality, although all are based on plot outlines written by Henning Mankell and scripted by others.
Episode Three, The Brothers, was in my opinion the best so far with excellent acting demonstrating the relationships both personal and professional between the Ystad police team.
This episode features some horrific murders, but also a little low key Scandinavian humour from Kurt in his relationships with his boss Lisa Holgersson, and his colleague Ann-Britt Hoglund. I may be in a minority but I find Krister Henriksson to be more very much like the Wallander I imagined from the books. The smouldering sexual attraction between Linda Wallander and Stefan Lindman catches fire and their subsequent strained relationship is covered with some insight. These characters play a much bigger part in this series than in the BBC production, and are well acted by Johanna Sallstrom and Ola Rapace. Ola Rapace is the husband of Noomi Rapace who plays the part of Lisbeth Salander in the Stieg Larsson Millennium film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
It is a bittersweet and sad experience watching this series, and knowing that the brilliant young actress Johanna Sallstrom took her own life in 2007. She was a shining star in Mankell's Wallander and the series is well worth watching.