Trapped: New Icelandic crime drama airs Saturday 13 February on BBC4 (Series 1)

BBC4’s weekend crime slot moves from Montalbano’s sunny Sicily to a chilly northern Iceland on Saturday 13 February. Trapped, the channel’s first Icelandic crime drama, begins with two back-to-back episodes at 9.00pm (there are 10 episodes in total). This RVK Studios series will give many British viewers their first taste of the Icelandic language (subtitles also at the ready, of course).


Trapped seems to be set in the east-coast port of Seyðisfjörður (although some of it was filmed in the northern port of Siglufjörður, which features in Ragnar Jónasson’s ‘Dark Iceland’ crime series). The opening episodes show three events happening almost simultaneously: a ferry with three hundred passengers arriving from Denmark, the discovery of a corpse in the water, and the onset of a violent snowstorm. The storm prevents the ferry from leaving and blocks roads in and out of town, trapping the passengers and townsfolk with the killer. Step forward Police Inspector Andri, who is tasked with investigating this high pressure case…

Here’s a trailer, which looks quite brooding and scary (may need to hide behind the sofa for bits of this one):

The BBC’s Sue Deeks had this to say about Trapped following its acquisition for BBC4: “A truly gripping storyline, stunning Icelandic setting and renowned feature film director Baltasar Kormákur (Everest) was a combination impossible to resist. Trapped will be our first Icelandic drama series and I am certain that BBC Four viewers are in for an absolute treat.”

Trapped stars Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, True Detective) in the lead role and is joined by Bjarne Henriksen (Borgen, The Killing), Ingvar E Sigurðsson (Everest, K19 The Widowmaker), Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir (Virgin Mountain, White Night Wedding), Nína Dögg Filippusdóttir (The Sea) and Björn Hlynur Haraldsson (Borgias, Fortitude). The series is written by Sigurjón Kjartansson and Clive Bradley, and is produced by Baltasar Kormákur and Magnus Vidar Sigurdsson.


Well, that was a brilliant start. This is a high quality crime drama that has the potential to develop into a really great series. The first episode set up the different strands of the narrative very nicely: a mysterious fire, the ferry’s arrival, the discovery of the body and the complex personal life of police chief Andri. The actors are great, the writing is crisp with occasional wry humour, and the cinematography is excellent, making the most of the dramatic Icelandic landscape and weather. Wrap up warm when watching, because it’s almost impossible not to feel chilly with that blizzard swirling around.


Andri and his police team

It was lovely to hear Icelandic, mingled in with some English and Danish (the captain of the Danish ferry will be immediately recognizable to fans of The Killing I and Borgen). I liked Andri and his down-to-earth female police colleague Hinrike very much, and was amused to see the Reykjavik police investigators depicted as arrogant city slickers (there’s some friction here that will hopefully be explored in later episodes).

Update: Just watched episodes 7 and 8, which were both excellent. The plot continues to thicken, and the quality of the screenwriting and acting remains extremely high. Andri and Hinrike make a brilliant team. Can’t wait for the finale next week.

One last tidbit: the Icelandic title of the series is Ófærð, which means ‘impassable’ – the word on the sign signalling road closure due to bad weather. Looking forward to more immensely.


In other TV news, Sunday 14 February brings us the feature-length finale of Deutschland 83. This East/West German spy thriller has been an absolute gem, and has elicited an incredibly enthusiastic response from British viewers. I’ll blog my thoughts on the series as a Germanist and fan once the roller-coaster ride is complete!

D83 13

24 thoughts on “Trapped: New Icelandic crime drama airs Saturday 13 February on BBC4 (Series 1)

    • I’m going to be quite bereft after the D83 finale next week. But you’re right, we’re pretty spoiled for choice at the moment.

      I’ve been thinking a lot this autumn about the rise of international crime drama in the UK since 2011, and how it’s moved from being fairly rare to now being positively mainstream. I’m noticing that difference through the blog in particular – it’s hard for me to keep up with everything now!

  1. Yikes! That looks scary. Time to be surrounded by loads of cushions just in case I need to hide. Lol! Seriously though, it does look very dark and full of suspense. Just what we’ve come to expect from BBC4, and long may it continue.

    • It does, doesn’t it? I don’t do too well with peril, so may need to follow your lead on the cushion front. As long as it isn’t *all* like that, we’ll be fine.

      Ah yes, where would we be without BBC4 (though Channel 4 may be coming up on the inside track after Deutschland 83…).

      • Evening Mrs P. Well I’ve just finished watching the final episodes of Trapped, and I’m bereft already 😢. Saturday’s won’t he the same. It was a fantastic series, and I can’t rate it highly enough. I really hope we get to see Andri and his team again. Whether Follow the Money will live up to Trapped remains to be seen…..

      • So glad you enjoyed, Kathy! Thought the finale was brilliant and really brought out the human costs both of committing crimes and investigating them. Some fantastic acting and I’m totally with you – a second series please!

        I haven’t watched Follow the Money yet. Have to confess there’s too much TV crime drama on for me to handle at the moment. May have to let this one pass.

  2. In case you haven’t seen this…an interesting UK map of sites where UK filming of UK crime/mystery series have taken place. I am sure you will contact the creator to verify before posting for your readers.

    I enjoy your newsletter. Thank you from Canada.

    • Well isn’t that fantastic!!! Thanks so much, betz mac, for sending me the link. As you say, I can’t simply reproduce the map on the blog due to copyright, but will pass the link along, via Twitter in the first instance today. I see that the map is a little broader than crime (for example, The Office, Downton Abbey and Father Ted are on there too). But the substantial crime showing demonstrates what a dominant genre it is. No surprises there, I guess…

      Thanks again and I’m glad you’re enjoy the blog. With best wishes from Wales.

  3. Absolutely loved it! Had the log burner going full on and looking forward to next week! Can see a holiday being booked – my sort of place !

    • Sounds like an excellent strategy, Patricia – that log burner will keep the Icelandic cold nicely at bay. Looking forward to next week too – looks like it could get rather dark!

  4. Loved Deutschland 83 and enjoyed Trapped, and I’ve watched resistance, the match, on Walter Presents, just started to watch pure evil,
    keep up the good work Mrs.P
    I Look for your tweets for reviews on tweetdeck.

    • Thanks for your comment, Chris in pain. You’re making fantastic progress with those Walter offerings – good work yourself! Will keep the tweets and reviews coming…

  5. Have enjoyed Deutchland83….though the ending was as seems to be the norm these days a bit vague.
    Trapped is watchable but seems to be very similar to Fortitude which we didn’t return to after the first series.
    I think they try to put too much action in which is unrealistic for a small place.

    • Thanks, WynneC. Yes, the D83 ending was left quite open in many ways, which seems to be because the Wingers are hoping to shoot another series.

      I didn’t see Fortitude, but from what people were saying, it didn’t quite live up to its original promise. I take your point about cramming lots of action into a setting that suggests a sleepier pace… Will wait to see how the next couple of episodes shape up. I’ve heard that things get considerably darker.

  6. Pingback: Eva Dolan’s After You Die (UK), Val McDermid’s Out of Bounds (UK) and Iceland Noir 2016 | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

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