Review: Wallander (Episode 5 – The Man Who Smiled – BBC)


Opening with a near monochrome landscape – an old man is driving through desolate terrain. He stops at what appears to be a hooded figure on a deserted road.

Next it cuts to Wallander who is living alone in a B&B on the coast. Addicted to prescription drugs, he’s struggling to come to terms with the man he killed last time. He’s left the police and cut himself off from his old life.

He then has a visitor who comes out to him on the beach. It appears to be an old friend, asking for help. His father was murdered (the old guy driving up the mountain). Wallander says no, he’s not ready; he can’t help.

At last Wallander returns to Ystad, making his way to the police station. Confused and awkward, the commander spots him. They chat and he learns that the guy coming to seek help from him is now dead, like his father. Wallander decides it’s time to return to policing.

This is a slow episode, plot-wise. It’s much more focused on Wallander and his deterioration than it is on the murders. Wallander visits his father who is now in a care home. His daughter Linda is also there. He hasn’t seen his family for a long time (we don’t know how long). The dysfunctional relationship he has with his family is brought into sharp relief.

The plot line then gets back on track. It transpires that it’s about the illicit sale of body parts. Plot-wise this isn’t a strong episode but that doesn’t detract from the drama itself which is very good and I’m still thoroughly enjoying it.

Overview of Wallander on the BBC

4 thoughts on “Review: Wallander (Episode 5 – The Man Who Smiled – BBC)

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  1. Ummm, I like the Swedish version a lot more than this as well. I love the books and Kenny B just doesn’t cut it as Wallander for me, don’t like Sarah Smart as Ann-Britt either. Though I agree that it’s well produced.

  2. Colleen – yes I guess he is a bit shouty. I like the Swedish (original) guy also. Not sure I’d say I like him more though. Yes, Nyberg is good.

    Rattling on – oh I definitely agree with you re: Ann-Britt. The Swedish AB is much better than the one in the BBC version who just looks miscast. I’ve seen about half the Swedish ones broadcast on BBC4 so far. Have quite a few more to watch. I prefer Linda (and her policeman bf) much more in the Swedish version. I guess I just find the BBC version more stylised which really floats my boat (cinematography, soundtrack). Not necessarily better overall though.

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