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Editor’s note: Spoilers abound! Before digging into Allison’s unique take on this insanely entertaining and supremely suspenseful Swedish series, we suggest watching all of Season 3 first!

Johan Falk Season 3

Listen, I’m really not ready to say goodbye to the GSI crew. We’ve been through too much! Patrik, Helen, Sophie, Seth, Matte… and, of course, our beloved Frank Wagner. Yes, yes, and especially Johan Falk. I will miss that tetchy smirker most of all. These guys are so great and have been such a joy to watch, the thought of saying adjö would have been too sad, except that the teeth-cracking pace we went out on was so relentless, I barely had time to process my feelings. I mean, between the Latvian-Estonian gangs and some extremely scary Russians — all carrying out various awful schemes up to and including kidnapping and blackmailing Falk into doing their dirty work — this season was quite a ride. (And that’s to say nothing of the Arab League warmongers and various Chechens jumping out of the woods like a bunch of ninjas to fight each other.) Thus, let us raise a glass of Stigbergets and remember the good times as we look back on this final season, hoping against hope that perhaps one day we’ll see (what’s left of) the gang together again. Like…

Johan Falk (Jakob Eklund)

Absent Friends and Unexpected Reunions
You don’t know my pain when I realized there would be no Frank Wagner this season. I guess I should have expected it, as he had more than paid his dues in Falk’s employ, endearing himself so much to the policeman that Falk saved Frank’s life and his family’s future at the end of last season. But Falk could have used him when the Russians trick him into coming to Latvia where they murder his old nemesis Dudajev’s wife and threaten to pin it on him. Later, an old friend does emerge from the past – from all the way back to the Johan Falk Trilogy, no less. Pernilla Vasquez, slightly under-competent security expert, shows up to buy guns from Seth Rydell. He only has the guns in the first place because he stole them from Falk, who was delivering them under duress as part of the above mafia scam, which Falk later discovers was possibly set up by someone on the inside of the GSI! It’s complicated to a ridiculous degree, with all the threads knotting together in inscrutable ways that cannot be untied until the bitter end. Pernilla’s mission is ultimately successful, but not without the aid of the deadly efficient GSI.  That’s what I call…

The GSI team in Season 3

Teamwork
With Sophie at the helm, the crew starts the season as a rock-solid unit. Sure, they are trying to figure out if there’s a rat in the higher-ups, and yes, Patrik has cancer and is not at 100 percent… and, okay, Falk is still apt to go rogue at the most inopportune moment, especially when this Model U.N. of Eastern Bloc Mobs comes after his family… BUT, they’re doing all right. Even Seth is pretty dependable as an informant – the chemistry between him and Sophie has certainly not ebbed. Seth’s own second-in-command, Jack, is trying to kill him on behalf of the Pakistanis. See? It doesn’t pay to surround yourself with a bad element. It’s a good thing Jack is an idiot – Seth definitely ended up being a front-runner for my favorite character in this series. Not that Seth has time to worry about Jack, anyway, since he’s now involved with badass MMA-fighting gangsters who very nearly kill the GSI’s infiltrating agent, Niklas, when they’re tipped off by their source inside HQ. I still have such a headache from trying to sort this out. Since all these people owe each other money and guns, the international incidents start piling up, paving the way for some….

Seth (Jens Hultén) whispers to Sophie (Meliz Karlge)

Miracles and Tragedies
Loyalty is really what the whole season comes down to – who’s loyal to their team, who’s loyal to their principles. The ultimate manifestation of this appears in the most crushing way when the GSI’s old brother-in-arms, the tender-hearted Lasse, turns out to be the mole on the inside feeding the team’s information to the crime syndicate. By chance, Lasse runs into Patrik moments after the latter has found out his cancer is in remission and, fearing exposure, shoots him dead. Evidently, Lasse’s crisis of faith in the system occurred all the way back when the team was trying to shut down the border-crossing prostitution ring which resulted in one of the trafficked girls they used as an informant being killed. This made him ripe for recruitment by whoever it is that’s running this thing. He was flipped by the tough Russian lady and has been working against his old pals ever since. There seems to be no end to the infiltration going on in every group, and it would take a high-level chess master to keep the Venn diagram straight of who is working for which team and where they overlap. So, obviously, it’s time to bring in…

Family Matters
On the list of former associates we could do without seeing again, Helén’s ridiculous ex-husband, Örjan, ranks quite high. Somehow, though, even he has a part to play in this thing. He gets himself involved by stealing documents from mobsters that will, if anyone can interpret the accounting, reveal the true face of the nefarious organization and just who is inside the Swedish police working top-down against our heroes. It turns out to be none other than the internal affairs officer breathing down the necks of the unit about their “unconventional” practice of using private citizens (like Frank and Seth) to inform on criminals. With everything building to Christmas Eve – just like it did so many years ago when Falk witnessed the murder of Santa Claus – Falk puts his life on the line to save his family, still under threat from the seemingly endless tendrils of the enemy. Nina gives birth to her baby and the whole family escapes. Johan is presumed dead, having been captured and tortured by the mob. The GSI unit is disbanded, grieving their lost figurehead. But… is he really dead? Just as I was raising my fists to the sky to scream “naaaaay” in Swedish agony at the very idea that Falk is mortal, Seth, who has himself gone through the fire, comes to Sophie in the end to whisper Johan’s true fate. They leave us hanging, but I choose to believe that when Johan asked Seth for one final favor, Rydell came through for the home team and shot Johan’s tormentor. I can only imagine him now on a tropical island somewhere, living next door to Frank Wagner. I don’t know who will, in his stead, step up to save Sweden from itself, but you must admit: wherever he is, the man deserves a rest.


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About the author:
Allison Lowe Huff is a freelance writer and editor with an overly concentrated interest in mystery stories from anywhere and everywhere. Follow her on Twitter @lowehuff.