reading + entertainment banner

Foreign Series

Share

If you're a fan of the best mystery series from Britain and the U.S. you'll enjoy some of these series from Europe. All of these are shown in the language of origin with English subtitles.

Caïn.

In this darkly comic French crime series wheelchair-bound police captain Fred Caïn is quicker and more mobile than most able-bodied people. In his investigations, he spins circles around suspects and digs deep inside the darkest hidden corners of the human mind. A motorcycle accident caused by speeding and his own use of narcotics has left him unable to walk, but clear-eyed about criminality and motive. In French with subtitles.

Blue eyes

Taut, contemporary thriller from Sweden set in the run-up to a general election as, behind the political scenes, a series of terror attacks are planned to send shock waves through the nation.

Inspector Winter

Magnus Krepper stars as Inspector Erik Winter in this Scandi-noir series based on author Åke Edwardson's bestselling novels about the dedicated, yet tormented Gothenburg police detective. In Swedish with subtitles.

The bureau.

Mathieu Kassovitz plays Malotru, a French spy who’s brought in from the cold after serving six years undercover in Damascus. We see his adjustment to life in the office, handling agents the way he used to be handled, and to life back in Paris, where he’s reunited with his understandably wary daughter. In French with subtitles

Deutschland 83

Set against the real events, culture wars and political realities of Germany in the 1980s, this 8-part drama series is a stylish coming-of-age story, framed within a suspenseful Cold War thriller. In German with subtitles.

Department Q trilogy

Based on Jussi Adler-Olsen’s bestsellers, the Department Q series introduces maverick detective Carl Mørck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) who, after majorly botching an assignment, is relegated to reviewing cold cases. With his new partner Assad (Fares Fares) and secretary Rose (Johanne Louise Schmidt) the moody Mørck digs into shocking unsolved mysteries including the kidnapping of a high-ranking government official, a brutal prep school murder and a bloody message from two children presumed dead. In Danish with subtitles.

The heavy water war

A six-part Norwegian/British thriller that depicts the events leading up to the bold plan executed by Norwegian and British intelligence in 1943 to blow up the heavy water factory in Norway, which was crucial to the Nazi’s atomic weapon development. This war story is told from three perspectives: Nobel physicist Werner Heisenberg’s work for the Nazis in Berlin, the Norwegian and British Allies plotting to sabotage the factory and the factory owners themselves. In Norwegian, English and German with subtitles.

The Inspector and the sea.

The medieval town of Visby, Sweden, looks like a picture of innocence but behind the facades of its brightly colored houses lurk evildoers of all stripes. German inspector Robert Anders has relocated to Gotland so he can be with his Swedish wife, but finds this idyllic island suffers from a surprising number of murders and other violent crimes. In German with subtitles.

The legacy

Another utterly addictive Danish drama, The Legacy is a claustrophobically intense tale of a family torn apart by a disputed inheritance. Veronika Grønnegaard is an eccentric, internationally feted artist and eternal hippy chick. Dying of cancer, she leaves behind an elegantly dilapidated, 1802-built rural pile. Her death triggers a 10-episode knockout tournament of sibling rivalry. In Danish with subtitles.

Look of a killer

Viktor Kärppä is a former Russian special agent haunted by his past. He settles in Finland, the country of his ancestors, and tries to make a living as both a private investigator and business facilitator for Russian migrants, but finds himself continually involved with organized crime. In Finnish with subtitles.

Salamander

A raid on a safety-deposit box in the vaults of a dodgy private Brussels bank opens a can of worms involving members of the Belgian establishment in this gripping 12-part conspiracy thriller starring Filip Peeters as maverick chief inspector Paul Gerardi. Flemish with subtitles.

Prisoners of war.

After 17 years in captivity, three Israeli soldiers are finally returned to their families - one of them in a coffin. The first season of this award-winning and controversial series follows the former captives and their families as they try to reconnect with each other. Hebrew with subtitles.

Unit One.

