Series Review

Review | Frikjent – Season 1

As the lucky girl I am, I won the Norwegian tv-series Frikjent on Blu-ray! So first of all a big thanks to Paul from the Dutch website ‘Filmliefhebber’. The reason I participated in this competition to win Frikjent – which has Acquitted as the English title – was because I’m really into these Scandinavian detective series. It’s also nice I could watch it with my parents as well.

The eighteen-year-old Aksel Borgen was 20 years ago accused of killing his girlfriend, Karina Hansteen. After spending a year in jail, he was acquitted because of another girl’s (Tonje) statement. Nevertheless, lots of people didn’t believe in his innocent. Done with all the suspicious glances and false accusations, Aksel flees from his hometown in Norway to start over in Malaysia. Now as an adult, Aksel is a married father and succesful businessman. When someone from his hometown contacts him and tells him about the upcoming bankruptcy of an important local firm, Aksel decides to save this company and returns home.

Frikjent akselIn this Norwegian tv-series, where the amazing Norwegian landscape plays a huge part, a lot of Scandinavian actors play a part as well. The most familiar one – in fact the only person I know – is the actress Lena Endre. Endre played a part in the succesful film adaptation of The Millenium trilogy, whereof the books were written by Stieg Larsson. Not to be mistaken by the films where Daniel Craig played the lead role. In this ten episode long series, Endre plays the very strong character Eva Hansteen and also gave the best performance. Eva is the mother of Karina and still believes main character Aksel is the guilty one. Eva is also the manager of the firm in need, so she is not happy when she finds out Aksel is the one to save their comany. Aksel is played by Nicolai Cleve Broch and it took some episodes for me to believe him. He wasn’t that convincing in the beginning, partly because he is a man with little words. That counts for a lot of characters, so maybe that’s a Norwegian thing. Another very important character is William Hansteen, played by Ingar Helge Gimle. He’s the on who contacts Aksel for his help and Eva’s husband and father of their murdered daughter Karina. However, where Eva wants to find justice for Karina, William is more laid back and tries to let the past be the past.

With all the different characters and the course of the story you keep guessing who’s the guilty one. With the arrival of Aksel he unintentionally set things in motion. Everyone in his hometown has their own idea about that fatal night. Eva wants Aksel gone and nowhere near her company, Highschool girlfriend Tonje (Synnøve Macody Lund) wants Aksel back, some just want to see the firm healthy and others still see Aksel as a murderer. Because of the many different characters and the course of the story, the second part of the series is quite intense. Because who’s the real killer? You never know for sure and at some point I was even doubting Aksel himself, but wouldn’t that be an anti-climax? Two characters who have nothing to do with Aksel’s past are his wife Angie (Elaine Tan) and son Tim (Mathias Romano). Both didn’t add much value to the story, the writers should have used the fact that Angie is a lawyer. What bothered me, was the fact that neither Aksel or Angie seemed to pay attention to their son. He was like doing his thing and nobody even cares. Except his uncle Erik, who helps him out a few times.

Frikjent eva and williamLike I mentioned before, Frikjent consists of ten episodes whereof the first half is more about the business. When the course of the story changes to finding the one who killed Karina, and Aksel goes on his own investigation, the series becomes more interesting. This is also the moment when you can’t stop watching. More than one person seems to be a suspect for the viewers. There were many persons who were jealous of Karina, so who knows right? The second part of the show is not only more interesting because of this, also the characters show more of themselves. We get to know more about the individual characters and the link between them and the girl who got killed. We learn more about the Hansteen family and how the murder on Karina has changed this whole family. From the looks of it, son Lars Hansteen (Henrik Rafaelsen) seems to have some issues. To give the viewers something more than just this murder, Lars’ wife Inger has a hotel to run. But who cares about that hotel? We just want to know who killed that girl 20 years ago! However, I did like Inger’s part in the storyline where she is less focussed on her families past. But we also learn more about Aksel and his childhood. His brother Erik (Tobias Santelmann) provides us with some interesting information. Even Aksel doesn’t know what to think of it. Erik is a very interesting character since he’s the key to everything, he’s also more than meets the eye. How he has taken care of himself and his mother the past 20 years and how he helped Aksel and still does.

Frikjent is definitely a nice show to watch. The place where everything is happening is really gorgeous, it’s good promotion for Norway. The start was quite slow and not really convincing, but the second part was amazing! Every character is getting more explored and the list of suspects is changing each episode. It’s also a show with not many monologues and is more focused on facial expression, that might be a thing you have to get used to. The actress who gave the best performance was Lena Endre and I felt quite sad for her when she knows who killed her daughter. The ending felt somewhat unfinished. Yes wé did find out who killed Karina, but during these ten episodes so much happened with a lot of characters. What will Eva’s life look like know she finally has her answer? What will Aksel do? Stay in his hometown or go back to Malaysia to his wife? What about Aksel and Erik’s mother? And how will the town react when they also find out who was carrying a secret for the past 20 years? Too many questions and no answers since there’s only one season, but a good one. And it’s good to know that this ending might mean a fresh start for some!


11 thoughts on “Review | Frikjent – Season 1

  1. As a fellow traveler in what is now known as “Nordic Noir” I am definitely looking forward to Frikjent on Blu-ray. Any idea when it may become available to us mortals?

      1. I was thinking the same thing… it says Helena (sic) throughout the first paragraphs, and then is only changed to Karina (sic) in the last paragraph!

      2. To clarify. The girl who got murdered 20 yrs ago is Karina, the daughter of Eva and William. Helena is their granddaughter.. I;ve corrected it now! Thanks!

  2. I’ve only had the time to watch this series now (with english subs), and like you, it bothers me that Aksel and Angie pay little, if any, attention to their son. What also perplexes me is that when Aksel and Angie are in a scene, they always speak english. When Aksel and Tim are in a scene, they speak Norvegian! What gives? Tim grew up in Malaysia, speaks english with his mom and another language with his dad? Am I missing something here?

    Other than that minor annoyance, I am enjoying this series and can’t wait to get to the end.

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