TV review: The Lawyer, Channel 4
- Brian Donaldson
- 22 June 2019
New Scandi crime show from The Bridge creator is enjoyable but atypically non-addictive
A good Eurocrime drama almost always opens with a devastating suckerpunch to the senses. So The Bridge had the discovery of a body cut in half across the Swedish / Danish border while Midnight Sun kicked off with a man waking to discover he is strapped to the rotor blades of a helicopter that's about to take off. The Lawyer (The Bridge creator Hans Rosenfeldt's next show) delivers a similarly jaw-dropping first scene but sadly doesn't quite have the character pull or writing tension of Scandi noir's finest (has that golden age finally passed?) to build real momentum.
Now grown-ups after a traumatic criminal incident in their childhood which was never solved, cop Sara (Malin Buska) and her brother lawyer Frank (Alexander Karim) have chosen different psychological paths regards their past: Sara simply can't let go and has been on a perpetual search for the truth ever since (losing her husband and son along the way due to the strain) while Frank blocks off the memory and lets out his internalised rage in the local kickboxing ring while building a career as a promising young lawyer. But when Sara finally produces enough game-changing evidence to turn his head, Frank concocts a convoluted and highly risky plan to get close to the gangsters responsible for ruining their lives.
It's a decent enough set-up, but even after a couple of episodes, it seems clear that making this a ten-parter has already stretched the plot far too thinly while visual metaphors are laid on way too thickly: in the ring Frank is left 'on the canvas' or 'against the ropes' and also has trouble washing blood off after his strategy appears to be destroying more innocent lives.
Arguably the most fun you'll have while watching The Lawyer is to bear in mind that old unfair adage that Scandinavia appears to have a maximum of 25 TV actors, as you reel off recognisable faces from The Bridge, The Killing and Follow the Money.
Episodes watched: 1–3 of 10
The Lawyer starts on Channel 4, Sun 23 Jun, 11pm. All episodes available on All 4 at midnight.