February 26, 2016

Against another unusual backdrop- this time an Icelandic port besieged by a blizzard, a murder mystery unravels. A limbless and headless torso has been pulled from the sea by some local fishermen, at the exact moment an ocean liner, a snowstorm and the ex-wife of our hero, Andri, the chief of police, descend on Seyðisfjörður.

There’s the ship’s captain (played by the dad from The Killing) unwilling to let Andri and his team search the vessel without a court order; some antsy human traffickers and a prodigal bad apple who the early episodes set up as red herrings; and then there are the big city detectives snowed out of the town-and freaked out of their minds that Andri will stumble upon something before they have a chance to cover it up.

The race is on to find the killer before the snowfall stops, recedes and a path is cleared for them to make a get away, now that they may be out amongst the general population since the aforementioned captain opened the doors of the liner, spilling disgruntled passengers out into the streets.

As the elements close in, visibility lessens and no clues are forthcoming, it’s the hopelessness of the situation facing Andri that petrol bombs the tension, who must alternately face the rising panic of the townsfolk, and his own rising rage and repression at his ex wife. Having arrived back with a new lover, she proceeds to cock her leg over the children she had abandoned.

Opening with cunnilingus and a lethal warehouse fire, and ending with a high-speed chase across the ice, the first episode on Trapped is light on characterisation, but good on an asphyxiating sense of dread, with lots of nice touches.

Andri’s daughters terrified bed time banter as they wonder what’s out there in the snow. The flashes of small-town life as news spreads of the murder. The minor politician -whose plans to lift the economic gloom left by the crash of 2008, are put in peril by emerging events- and by older members of the populous who have personalities leathered by cold, hard memory.

In episode two the torso vanishes, turns up on twitter and everybody starts spying on everybody else- including the worlds media, who look on with bated breath via Skype.

And then, as the storm worsens, the kids disappear into it.

Right now, I can’t quite figure out where Trapped is going, but I’m thoroughly enjoying being enveloped in its claustrophobic fugue. It might not have a particularly original thrust, but it hits the familiar genre tropes with enough conviction to lure you back for more.


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