Henning Mankell Update: PBS’s Wallander

PBS Mystery Series: Wallander


The new series coming to PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery Series is one that I was initially skeptical about: the work of a Swedish mystery writer (Henning Makell) being filmed in English, in Sweden, starring British actor Kenneth Branagh. As strange a concoction as this might seem—at least to people who have read any of the Kurt Wallander books—it must be said that it’s also a strategic move on the part of PBS. There are no Swedish actors who have big enough names to attract a real American (or English) audience to this program, so from a commercial standpoint, it is best to go for a well-established actor like Branagh. Also, if the dialogue were in Swedish, well, then it would have to be subtitled, most people who watch T.V aren’t used to that, it might cost a lot of money… So I’ve decided, due to these purely practical considerations, that I have no qualm with this particular miniseries. After all, Branagh is a great actor and as long as the spirit of Mankell’s books are retained, then the miniseries should work out well.

I wrote a separate blog post about Henning Mankell’s book Firewall, which is an immensely entertaining read, last fall. That book and his children’s story Secrets in the Fire are both available in the Snell fiction stacks. It seems that the PBS miniseries will be lumping a few Wallander books together in one series, and whether Firewall will be one of them or not, I do not know. But it should be interesting regardless