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Evil human behavior profiled on Wallander as criminals snap

Dave Masko's picture

The world is full of utterly unpredictable people who, finds Swedish Detective Kurt Wallander, may be suffering from “psychopath” personality disorder with a potential for murder.

When the great British Shakespearean actor Sir Kenneth Branagh returned for “Wallander” Series III -- in his Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated role as the soul-searching Swedish Detective Kurt Wallander this past Sunday - he quickly learned that the “psychopath” murderers he often encounters are people without conscience. Thus, it was no surprise to Wallander fans that the recent Sept. 9 episode “An Event in Autumn” began as a low key storyline with Wallander moving into a dream home with his new girlfriend. However, all hell breaks loose when the skeleton of a girl is found in his garden. As it turns out, Wallander soon learns again that he’s up against psychopaths who are so dangerous in our society because they can easily manipulate feelings. Thus, with Wallander trying to get his own chaotic life back on track, he must also re-enter the twisted world of psychopaths that he often mumbles to himself “are everywhere these days.”

Also, in a world in which people are not always what we think them to be, it's Detective Kurt Wallander who says "criminals often just snap" when exposed as psychopaths who can no longer mime their fake feelings; since a psychopath is unable to feel remorse or guilt feelings as normal people do when they commit crimes such as murder.

Thus, the real horror of "what I do for a living," explains Wallander, "is to expose everyday people" who he finds have the personality disorder of being cold-soul psychopaths who can't process the evil inside of them.

Wallander III is a three episode series

The Wallander III series continues to air on Sunday at 9/8c, with PBS advising viewers to check local listing for airtimes for this “Masterpiece Mystery” series in your area; while repeat episodes of this new Wallander season three series featured on PBS stations during September.

For instance, episode two in this third season is title “The Dogs of Riga” and is set to air on Sunday, Sept. 16; while the third and final episode “Before the Frost” airs on Sept. 23.

Unlike most American TV crime dramas, this British import deals with many brutal crimes – often committed by Jekyll-and-Hyde personality types that Wallander dubs as classic psychopaths who can be engaging, charming and nonthreatening but then are exposed as classic psychopaths who are dangerous, abusive and threatening to society.

In turn, Branagh said in recent London newspaper interviews that he was drawn to this role of a soul-searching Swedish cop – while also serving as the series executive producer, or boss – because he found the character created by bestselling novelist “and father of the Nordic noir craze, Henning Mankell” as “just brilliant,” said Branagh who recently completed filming the fourth season of this popular international “Wallander” series.

Wallander fears the “psychopaths” in our society

Although he’s totally emotional and thoroughly practical, the character of Detective Kurt Wallander is different from American cops portrayed on television because he shuns CSI technology methods, and he doesn’t have the ability to read minds and predict human behavior such as “The Mentalist.”

Also, Wallander doesn’t trust “feelings” as most American TV cops do when chasing down a criminal.

Instead, Wallander thinks the problem with using one’s “feelings” when trying to find a murderer is based on superficial characteristics that, at the end of the day, has very little to do with how innocent or guilty a criminal really is.

As it turns out, from this first three season of “Wallander,” most of the bad men and women that this Swedish detective has busted for murder are psychopaths who find it easy to manipulate their feelings, thus making them the most dangerous of criminals.

Despicable people turn to crime

Wallander often lectures other cops and officials about the despicable people he’s encountered who’s psychopathic personality disorder is what drives their criminal behavior and the evil choices they make even while pretending to be regular God-fearing folks who say they love their family, football and apple pie.

For instance, Wallander often busts white-collar professionals for murders since nobody suspects clean-groomed men in suits or busy mothers and other women professional for actually being psychopaths that this seasoned detective feels are the true evil in our society.

But, Wallander doesn’t buy it because the origin of most crimes that Wallander has investigated lead back to everyday people who are actually psychopaths who hide their impulsive, hostile and volatile nature.

Evil lurks in unexpected places in our society

Wallander screenwriter Peter Harness - who wrote the scripts for all three episodes that make up series three - explains in British TV “extras” interviews about he managed to turn Henning Mankell’s ideas for Wallander’s lop-sided world of confronting psychopaths who murder in modern society.

For example, Harness told Swedish newspapers that his goal was to be loyal to Mankell’s premise that the real horror in fighting today’s evil murder is like to understanding the Jekyll-and-Hyper personalities of everyday people you encounter who just “may be psychopaths.”

The horror, adds Harness, is this is not just fiction from a novel or a TV program, but real-life psychopaths who walk among us, and who are “hardwired for evil.”

Also, the Wallander series III production featured Latvian actors who had a “very limited knowledge of English,” explains the writer, but “they’re Latvian culture understands the evil psychopath” who can be just about anybody in today’s society.

Wallander knows what makes people dangerous

It’s never cut and dry or a usual American TV cliff-hanger that draws fans to the Swedish Detective Kurt Wallander. One fan Tweeted “it’s Wallander’s pulse-quickening experience in dealing with people we may not view as dangerous that makes this show truly scary.”

For instance, Wallander is not big, strong or bullet like. Instead, he’s a flawed man who is both physically and mentally ill and, thus, he can almost spot a psychopath when faced with yet another murder investigation that’s the driver for most episodes in this Masterpiece Mystery series.

Thus, for Wallander to assess whether someone he’s investigating is indeed a psychopath, he takes almost a full episode to process the very essence of what he knows and feels in his gut and then dazzle fans with his crime fighting solution in catching the bad guy or gal.

Moreover, Wallander often expresses his own personal fear that today’s cold-souled tech-culture is “breeding a new and dangerous crop of psychopaths,” who, he says, lack empathy, lack remorse and express little or no emotions “as if they’re robots,” he asserts.

Wallander also seems to fully understand that labeling someone a psychopath is most serious; and, thus, he never identifies someone as a psychopath in a casual manner.

Overall, Wallander’s true goal - as this deep thinking and feeling Swedish cop - is to tell you, the TV viewer, that the so-called “psychos” of this world are not just the crazy ones who hear voices telling them to do evil things. He says “these killers” can be anyone; from teachers, doctors, bankers, politicians, lawyers, law enforcement officers and other “white-collar psychopaths” who seem charming on the outside, but are very dangerous because they are hiding the evil inside.

The next episode of “Wallander” is titled “The Dogs of Riga” and is set to air on Sunday, Sept. 16 on PBS at 9/8c.

Image source of the British TV series logo for “Wallander,” a PBS Masterpiece Mystery series starring Kenneth Branagh that explores the evil that men and women do to each other. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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