The True Crime Television Series: “Investigation” – Exposing the Crime | Instant News


By Peg Aloi

Investigation is a slow thriller that blends the gravity of a documentary with the darkness of a complex murder mystery.

Søren Malling as police chief Jens Møller Jensen. Photo: Henrik Ohsten.

Perhaps you are aware of the death of Swedish journalist Kim Wall as I did, on social media in August 2017. The Wall disappeared shortly after interviewing Danish inventor Peter Madsen aboard the submarine he built. Initially it was announced that he had disappeared. I learned about a story that unfolded on Twitter, where freelance writers share terrifying circumstances, tweet after tweet. Much was made about Wall’s freelance status and he didn’t have the resources to bring in a crew or at least a cameraman for an interview. New facts appear almost every day, every new detail brings more fear and horror.

The case has also sparked rumors and speculation, including the appearance of witnesses who claimed to have seen Wall with his killer at a bar in Copenhagen. There were rumors that they were involved in sexual relations. Wall’s boyfriend reports he’s missing; Madsen claims that he put it down safely. But he never got home. When news of the alleged fraud began to spread, the inventor sank the submarine. Police rushed to lift the submarine to look for evidence. Madsen announced that Wall had an accident and he “buried him in the sea.” As time passed, more gruesome and shocking evidence was found. Madsen continues to change his story; he was eventually indicted and convicted of murder.

Despite widespread awareness of the outcome of this infamous case, most of the public knows very little about how the police gathered enough evidence to prove Madsen’s guilt. Investigation, led by writer-director Tobias Lindholm (Hunt, A Piracy), is a slow thriller that blends the gravity of a documentary with the darkness of a complex murder mystery. Revealed in six episodes, the HBO series Max chronicles the inner story of a police investigation, led by Copenhagen police chief Jens Møller. (Søren Malling, also seen in the popular Danish series Murder, which was remade for American television.)

Jens begins investigating the Wall’s disappearance just as another case ends, resulting in failure to convict a known killer. Towards the end of his career, the police chief was determined to solve crimes and seek justice so that the investigation became so obsessed with him that his family’s life was being lost. In particular, Jens withdrew from his adult daughter, who always thought her father was too busy with his work. On Jens’ day off, he goes duck hunting and ponders the case. His assistant Maibritt (Laura Christensen) is also very interested: he spends a long night researching the evidence, which creates an important respite in the case. The other officers on the team respected Jens’ dedication and complied with his insistence; he encourages a team of police divers, exhausted by weeks of searching, to continue searching for Wall’s body, vital evidence that will guarantee the murderer’s conviction.

Perhaps the most attractive of artistic arrogance Investigation was the decision not to play Kim Wall or Peter Madsen in the story. And to refrain from dramatizing crime or its consequences. Despite this neglect. there is no shortage of drama, horror, or suspense. Each episode ends with a very belittled moment of discovery that advances the investigation. Police and forensic team work has been described as pragmatic but driven by passion. Jens’ determination to get justice for the Wall inspires his team as the days go by with frustration and procrastination.

Viewers can experience Wall’s life from his parents, Ingrid and Joachim Wall, played by veteran Swedish actor Pernilla August (Britt-Marie is here) and Rolf Lassgård (A Man Called Ove). Their grief was restrained but intense; Ingrid secretly asks Jens to find her daughter, while Joachim, a former diver, offers to help the police chief arrange assistance from expert divers. In one of InvestigationIn the most interesting order, one of the divers arranged to borrow a body tracking dog from Sweden to help locate the woman’s body. As time went on – and belief seemed less and less likely – Wall’s parents became resigned, choosing to honor their daughter’s existence in a positive way. A scene in which they depict their work on nuclear waste pollution in the Marshall Islands looks both depressing and saving. We felt how much he had lost because of his death, but also how full and vibrant his life was. Surprisingly, the woman’s humanity was powerfully conveyed through sadness and memories of her parents and the endeavors of the police and lawyers. Investigation reminds us that our legacy lives on in the memories of those who value, love and respect us. And it’s also a chilling memorial tale that highlights what it means to work and live as a woman in a world, vulnerable to violence at the hands of men.


Peg Aloi is a former film critic for Boston Phoenix and a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics. He taught film studies in Boston for more than a decade. He writes on film, TV, and culture for web publications such as Vice, Polygon, Bustle, Microphone, Orlando Weekly, Crooked Tent, and Bloody Disgusting. His blog “The Witching Hour” can be found at themediawitch.com.



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