The TV show is based on a series of popular detective novels that are still not translated into English written by the pseudonymous “Stella Blómkvist” who’s rumoured to be someone with insider knowledge in the workings of the government and its dirty laundry. The stories have Dashiell Hammett’s flavour with the cynical heroine in a cynical world. The plots might be the usual whodunnits with political undercurrents and social commentary, but it’s the main character that you’re here for.
The first book by the pseudonymous Stella Blomkvist, The Murder in the Ministry, is the basis for the first series: Hired to defend a low-life thug accused of murder, lawyer Stella Blómkvist soon finds herself plunged into a violent political conspiracy that threatens Iceland’s very future. The series is adapted from the acclaimed ‘Stella Blómkvist’ novels, written by an anonymous author, which have captivated readers around the world since the first book was published in 1997.
Stella Blomkvist is a refreshing Icelandic TV series created by Óskar Thór Axelsson. It is a Nordic Noir or rather a Scandinoir with a sassy and darkly funny twist. It is actually a detective series with an anti-heroine who’s both a sleuth and the femme fatale, an unapologetically amoral defense lawyer who plays all the angels and likes to piss off all the wrong people just because she can.
Her investigations in Season One include the murder of young woman Halla, an assistant to the Prime Minister of Iceland. When Stella has to represent Sæmi, who was found standing over the body covered in blood, everyone is convinced it’s an open-and-shut case. But the more she investigates, the murkier it all becomes. Secrets are uncovered that powerful people want to keep hidden, and before it’s over, a seedy trail of sex, murder, and blackmail leads Stella into a twisted maze of ruthless corruption at the very heart of government itself.
She carries a massive chip on her shoulder with authority figures, especially the corrupt ones. That makes her potentially the most dangerous person in the room even when she’s dealing with a murder suspect or the city’s deadliest crime boss. Her best friend and landlady is conveniently a nerd and computer hacker who can get any information she needs. She has to deal with a regular bunch of crooked cops, dodgy politicians, and businessmen and powerbrokers because Reykjavik is a small city and everyone who’s anyone kind of knows each other and just about all of them will come to know Stella Blómkvist, the defense attorney who knows who to fix things.
She doesn’t mind bending the rules when that is what’s demanded but she is far from immoral, as she seems to have a rather strict set a principles and a clear as well as unambiguous sense of right and wrong. As a result, Stella is a sympathetic character who manages to win the audience from the first episode, but this show is lacking strong secondary characters who would help the stories to seem more plausible and be more engaging. The ”bad” characters are nearly caricatures, or at best, they are one-dimensional and exist for the sole purpose of moving the plot forward. The pacing of the show is fast and effective and the editing is worthy of a special mention. The stories themselves, though being entertaining, are a far cry from the high standards of the best Nordic Noir television productions.
Heida Reed stars as Stella Blómkvist, a sexy, hard-nosed and quick-witted lawyer with a dark past, fluid sexuality and a taste for whiskey and easy money. Her cases always lead to danger and her latest will plunge her into a violent political conspiracy. She does everything wrong: as a young lady smoking in public places, drinking alcohol (rather expensive in Iceland), getting herself in every impossible situation you can think of. The openings scene is not for children or for very prudent people. But if you are neither you will love Stella Blomkvist. Dagbjört is portrayed by Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir.
This is a character who’s free of angst and owns her flaws and self-destructive tendencies, including seducing an older, married, female politician partly for fun and partly for a mutually exploitative relationship. It’s refreshing to have a main character who’s not bogged down with depression or angst like US and UK crime shows.
Reed’s portrayal of Stella’s unapologetic nature is the most refreshing part of the show. Stella is an inveterate smartass who can’t stop cracking wise and poking at bears who threaten to bite her head off. The show revels in Stella’s femme fatale status and is obviously on the Male Gaze side, but it’s more entertaining than the gloomy joylessness of most British crime shows.
Of course there is a lesbian interest back story when Stella seduces Minister Dagbjört for all the wrong reasons. It is also pretty hot because there is some age gap between them and the seducing scene are pretty nice.
Watch the trailer :
Watch Stella seduces Dagbjört parts with English subtitles:
Superhero in my sleep