All Seasons Available!


Editor’s note: ‘Varg Veum’ Season 1 was one of the very first MHz DVD releases almost a decade ago, and we’re delighted to be able to add this much-loved show to the ever-growing MHz Choice library – presented, for the first time, in HD. ‘Varg Veum’ Season 2, which has never before been available in North America, is now available on MHz Choice.

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THE SHOW: Varg Veum is a series of televised films based on the titular Norwegian private detective created by Gunnar Staalesens in his many novels, short stories and graphic novels inspired by the hard-boiled American noir style, but heavy with Scandi flair. Veum is a somewhat brooding, slightly boozy, former child welfare worker ex-communicated from the field for beating up a drug dealer. You’d think he’d seen too much in his life already, but our hero can’t seem to get enough, relentless in his pursuit even when the cops clearly resent his “help.” Season 1 contains six 90-minute movies and, very good news, a second season was made as well. (Editor’s Note: Varg Veum Season 2 will make its North American premiere October 23rd, 2018 – exclusively on MHz Choice!)

THE FORMULA: American mystery lovers are spoiled by our robust detective genre, from Sam Spade to Nero Wolfe, Nick and Nora Charles to Thomas Magnum, but there are plenty of places in the world where private eyes aren’t even a thing. “We have those here?” someone snarks dismissively when Veum presents his professional calling card and, frankly, the police feel the same. This rubbing up against the system is where Varg Veum adheres to the formula nicely and it allows them to bring in a little humor to cut the bleakness. Veum wastes no time slipping into rooms he isn’t technically allowed to enter and maybe picking up various materials while he’s there. So? He’s just doing his job, and it would be a lot easier if his old police associate Hamre didn’t keep showing up to kick him out. Their sometimes contentious, sometimes grudgingly collegial relationship is reminiscent of all your classic thorn-in-each-others’-sides pairings we know and love.

[LOCATION] WAS LIKE ANOTHER CHARACTER: I can’t imagine it’s possible to find any place as charming as Bergen, though you could certainly find places that are less wet. Veum spends a lot of time changing from one all-black ensemble to another, so soaked to the bone is he and everyone else. I guess the people of this very old city – the second largest in Norway — just live with the rain, and wouldn’t you? Bergen is known as the City of Seven Mountains, with several suburbs located on islands. It’s stunning. So beautiful, in fact, that I am rethinking what we learned in Johan Falk to be a Swedish slam on Norwegians, calling someone “fjord boy,” is actually a compliment? I’d gladly spend my life in an oilskin slicker to live there, and Varg Veum makes beautiful use of the historic architecture and unique city landscape.

Trond Espen Seim stars in Varg Veum

BLANKET STATEMENT: If you’re there on your sofa innocently tuning in to this detective program thinking you’re in store for some Norwegian Poirot or something, please think again and prepare yourself with a blanket to throw over your head when things get uh… Scandinavian. It’s not a show about international mobs or roving gangs or gun battles – it’s subtler and thus, more sinister than that. There WILL be blood, sure, but the moments of clenching intensity are what will make you cringe and wince even while your eyebrows shoot off your face in shock. You’re gonna love it.

HEY, THERE: I don’t know if you were already aware of Trond Espen Seim, who plays Veum with steely, yet vulnerable, hotness, but if you hadn’t seen him in Dirty Money, White Lies, he’s sure to become your new fave. He’s tall, he looks like a character from Frozen, he’s got a compelling swoop of hair that’s always perfect no matter how rained-on and unwashed he is. And he’s good with kids! The whole package.

MAKE A NIGHT OF IT: Varg Veum is not doing much dining in Bergen’s finest restaurants, of which there are many – he’s more of a home cook kind of guy. Well, he lives in a van sometimes, so it’s more like he’s a van cook? I shudder to think of the smells he’s got going in there if he’s slapping up some Lutefisk, a traditional Norwegian dish of cod prepared with… lye? What? Don’t do it. Instead, settle in with some Hansa Pilsner and try to stay dry.

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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.