Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen has successfully written six novels in the Department Q series. The first two have been adapted into feature films the second of which Fassandraeberne (The Absent One) 2014 does not seem to have a UK release date as yet, the third film A Conspiracy of Faith is being filmed at present and is due for release in 2016. But the first of the series, based on the novel Mercy adapted for the screen by Nikolj Arcel, was released in August 2014 to very little fanfare and not very much critical acclaim although it was the top selling film in Denmark for seven weeks. Kvinden I buret or to give it its English title The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013) is directed by Mikkel Norgaard who is possibly best known for directing four episodes of the award winning Danish political TV series Borgen.
This crime thriller has the standard Scandinavian cop. A pill popping heavy drinking maverick, a misanthrope who falls foul of the police authority when he jumps the gun and enters a suspect’s property without proper backup. In the shootout that follows it is not only Inspector Carl Morck that’s badly wounded but his two partners are respectively dead and paralysed. On his return to work after a long convalescence the Inspector is demoted and assigned to a basement office to head up Department Q, which has been set up to look into ‘cold cases’.
The department consists of himself and his new assistant Assad. Although their brief is only too read and sort through the cases, its not long before Morck stubborn nature throws them headfirst into the mystery of Merete Lynggaard's disappearance; a beautiful female politician who vanished five years ago from a passenger ferry, the only witness her brain-damaged brother who was found on the car deck, screaming at the top of his voice. The case was considered to be an apparent suicide. Unconvinced by this explanation the inspector and his assistant set out to disprove this theory.
|Department Q - Cold Case Review|
As I have already said this movie did not get very good reviews outside of Denmark and I would concur that it’s probable more suited to a TV series where the main characters could be flushed out more, but it is still a good police procedural with plenty of excitement and a steady build up of tension leading to a thrilling conclusion. The two main characters make a good team with Nikolaj Lie Kaas as Carl Morck who played Mathies Borch in the third series of the award winning TV drama The Killing, Assad is played by Fares Fares who you may have seen in Easy Money 2: Hard to Kill and the American movie Zero Dark Thirty both released in 2012. Both these actors repeat their roles in the two sequels.