Blue Eyes

May 27, 2016

The biggest problem for most political dramas is that they are so totally divorced from the world their characters serve. That’s not the case for Blue Eye’s, the grimy, gripping Swedish thriller that looks at the rise of the far-right Trygghetspartiet- or Security Party, in a country world famous for its inclusivity.

Annika Nilsson (Anna Bjelkerud) is a grandmother and care worker, who doesn’t think twice about putting herself between her children and danger. She cares for her kids and they care for her.

Which makes the fact that she is a candidate for Trygghetspartiet all the more difficult for them to accept. The person their friends and colleagues condemn as a racist, is the same person who stands up to their abuser, who tries to make amends with the offer of a take-away, and whose torn up with guilt over the fact that because she is so overstretched in work she doesn’t feel like she is helping the elderly she cares for at all.

She’s determined to make a change, no matter how many people boo her, egg her or leave faeces at her door, and the tensions this cause her at home are delicately presented. She’s no monster churning out bile. She is an honest, thoughtful person who just happens to have bought into an ideology that is hugely suspect.

Her experience is paralleled in the first episode with Elin Hammar (Louise Peterhoff) a former chief of staff for the Minister for Justice. She’d been fired for assaulting a journalist, but is returned to her position when her replacement appears to be bumped off in the opening moments of the episode.

Why was this predecessor’s car abandoned in the middle of the woods? Where has it disappeared to now? And who stole the mobile from her office when the power went out as Elin worked in the building alone?

As she probes this conspiracy, her boss confesses his fear that he is not long for this political world, a fact seemingly confirmed by the Prime Minister’s sleazy man Friday, setting up a number of more conventional arcs for the season. But-by the looks of this first episode, it is at least partially concerned with the reasons people are drawn to particular political ideologies and how their real fears and concerns are manipulated by party politics.

The ending pivots into more traditional Scandi crime drama territory, so it remains to be seen if Blue Eyes continues to probe how every day people are affected by, and affect, the political agenda.

But this opening chapter deserves high praise for its lack of judgment and measured approach to people who can all to easily be dismissed as risible.


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