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TV Waffle - TRAPPED

Breakout Icelandic crime series.



Review by Troy Balmayer (@tbthereviewclub)



Trapped has found audiences across the globe, and deservedly so, because its storytelling is so gripping that each and every episode leaves you waiting for more answers. It’s a crime mystery with meaty characters, tense sequences and a stunning look.


From the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 to the BBC this year, Trapped has found audiences across the globe, and deservedly so, because its storytelling is so gripping that each and every episode leaves you waiting for more answers. It’s a crime mystery with meaty characters, tense sequences and a stunning look.

This Icelandic series follows Andri Olafsson (Olafur Darri Olafsson), a chief of police who is now working in Seyoisfjorour as a ferry from Denmark comes in and a body surfaces in the harbour. People from the town and off the boat are under scrutiny as Andri and his two officers try to identify the murderer, but a storm's arrival leaves them all trapped.


It’s a fascinating story, as we initially see a moment from the past in a burning factory to set up the dodgy goings on of the present day townspeople. Every action and character seems to have a link of importance that only makes you feel more drawn in to the wintry landscape of this Icelandic setting. A divorcing man and two usually inactive officers left to fend for themselves as they’re closed off from the aid of Reykjavik is an effective premise as something bigger surfaces and more people could find themselves in danger.

Created by Baltasar Kormakur, this 10 episode series ( which is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Monday 11th April through Arrow Films and Nordic Noir & Beyond) gets the thriller mystery genre spot on. It’s as if questions burn away in every episode, leaving the audience with suspicions of almost every character. People come from the ferry and immediately you start trying to deduce who they are and why they may be behind the murder. It’s a testament to the writing of this series that every character we are introduced to gets enough screen time that we buy into them; even if they’re not viewed as suspects we still see what they contribute to the town and therefore the story.


The series looks absolutely gorgeous, the breathtaking scenery making you want to visit Iceland even if the show makes everything feel deathly cold and foreboding. The opening credits alone lead you into the vision of this story, with swirls of snow blending into extreme close ups of skin; an excellent comparison to the setting and the body found in the first episode that sets off everything else like an avalanche of trouble.

I must applaud this television show for going places I never expected; the darkness of the storm bringing in a nail-biting claustrophobia to proceedings; the voyeurism of one of the characters that we join in on; and then the shocking moment where a helicopter serves as a tragic escape for one pressured character. It’s a series generally where you can’t call things, you just sit back, or actually sit forward on the edge of your seat, waiting for the next big reveal to happen.


Johann Johannsson's score gifts Trapped a truly tense atmosphere. That chilling edge is felt in his prior work on film, like Sicario and Prisoners, and he comes to this small screen outing with a deft touch to make every episode tingle away with a dark note, making us question everything in sight and not let up until the very last scene when we have our answers.

I very much recommend this TV series to fans of thrills, mystery and original drama, because even though the last couple of episodes may not be as dramatic and surprising as I’d like, it’s Nordic television at its damned finest, which shows how they’re leading the way in making engaging crime mysteries that keep you hooked from the end of one episode to the start of the next. Led by a fantastic Olafsson and supported by a large and talented cast, Trapped lures you in and doesn’t let go.

TRAPPED is released on DVD & Blu-Ray Monday 11th April through Arrow Films and Nordic Noir & Beyond


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