First broadcast in 2000, Unit One is based around an elite mobile police task force that travels around Denmark helping local forces solve a smörgåsbord of typically noir-tinged crime. The show's alumni are a who's-who of Nordic talent, as writers, directors and actors from The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen are all to be found in the credits. Benedikte Hansen, who plays a journalist with alcohol problems in Borgen, has a returning guest role and Mads Mikkelsen delivers a classic turn as the hard-boiled chief cop. In Danish with subtitles.

The Bridge.

The latest gripping drama to emerge from Scandinavia is named after the Øresund Bridge that links Copenhagen in Denmark to Malmö in Sweden. The atmospheric first episode opens with the discovery of a corpse slap bang at its midpoint. The body's top half lies just inside Swedish territory, belongs to a prominent Malmö city councillor. The leggy end, stretching on to the Danish side of the border, belongs to a Copenhagen prostitute who had gone missing over a year before. Who deposited the bodies, and why, are the questions that will keep you glued to this series over the next 10 episodes. In Danish and Swedish with subtitles.

Detective De Luca

Between 1938 and 1948, from the height of Italy's Fascist regime to the end of the tumultuous post-war period, Chief Detective De Luca investigates and solves crimes in the City of Bologna and along the Adriatic coast. In Italian with subtitles.

The Returned

A small community in the French Alps is thrown into shock and confusion when loved ones who have been dead for years inexplicably return to their homes. With no awareness of their own deaths, the returned attempt to reintegrate with their families and past lovers. But they aren't the only ones back from the dead. Their arrival coincides with a series of gruesome murders that resembles the work of a serial killer from the past. In French with subtitles.

The Young Montalbano.

A series of six Montalbano prequels, based on the short stories of Andrea Camilleri. Before Inspector Salvo Montalbano became the seasoned and mature chief detective we already know, he was just Salvo, new to Vigata and new to being a police chief. In Italian with subtitles.

Spiral.

The body of a young Romanian woman is discovered in a Parisian dumpster. Her identity and past life are gradually uncovered as the various parts of the French Justice System investigate her death. However, it becomes apparent that her story is tied to a network of corruption touching the very people charged with uncovering the truth about her. A darker, twist-ier, French-ier version of "The Wire". In French with subtitles.

Borgen.

Birgitte Nyborg becomes Denmark's first female Prime Minister through a political fluke and has to quickly learn the ways of coalition governments, the press while balancing her family life. In Danish with subtitles.

Varg Veum.

Based on the Nordic noir novels by Gunnar Staalesen, private investigator Varg Veum is a lone wolf- a man who goes where the police won't and who knows how to get results. Behind his rough exterior and sharp wit hides a warm-hearted person with a highly developed social conscience. In Norwegian with subtitles.

Beck.

He’s got no style, he’s got no flash and he’s middle aged. But Swedish detective Martin Beck is good at one thing: methodically catching criminals so that they can be put away… for a long time. His tightly-wound partner, Gunvald, is his opposite: an impulsive man who cuts a dashing figure, is in no way politically correct and who never met a boundary he didn’t leap across. It’s classic good cop/bad cop, and together with their team they bring down dangerous criminals lurking in the seedy Stockholm underworld. Swedish with subtitles.

Maigret.

Bruno Cremer brings the beloved Inspector Maigret to life in this series of adaptations of Georges Simenon's bestselling crime novels. Sporting a pipe that brings to mind Sherlock Holmes, the pragmatic and reserved Maigret investigates murders in his singularly unhurried manner against a backdrop of 1950s Paris. In French with English subtitles.

Maria Wern.

After the death of her husband, police inspector Maria Wern moves to the picturesque Swedish island Gotland with her two children to start over. Swedish with subtitles.

Wallander

The original Wallander series, based on the novels by Henning Mankell. In Swedish with subtitles.

Irene Huss.

Based on the novels by Helene Tursten, Irene Huss is a former Ju-Jitsu champion, a mother of twin teenage girls, the wife of a successful chef, and a Detective Inspector with the Violent Crimes Unit in Goteborg, Sweden. In Swedish with subtitles.