Long before he donned big hairy feet for The Lord of The Rings , or died to save another in Cult show "Lost" , British actor Dominic Monaghan starred in a little Cosy Mystery series for the BBC called "Hetty Wainthrop Investigates". I knew then, when he played the ungamely Jeffrey who helped the pensioner Sleuth solve crime, that he was going to be a star, that great things were coming!
Finally thanks to Sky Atlantic, Brits get to see our boy in a joint lead actor role in "100 Code" which is based on Irish author Ken Bruens’ novel Merrick.
Swedish authorities are disturbed, a young woman has turned up dead in a field of asphodel flowers. Detective Tommy Conley (Monaghan) is in a perfect position to understand these killings (it turns out, he believes a second girl will also have been murdered). In an attempt to solve a similar spate of murders he had inadvertently shot his colleague. Unable to catch him, Tommy has made this his single minded pursuit and a year later he is given a Special dispensation from the NYPD, to observe and advise the Stockholm PD on the case.
There, he is paired with veteran homicide detective Mikael Eklund (Nyqvist), Recently widowed and living with his daughter, Mikael is not the least bit welcoming.
His obvious aversion to America as a marauder and opportunist makes for an uncomfortable association. To make matters worse he is leaving police work and has been offered a chance to be a high Tech to Security expert.
Tommy seems to have an issue with any moving vehicle if he is not actually driving it, car sick in the passenger side, seasick and even ill on Planes which does not enamour him with his new partner either.
Once at the site of the murder that Tommy believes was connected to his own investigation, it becomes clear his hunch was right, the exact same scenario has played out, two girls go missing on the same day, one is buried alive with breathing tube, another is raped, strangled and buried and on the day of discovery, the breathing tube is obscured with asphodel flowers so she suffocates.
Mikael want's off the case, but his beautiful captain is having none of it! She basically tells him to suck it up, that his moping and emotional withdrawal does nothing but isolate him. She is utterly brilliant, icy but also utterly empathetic for the viewer.
This is a Nordic Noir hidden in a police procedural and like "River" on the BBC last year, benefits greatly from a seasoned Swedish actor whose emotional deftness and lack of ego makes him an utterly compelling hero and when he discovers his beautiful grief stricken daughter is self harming, I am certain that Michael Nyqvist's acting prowess will be further proven and a perfect foil against Maverick Wide Boy Tommy and Monaghan's twitchy unrest.
In his efforts to ensure he alone is responsible for bringing the man responsible for his accidentally shooting his partner, Tommy becomes a parody of himself in a way. His obtaining a gun because his service weapon and badge have been confiscated, is indicative of his disregard for any and all parameters. His seeking out suspects without any kind of plan , the scene with him turning up at a home where the suspect is in a vegetative state,is disturbing.and His drugs use further illustrates this.
Monaghan plays him with an edginess that is mesmerising, Even his gait seems to suggest a battle within himself to show his renegade nature. The No nonsense way that Mikael deals with this is superb, he arrests him and cuffs him, just to prove a point.
The Asphodel Meadows is a section of the Ancient Greek underworld where ordinary souls were sent to live after death. The use of Greek Mythology rather than the more obvious Norse canon to inform both the timing and the symbolism of the murders is a clever plot device. Murders committed in Winter using Asphodels to mark the spot. The murderer is suitably evil when shown in action and the Swedish locations are haunting and beautiful. In short this show already has me hooked.