Past, Present & Future

The Dark Stream

An early account of my fascination with dark detective dramas.

I’ve spent the cold dark months of this winter lost inside Netflix. It’s like the web you browse and they browse. You gravitate towards genres, in my case dark detective stories. These have included Cracker, Waking the Dead, Dexter, Wallender (Lassgard), Wallender (Branagh) and Wallender(Henriksson). It’s odd in that I had a free choice, nobody coerced me, so why this genre? It’s very male, not so much the violence of murder, rather the aftermath of death, over and over again. A search for meaning in this dark existentialism. The detective’s investigation is a side story, in terms of the deeper search for meaning in a meaningless world. In the darker corners you witness a sad nihilism which is almost poetic. In Cracker it’s all about psychology. In Waking the Dead the emphasis is upon forensics. In Dexter it’s serial killinq and blood spatter, juxtaposed with sunny Miami, somehow it makes for a heady cocktail. And then Wallender interpreted by three very different lead actors, each actor interpreting the one author’s vision in slightly different ways, but all conveying a sense of isolation. In Wallender (Lassgard) there is a moment when Wallender asks a detective colleague who has been troubled by a gruesome murder if he needs to talk. The colleague says yes and Wallender hands him the card for a helpline…no one is there.