‘Grow’ (known as ‘Alfa’ in Denmark) is a 2020 series from Storyline Pictures about two estranged brothers. Adam is a city broker. He’s very much at the start of his career, trying to work his way up for the corporate ladder in the world of finance. He’s suffering with anxiety and is convinced he has some terrible neurological disorder. Meanwhile his brother, Jakob, is a police officer, recently assigned to a crack task force assembled to tackle the organised drugs trade.
If you want to avoid all spoilers, stop reading now.
The brothers haven’t spoken in years; but when their father dies, the two make an unexpected appearance at his funeral. Adam is welcomed back and meets up with his old friends, Simon and Oliver; but Jakob – dressed in police uniform – doesn’t hang around. He briefly pays his respects and leaves without saying a civil word to anyone.
Their father was a biker and, it would appear, heavily involved in the narcotics trade himself. His death has left a vacuum that other players – including foreign gangs and more homegrown rivals – are keen to exploit. Will Adam step into his father’s shoes, leaving the corporate rat-race to become the new drug lord? Or will Jakob and his police colleagues win the day?
We see a little of the brothers’ upbringing at the start of the show, when we witness them as boys bemoaning the place they’re living. Suddenly a noise startles them and they witness a man being shot in the head. No wonder Adam is suffering with anxiety.
The two brothers in the story are actually brothers in real life – Andreas and Sebastian Jessen. Neither are particularly well-known as yet. But far more familiar to fans of Nordic Noir will be the head of the anti-drug team, Graversen, played by that giant of the genre, Lars Mikkelsen – known for ‘The Killing’, ‘Borgen’, ‘Ride Upon The Storm’, ‘House Of Cards’, ‘The Team’ and ‘Devils’. We don’t get to see much of him in the opening episode, but his appearance is always welcome.
This is a slow burner. To be honest, not much happens in the first episode; and what does happen is done at such a ponderously slow pace, you’re almost willing them to just get on with it. There are a lot of grim, miserable faces and knowing looks exchanged, but not a lot else. I hope it picks up the pace in subsequent episodes, because otherwise this eight-part series will drag.
The performances are good, the writing is okay – but nothing is leaping out at me, willing me to engage. I think that might be because – so far, at least – the characters aren’t fully formed.
Anything with Lars Mikkelsen in has to be worth watching. I’m hoping his quality will elevate this series and make it – well, grow.
Walter Presents: ‘Grow’ launches on Channel 4 on 22nd January at 11.30pm. The full box-set is available on Walter Presents via All 4 now.