Stream it or skip it?

If you are a fan of what has become known as “Nordic noir”, you expect a lack of action in thrillers that hail from Scandinavian countries. He tends to talk and look a lot on pin-and-string screens and boards. But a new series from Norway, based on a true story, seems to be nothing more than talking and staring.

Opening shot: In a dark house, a woman answers the phone while two masked men enter the front door in broad daylight.

The juice: The intruders grab the woman, who screams. They knock her out, put her in a body bag and leave a note. Supervising this kidnapping is someone wearing a police ID around their neck. Apparently this is a test run to see how long the whole thing might have taken.

On 31 October 2018, Tom Hagen (Terje Strømdahl), one of the richest people in Norway, calls in an emergency: his wife, Anne-Elisabeth, has been kidnapped. A ransom note is left on a red chair, telling him not to involve the police or the media. Detective Jorunn Lakke (Yngvild Støen Grotmol), the policeman we saw doing the test drive, is in charge of the case. With his partner, Micael Delvir (Kidane Gjølme Dalva), they try to search neighbors and friends without making it clear that they are looking for the kidnapping of Anne-Elisabeth, so as not to give the tip to the kidnappers.

But they’re not getting anywhere. The kidnappers demanded their payment in an obscure cryptocurrency that will take months to mine, but they communicate via fractional Bitcoin transactions; they just don’t know that law enforcement is on the other side of that communication. Weeks go by and it seems that if the kidnappers were truly motivated by money, they would be more eager to carry out the transaction. And because the authorities kept the kidnapping out of the media, it was very difficult for them to move forward.

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Then Anne-Elisabeth’s mobile number, which was passed on to the police, is disclosed to the press. Jorunn and his boss plead with reporters to let them investigate, but further news of the Hagen makes both Jorunn and Michael wonder if this isn’t a kidnapping case.

The disappearance of Lørenskog
Photo: Julianne Leikanger / Netflix

What shows will it remind you of? The disappearance of Lørenskog fits perfectly with Netflix’s many Nordic noir series, such as Lilyhammer, Trapped, Trapped, Bordertown and other.

Our outlet: One of the things we expect from Nordic noir is that there isn’t much action; it is more of an intellectual exercise than anything else. But the first episode of The disappearance of Lørenskogwhich is based on a true story, has tested our patience in this regard.

Since the show begins with a flash-forward scene, we spent the first half of the episode thinking that Jorunn was in charge of a kidnapping she had orchestrated. We don’t think we’re particularly inattentive viewers – we wouldn’t be able to do this job if we were – so it was particularly frustrating to have to go back to that flash-forward scene more than once to confirm who was in it and why.

To be fair, having Jorunn investigate a kidnapping she orchestrated would have created a far more compelling drama than it turned out to be, and it turns out that flash-forward scene wasn’t compelling enough to leave the mark it intended. At some point, you realize they did that practice out of sheer desperation as the leads run out and other forensic evidence leads nowhere. But none of that is particularly obvious at that point, so spend precious minutes questioning him instead of actually following the story.

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But what really tested our patience is that we talk a lot and stare at the screens, but not much else. The writers try to break the plot out of nowhere with a B-grade story about Jorunn struggling with her father, who is likely in the early stages of Alzheimer’s but doesn’t want to be tested. He also has to deal with memories of an accident that killed his mother 20 years ago.

Unfortunately, we may see more, even if we change perspective from Jorunn to reporter Erlend Moe Riise (Christian Rubeck), to whistleblowers’ attorneys. A lot of talking and a lot of staring at the screens. If they follow the timeline of the actual story, there is likely to be a solution that won’t please viewers. It’s only a 5-episode limited series, so the time invested won’t be as dramatic and the changing perspectives will help freshen the story. But, sir, there is nothing to be done on this show, and that’s not good.

Gender and skin: Nobody.

Farewell shot: After realizing that Anne-Elisabeth was trying to divorce her husband Tom and that she had an airtight premarital, Jorunn decides to open the case to the media after weeks without getting anywhere.

Sleeping Star: To be honest, no one really stands out.

Most of the pilot line: When Jorunn attends a task force meeting after learning about the Hagen premarital, we hear someone talk about using “IKEA gingerbread paste,” saying the kids won’t recognize the difference. It seems like a strange parenthesis for what is a rather serious show.

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Our call: JUMP. It’s not like The disappearance of Lørenskog it is badly done. It’s just plain boring, even by Nordic noir standards.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller

) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but he doesn’t fool himself: he’s a TV addict. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.

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