NEWS/Telegraph: Mammon, More 4, review
I don't know about you, but since The Bridge ended, I've been going through a long, dark night of the soul. Life without Nordic noir? Seriously? But just when the withdrawal symptoms were becoming acute, along came Vegard Stenberg Eriksen and Gjermund Stenberg Eriksen to take my pain away.
The Norwegian siblings wrote and produced the new six-part Norwegian crime thriller Mammon, which contained all the requisite ingredients of successful Nordic noir but combined them with – joys! – an additional degree of sophistication. The series took Norway by storm when it was broadcast there in January, and has since been snapped up by 20th Century Fox, who have designs upon an American remake. It also elevated the lead actor, Jon Øigarden, to pin-up status in the country. Which was pleasing. Because – if you'll forgive the personal angle – Øigarden was playing a journalist.
For once I didn't mind the fact that the first episode of Mammon was a tad far-fetched. The introduction of a cop-style poster-board of suspects into the editor's office; the unlikely scene in which undercover police marched into a newspaper offices and began to seize equipment (unlikely, that is, unless you work for the Guardian); it all just made journalism seem so cool and exciting.
At the centre of the story were two brothers, Peter (Øigarden) and Daniel Verås (Anders T Andersen), a journalist and a businessman respectively. Daniel Verås had done something dastardly, and Peter Verås, out of his brave commitment to his profession, felt duty-bound to expose the wrongdoing in print.
Now, I'm all for a strong female lead, but this fraternal hi-jinx was a welcome change from what is fast becoming the Scandi crime paradigm: a semi-autistic female crimebusting heroine. This was a crime drama with roots deep within the family. Don't forget, it was made by two brothers. As Vegard Stenberg Eriksen – the producer half of the duo – put it, "we want to know where evil comes from in a family". Not that Mammon was lacking strong femininity. The series was directed by a woman, Cecilie A Mosli, and the fraud squad investigator, Vibeke Haglund, played by the elfin Lena Kristin Ellingsen, was by turns canny, headstrong and vulnerable.
All of this was presented with complexity and pace, meaning that by the end of episode one, there were many questions and few answers. Which is just what you want from your top-quality Scandi crime telly.