Sometimes a TV drama comes out from nowhere and turns into an obsession. This was certainly cased with Icelandic crime drama Trapped. The 10-part mystery was already a hit in its native land and its no surprise really.
BBC Four has long been the home of unmissable foreign crime gems but I probably would’ve missed Trapped altogether as it aired at a time that saw us already awash with great homegrown drama. Happy Valley and Line of Duty have already spoiled us, but when I decided to preview the first episode of Trapped I was utterly blown away. I was hooked in immediately and it was such pleasant surprise.
This wonderfully atmospheric and often claustrophobic drama centres around Police Chief Andri. Andri is a pretty unremarkable man, his wife has left him and he’s down on his luck. He’s respected by his colleagues but he’s also painted as the outsider having not been in the town too long after leaving his post in Reykjavik under a cloud.
Andri’s status as an outsider gives him a different perspective on the events that occurred in the town prior to his arrival allowing him to be as impartial as he possibly could. Just like Catherine in Happy Valley, Andri was a completely sympathetic character throughout and you felt for him when his ex-wife waltzed back into town to take his daughters away from him.
His peace is shattered with the discovery of a dismembered body in a remote town in Eastern Iceland at the same time as a ferry had docked into its port. Believing the killer to potentially be one of the people on the ferry, Police Chief Andri makes sure the ferry is docked in the town and that all of the passengers stay put. However, as a winter storm hits the town everyone is suddenly trapped (see what they did there?) and unable to leave the town. As the storm intensifies I felt so cold I wanted to wrap myself in a blanket. The image of this small town shrouded in secrets was presented with a cloud over it throughout giving it an eerie aspect similar to that of Twin Peaks. Further praise must be heaped on Oscar-nominated composer Jóhann Jóhannsson for his fantastically jarring score and theme tune both of which enhanced the mood of the piece.
The fact that all these elements are wrapped around an intriguing mystery which is up there with the best in the genre makes Trapped already one of the best of 2016.
We live in an age where commissioners will bring back anything that brings in the viewers and as this was such a hit in its native Iceland and critically praised here, we’re already wondering now if Andri and his team could return for a second series at some point.
TRAPPED is released on DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 11th April through Arrow Films and Nordic Noir & Beyond