HomeTVWalter Presents: 'Top Dog' preview - sits well with the very crème-de-la-crème

Walter Presents: ‘Top Dog’ preview – sits well with the very crème-de-la-crème

Sometime it just takes the names of the two leading actors to make you sit up and notice, and you just know you’re likely to get quality drama. And that’s exactly the case here with Josefin Asplund (‘Snow Angels’, ‘The Circle’, ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘Vikings’) and Alexej Manvelov (‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’, ‘Before We Die’, ‘Jordskott’ and ‘Chernobyl’) who co-star in this latest trinket of Nordic Noir from the Walter Presents team.

If you want to avoid all spoilers, stop reading now.

Walter Presents: Top Dog
Credit: Walter Presents

Produced by Filmlance, the people who brought us ‘Beck’ and ‘The Bridge’, this is an eight-part series; and Season 2 is, I believe, already in production. I can see this show getting a very long run.

‘Top Dog’ is about two people whose lives become entangled in a way neither could have foreseen. They’re from very different sides of the tracks, but circumstances hurl them together and they find themselves having to work as a team to achieve their goals – and save their lives.

Asplund plays Emily, an ambitious lawyer striving to make her mark in a male dominated industry. She has financial worries and is likely to find herself homeless when her father’s home is repossessed. So, when she overhears a conversation about the kidnapping of the son of the firm’s most important client, she wants to be involved, thinking it’ll boost her career. But Emily soon realises she’s out of her depth and that she’s put her own life is in very real danger.

Manvelov plays Teddy – a cute name for someone whose past was anything but cute. He’s a vicious ex-con who has just been released from prison and is welcomed back fondly by his former crew. But Teddy wants to go straight and get away from the criminal gangs that blighted his life to date. He soon discovers that’s easier said than done.

Walter Presents: Top Dog
Credit: Walter Presents

Everything about this Swedish crime drama oozes class. The acting is consistently good throughout, the script is sharp and believable, and the cinematography is beautifully done. Even the musical score won Best Music at the Cannes International Series festival. The Swedes do this sort of thing so well.

There’s something interesting about the dynamic of having an ambitious young woman working in partnership with a reformed gangster and criminal who is torn between the life he knew and the life he wants now. They’re an odd couple, of course, but one empathises with both characters – and that’s vital if you’re going to want to engage with the whole series.

Sweden has given us the crème-de-la-crème of Nordic Noir over the years, and ‘Top Dog’ sits very well within that company. This might be the best new foreign-language drama we’ve witnessed on our screens for some time.

Walter Presents: ‘Top Dog’ launches on Channel 4 at 11.30pm on Sunday 9th February. The box set is available now on Walter Presents via All 4

Martin Howse
Martin Howse
Martin is a wannabe Viking who enjoys all things Nordic (literature, film, TV, rock music - and cinnamon buns!). Skål!

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