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DVD Review: The Team

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When prostitutes are found murdered with the exact same MO in Antwerp, Copenhagen and Berlin, head investigators from Belgium, Denmark and Germany form a Joint Investigation Team to track the killer which leads them all over Europe through webs of organised international crime.

The latest co-production between Denmark, Germany and Belgium, The Team is a decent crime drama, albeit one that doesn't quite match up to its Nordic-Noir counterparts.

The leaders of the investigation are Harald Bjorn (Lars Mikkelsen) from Denmark, Jackie Mueller (Jasmin Gerat) from Germany, and Alicia Verbeek (Veerle Baetens) from Belgium. You may recognise Lars Mikkelsen from one of the various English-language productions he has starred in, such as Netflix’s House of Cards and BBC’s Sherlock, while the other two actors are well-known in their respective countries but have not yet made their fame in the UK.

Cross-country investigation has been seen before in the hugely successful Swedish/Danish collaboration The Bridge, which has since spawned various remakes, and it seems as though the creators of The Team wanted to build off the popularity of the idea.

This time the series revolves around not two, but three countries’ police departments, whilst also taking us into Austria and Lithuania; in total, seven languages are used in the series including English, which is the common language between the cops. By using English as the main communication between bureaus but native languages in their respective countries, the show maintains its authenticity of ‘foreignness’ while also making it more accessible to English speakers.

The majority of the series is shot on-location, boasting some fantastic views of both urban cities and rural landscapes, especially of the Austrian Alps, which also make up some great action scenes in the snow. However, with the story jumping between so many places and languages, it can be difficult to keep up with.

The plot is interesting enough, but unfortunately the characters dealing with it are a bit flat, as are the attempts at giving them dramatic personal lives, which seem unnecessary and even a bit cheesy. While the ending wraps up the crime element, many of the personal dramas are left unresolved, deeming such subplots kind of pointless. That being said, as the main story develops it becomes more intriguing; you just need to give it a few episodes to get going.

While Nordic Noir has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the UK, it is rare that other European dramas get recognition. The Team keeps the Scandinavian feel whilst also exemplifying what Belgium and Germany have to offer and how Europol work together internationally. Plus, it gives the opportunity to exhibit the beauty of Europe. 

With only eight episodes, this series is good to watch if you’re craving some more Nordic Noir but don’t want to dedicate 20 hours to it. However, if you’ve never delved into the genre before and are interested to start, The Bridge is a much better (and simpler) alternative.

The Team is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now via Nordic Noir and Beyond.

 

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