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The Protectors Season 2

The Protectors Season 2

The DVD release of shows such as The Protectors comes as a direct result of the success enjoyed by high-profile Nordic dramas including The Killing & Borgen. During this sustained era of quality telly, many of these Scandinavian dramas have stood head and shoulders next to the more popular US & UK output. While maintaining the quality we have come to expect from the stories of Sarah Lund & Kirk Wallander, The Protectors is a very different animal; a fast-paced (instead of slow-burning) thriller with both brains & brawn, that cares as much for its story as it does for its characters.

13 - 4 - Myrdet Medvedenko _MG_1015

Set & shot on location in and around Copenhagen, The Protectors follows the workings of P.E.T., a department within the Danish police force that specializes in personal protection. Specifically, The Protectors focuses on recent recruits Jasmina, Rasmus & Jonas, their relationships both with each other & their colleagues, and the both strenuous & dangerous work they do as a protector.

Whereas Sarah Lund’s investigations remained low-key, gradually building the tension of a single narrative over the course of an entire season, The Protectors relentlessly moves from one story to the next, showing the different types of missions, including personal protection & international security, assigned to P.E.T. However, while the style may be different, The Protectors shares many of the little nuances that made The Killing, The Bridge etc. such addictive viewing.

11 - 2 - Lille Kurt, Nyholm, Jasmina og Mahmoud_MG_2610

Characterisation is of the upmost importance and those that inhabit the world of The Protectors are both rich & diverse. The key element is the way they relate, both to each other & to the audience. Centre of the story is Jasmina, whose determination & insecurity emulate Lund’s congeniality. Our ability to relate to Jasmina, as well as Rasmus & Jonas, adds almost unbearable tension to the scenes in which our central trio put themselves in harms way, but also adds depth to their characters; a subplot involving the developing romance between Jasmina & Rasmus is touching to watch.

What’s so great about Nordic Noir is the focus given to both the central characters, as well as the wider ensemble. From Benedikte, the ball-breaking supreme commander of P.E.T., whose personal & professional lives are both strained by office politics, to head of security Leon, who struggles to find balance between a demanding job & his loving wife. If anything, the problem with The Protectors is that there are too many characters at times, meaning some stories callously get tossed aside as the season develops.

Moreover, The Protectors persistently suffers from a lack of decent antagonist. Not so much a problem in the early episodes, which focus heavily on how different situations affect various characters, but in the later ones where the villain is used to help drive the narrative. The two-part finale, involving a threat from an infamous international hitman, notably suffers because of this.

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Despite such a failing though, The Protectors feels effectively authentic throughout. The continued use of a hand-held camera helps, giving the impression that we are merely observers glimpsing into this unknown world. It also adds a growing sense of both excitement and dread to certain situations; specifically during routine inspections Jasmina works on while in Islamabad & during a superbly orchestrated car chase through the Congo during the two-part finale.

Like many of the other great dramas released under the Nordic Noir banner, this is a show that dares to compete with the more widely popular shows released to Western audiences and admirably holds its own. Finding a suitable balance between narrative & characters is always a delicate task, but one that The Protectors unequivocally accomplishes.

★★★★

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