Follow the Money: Season One
Created by Jeppe Gjervig Gram
Starring Thomas Bo Larsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Natalie Madueño, Thomas Hwan, Esben Smed Jensen, Lucas Hansen, Line Kruse, Julie Grundtvig Wester and Lars Simonsen.
As the fraudulent financial dealings of leading Danish energy company Energreen are investigated by police, a wide circle of characters are drawn into a net of paranoia, intrigue and crime.
Given the almost unending flow of news stories uncovering fresh financial scandals and fraudulent practises committed by the high and mighty, in some ways Follow the Money (Bedrag in Danish) couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Aiming to provide an insightful commentary on the greed of the corporate world, even in such noble pursuits as renewable energy, the series begins in a fairly dry and lecturing tone.
Happily enough however, the show manages to recover from its faintly uninspiring premise to deliver a rapidly unfolding drama of trashy, yet undeniably addictive TV. Shown in the UK on BBC4 where it followed up the recently shown Trapped in the Nordic Noir slot, Follow the Money is certainly not in the same league as that show or The Bridge, Borgen or The Killing, but what it does do it does very well. And what it does do is create tense, gripping and old-fashioned soap opera-ish plot twists and developments with effective cliff hangers, shocks and surprises.
The 10 x 1 hour series benefits from an almost theatrical performance from its main players. This suits the intrigue and shady goings on in the financial world. Bedrag literally translates as ‘deception’, and it is here that the series really finds its target. Almost everyone is hiding something, and they all live with various levels of guilt. Oddly enough this rather depressing series of revelations translates into a resolutely smooth and well furnished vehicle for light entertainment.
Sure, there is grim violence and hits on people going off left, right and centre, but it is all tempered by a dark sense of Scandi humour that proves to be a winner for keeping the show on the right side of fun.
The contrast between action man cop Mads (Thomas Bo Larsen) and the vaguely robotic Energreen CEO Alexander Sødergren (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) is at the heart of the show’s success. Mads is human above all else, capable of wild mistakes and errors of judgement swayed by the tides of passion and emotion. Sødergren on the other hand is a money making borg; misleading and conning employees and clients all over the place. His smug, self-satisfied caricature of a greedy boss is well worth watching – if only so you can hope he goes down for his crimes.
Another main character, Sødergren’s head lawyer Claudia (Natalie Madueño) is more of a quandary. A highly intelligent and capable young lawyer who rapidly rises up the ranks at Energreen, the series is almost like a test to see how honest or crooked she really is. At the culmination, the answer is clear and it isn’t too pretty.
For a variety of rich thrills and suspense, this is another Nordic drama well worth checking out or embezzling, depending on your honesty.
Follow the Money is available on dual DVD and Blu-ray from today.
Robert W Monk is a freelance journalist and film writer.
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