HomeTVWalter Presents: 'The Wall' preview - worth checking out

Walter Presents: ‘The Wall’ preview – worth checking out

This has all the hallmarks of a traditional Nordic Noir series: Snowy location – check. Dysfunctional rural community – check. Cop with a backstory – check. Speaking in a foreign language – check. Set in Scandinavia – no check! For this traditional Nordic Noir is actually Canadian Noir, or more specifically, Quebecois Noir.

If you want to avoid spoilers, stop reading this article now.

Walter Presents: The Wall
Credit: Walter Presents

Police detective Céline Trudeau (Isabel Richer) is summoned to Fermont in northern Quebec in midwinter, a rural mining community near the Labrador border, where local police have discovered the body of a young woman, her features obscured by a sinister mask glued on to her face. Her body was deposited in a central ventilation space in The Wall – a 1.3km long building which houses the whole town’s businesses, schools, health facilities and residences. The body is only discovered after it starts to decompose, and the odour of death starts to permeate around the building.

Fermont and The Wall actually exist, incidentally. The Wall was built in the 1970s to protect the community from the icy blasts of the Arctic air. If you’re into architecture, it’s worth Googling.

But back to the storyline…

Céline partners up with local cop, Alexandre Théberge (played by Alexandre Landry). Soon, they discover the identity of the victim – a dancer in the local bar – and set about interviewing the local residents, who are a peculiar mish-mash of individuals. Once the cause of death is discovered – carbon monoxide poisoning – suspicion immediately falls on a local man, Bruno, who’s son died of the same thing just three year’s previously.

During the course of her investigation, Céline realises that her estranged daughter, Sophie, is also a local resident. They no longer talk to each other – for reasons which aren’t immediately explained – so when she spots her daughter and realises she might be a suspect, the case takes on an added complication.

Walter Presents: The Wall
Credit: Walter Presents

This isn’t a bad show. Richer is very endearing in the lead role, and her dynamic with Landry’s character is pleasing to watch. The storyline seems a little weak at this stage, and the piece about Céline’s daughter happening to be living in that town – something her boss knew about incidentally – and her not knowing seems a little far-fetched.

But the real draw here is the location and intimidating feel of Fermont itself. It’s a town largely populated by “fly-in-fly-outs” – a transient population of male mine workers who live there temporarily and get their kicks drinking at the local strip clubs, where they can spend their generous salaries.

The show has earned a second season, so it’s worthy of checking out. Quebecois Noir – remember you read it here first.

Walter Presents: ‘The Wall’ will launch from 10th February on More4 at 9pm. The full box set will be available on Walter Presents via All 4 after transmission of first episode.

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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