Tobias Lindholm’s virtuoso telling of the ‘submarine case’ eschewed gruesome shocks for patient, humane drama

The Investigation (BBC Two) has been an elegant series about an ugly crime. Over six sombre, sober episodes, it told the story of the Copenhagen police investigation into what became known as “the submarine case” – the killing of journalist Kim Wall, who disappeared after going to interview a man who built a homemade vessel. It declines to name the killer, a decision that never sits awkwardly, and the gesture is an indication of the respect the series maintains. It is not about glorifying or commemorating the criminal. It is about how he was brought to justice for his crimes.

Within minutes of the first episode, the suspect is arrested and charged with murder, so – much like ITV’s recent hit The Pembrokeshire Murders – it is not a whodunnit but rather a puzzle to be solved, at what I imagine is a realistically frustrating pace. Even by the fifth episode, Wall’s parents cannot understand why they know as little as they do; the forensic report cannot definitively state the cause of death. Much of The Investigation’s drama hinges on precision and detail, as well as the intricacies of the Danish legal system. In the hands of Borgen’s Tobias Lindholm, what might sound dreary becomes a clever exercise in building slow, steady peril.

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