BBC Four’s latest Scandinavian offering comes in the form of the stylish drama, Follow The Money (Bedrag). The financial thriller revolves around an energy company on the brink of going public, with an ambitious lawyer, Claudia Moreno (Natalie Madueño), slowly uncovering corruption at the highest levels. For fans of Danish drama who are perhaps growing a little tired of all the sombre (though uniformly very good) murder mysteries, this show is a breath of fresh air.
First things first, there is admittedly a body, though this is merely the spark for a police investigation into full scale fraud at Energreen, a company specialising in renewable energies. Spearheading that investigation is the dogged police inspector Mads Justesen (Thomas Bo Larsen) who is possibly the least depressed detective you’ve seen on screen in a long time, despite having a wife with MS. He’s easy to root for and his growing friendship with Alf (Thomas Hwan), a fraud specialist never seen without a knitted jumper, lies at the heart of the show.As the investigation grows ever more intense, Mads finds his duty as a police officer tested when concrete evidence proves difficult to find and it’s a theme that is echoed through several other characters – just how far are you willing to go to get what you want? Claudia, on the other side of the investigation, becomes ever more criminally involved in the corruption at Energreen, due in part to her relationship with head honcho Alexander Sødergren and her own ambition. This relationship could have been fascinating to watch, but Alexander is just not morally grey enough for us to root for. He and Claudia don’t ever seem like a pairing that could, or should, work and it’s her own personal descent into criminality that makes far more interesting viewing. She’s a strong central character and it’s refreshing to see a powerful, competent woman who is not emotionally dead. The fact that she’s a woman is almost incidental and a welcome sight to see in a financial thriller.
The entire series is stylishly shot, from the beautiful and moody opening titles, to the chrome-filled Energreen offices. But all those shiny surfaces belie the dodgy deals taking place and the dialogue is dense with financial jargon. For a layman with no knowledge of stocks and mergers it is sometimes a little difficult to fully understand what’s going on, with characters spouting off details of insider trading and company deficits, but the gravity of the situation is always clear. The final few episodes as Mads and Alf close in are genuinely tense and you’ll be watching nervously to see how Claudia can possibly save herself (or not).
From the cracking final few minutes of the series, it’s clear that the story is far from over and after following Claudia and Mads so far, it would be great to see them return. But as season one goes, this is a smart and tense thriller that’s a bit different from other dramas currently on TV.
Season One of Follow the Money is out on DVD & Blu-ray now.