tue 20/03/2018

Mammon, More4 | reviews, news & interviews

Mammon, More4

Mammon, More4

Latest Nordic noir confuses and grips in equal measure

Jon Oigarden as journalist Peter Veras and Lena Kristin Ellingsen as fraud investigator Vibeke Haglund

Well, that was a bit of a brain workout for the first episode - I confess for much of the opening instalment (five more to follow) I didn't have a clue what was going on, who anybody was or how all the characters and a multitude of story strands were connected. Actually, I'm not sure I did entirely understand by the end, but by then the Norwegian thriller set in the nebulous area where politics, finance and journalism collide had drawn me in sufficiently to tune in next week.

For fans of the Scandi/Nordic noir genre (or indeed those suffering withdrawal symptoms after Line of Duty and Homeland clocked off recently) Mammon ticks a lot of boxes: the political/media buzz of Borgen; a slightly kooky loner female character reminiscent of The Bridge's Saga Noren (fraud investigator Vibeke Haglund, who will come to the fore next week); The Killing's labyrinthine plotting; and a humungous conspiracy involving politics, finance and journalism that would make Line of Duty's police corruption look like a parish council spat. And for those who want to complete the set of high-end modern dramas, there's even a Homeland Carrie-style noticeboard with photographs, newspaper clippings and lines connecting the main players in the fraud at the heart of the plot.

The drama, once it gets going, takes place over six days. But in order to start on day one Mammon begins five years before, when Peter Veras (Jon Oigarden), a journalist on a liberal Norwegian paper, is investigating a high-level case of international fraud. He is sent evidence by an email source called Sophia that suggests his brother Daniel (who is estranged from the family) is involved. Peter, a plain and rather pompous bloke dismissed as “a small, angry man”, cannot let the story lie and pushes to have it published. When the paper - despite not knowing who the source is and if any of the evidence Sophia proffers is genuine - rather unbelievably runs the story, Daniel (Anders T Andersen) commits suicide.

Meanwhile, a young fraud investigator and computer expert, Haglund (Lena Kristin Ellingsen), is taking a run through misty woods when she is followed by a mysterious man, and later is convinced someone has been in her house. Is someone out to get her? Is it connected to the Veras case, which she is assigned to? Haglund is the one who discovers that "Sophia" was in fact Daniel, who appears to have been ofering up evidence of his own guilt, and despite being part of the official investigation she tries to help Peter.

Cut to five years later when Peter, by now relegated to the safer pages of the paper's sports section (a neat in-joke for journalists, that) is summoned to the house Daniel used to share with his wife, Eva (Ingjerd Egeberg). Daniel has left instructions for a steel box to be opened by them, and it contains a GPS monitor that takes them to a lake where they witness another man implicated in another fraud committing suicide after mouthing "Abraham". Did Daniel predict the exact moment and place where this suicide would occur from the grave?

Mammon was created by brothers Vegard and Gjermund Stenberg Eriksen and at its simplest can be read as a study in sibling rivalry, and to examine, as they have said, "where the evil begins in a family”. The nod to Cain and Abel is just one of several biblical references not so subtly placed in a plot that is striving for bigness in ideas, theme and moral drive. But while the first episode was horribly complicated, overblown – two men blowing their brains out when they faced minor sentences? - and hopelessly wrong about how newspapers operate, if the second part settles down a bit we may be in for another Nordic gripper.






The nod to Cain and Abel is just one of several biblical references in a plot striving for bigness in ideas


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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