Starring: Cecilie Stenspil, Soren Vejby, Andre Babikian, Thomas W. Gabrielsson,
Running Time: 580 Minutes
THE PROTECTORS is one of those Nordic thrillers that companies are desperate to unearth after the success of English language remakes of WALLANDER and THE KILLING. Luckily there’s an entire label, Nordic Noir, devoted to this cause, which emphasises the quality coming out of countries including Sweden and Denmark. But after some of the classiest TV in memory you could be forgiven for thinking they’ve begun to scrape the bottom of the creative barrel? They haven’t, not in the slightest.
THE PROTECTORS follows elite officers in the Danish national police force in charge of protection. In other words, these are your most skilled bodyguards. The focus is primarily on three new recruits and how they fit into the dangerous world of protection, but the show also expands its vision to encompass the more experienced officers.
Each main story arc runs over the course of 2 episodes, with the first leaving us on an intense cliff-hanger which is resolved in part 2. This creates a world where crimes are never wrapped up in a conveniently paced 40 minute episode, but instead gives us a chance to get involved with not only our stars, but the guest stars under the protection of THE PROTECTORS. Such a technique is necessary when the show wishes to successfully mix tense action sequences, emotional drama, and social commentary. Cases tend to address the likes of Muslim extremists and terrorism, climate change and corrupt politicians, and stalking, which according to the show there was no law against in 2009 in Denmark.
THE PROTECTORS could have easily followed similar American shows, but instead handles each case with sensitive realism. When dealing with terrorism we don’t see the gung-ho questionable heroics of Jack Bauer, but are instead treated to quietly nerve-wracking sequences such as a woman trying to take a picture stealthily. The writing on each episode is concise feeling that every story blossoms organically, rather than being concerned with audience entertainment.
In terms of characters, we have a lovable bunch of focused professionals that have complex personal lives, but don’t allow them to interfere with the job at hand. Any personal problems are discussed during downtime, and offer the perfect punctuation to the nail-biting tension on offer.
This is a show that doesn’t break new ground, but it covers what it does in an expertly confident way. With characters you’ll love and situations to invest oneself in, THE PROTECTORS is an easy 10 hours to become embroiled in. See it now before the English language remake, that way you can be all snobbish and cool about it.