Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! Wallander, Series 3

Kenneth Branagh returns to his Emmy-nominated role as the soul-searching Swedish detective Kurt Wallander, created by best-selling novelist Henning Mankell, in WALLANDER III.
Courtesy of ©Laurence Cendrowicz/Left Bank Pictures/BBC for MASTERPIECE
Kenneth Branagh returns to his Emmy-nominated role as the soul-searching Swedish detective Kurt Wallander, created by best-selling novelist Henning Mankell, in WALLANDER III.

Airs Sundays, September 9 - 23, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Kenneth Branagh ("My Week with Marilyn," "Henry V," "Hamlet") returns as Inspector Kurt Wallander, the moody Swedish detective created by mystery writer Henning Mankell, who famously lit the spark for today’s passionate interest in Scandinavian crime fiction. MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! presents three new whodunits on WALLANDER III, airing Sundays, Sept. 9, 16, and 23, 2012 at 9 p.m.

“Kenneth Branagh outdoes himself in series three,” says MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton. “No one else matches him in sheer soul-stirring emotion. In our long list of favorite detectives, Kurt Wallander is one of the most fascinating.”

After an Emmy®- and Golden Globe®-nominated debut season in 2009, the second WALLANDER series was judged just as gripping and refreshingly different as the first. USA Today hailed it as “an adult, modern MYSTERY! designed for those who want their murder stories to land somewhere between cozy and hopelessly dark.”


The depressed detective himself might beg to differ. “I'm basically quite a cheerful person!” Wallander insists to a dubious colleague in the opening episode of the new season. But his inner sunny outlook is trapped in unremitting Nordic gloom.

WALLANDER III finds the Swedish cop trying to improve his disposition—in the face of torture killings, dashed romance, homicidal do-gooders, and a resentful grown-up daughter. His caseload features these investigations:

"An Event In Autumn" airs Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012 at 9 p.m. - A pregnant woman leaps to her death from the side of a ferry. Or was she pushed? The routine case barely disturbs Wallander’s newly blissful life with Vanja (Saskia Reeves, "Page Eight"), his lover from the end of series two.

But then the happy couple discovers a decade-old corpse of a murdered woman on their property. With Wallander’s work now getting too close to home, he follows the leads of two investigations that get increasingly entangled. On top of it, tragedy strikes one of his colleagues, and Wallander blames himself—with good reason.

"The Dogs Of Riga" airs Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012 at 9 p.m. - A raft adrift in Swedish waters has a grisly cargo: two horribly tortured Latvian corpses. Arriving to investigate from Latvia’s capital, Riga, is an enigmatic police major. He reports back to headquarters and then disappears.


After hearing reports of his death, Wallander goes to Riga and meets the major’s wife, Kristina (Rebekah Staton, "Tess of the D’Urbervilles"). Together, they get embroiled in a desperate search for files that may document high-level corruption that threatens to make Wallander and Kristina the next victims.

"Before The Frost" airs Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 at 9 p.m. - An escapee from a psychiatric hospital sets fire to a flock of geese and then incinerates a passing hiker. And he’s far from finished.

While investigating, Wallander is unexpectedly visited by Anna, an old friend of his estranged daughter, Linda ( Jeany Spark). Then Anna disappears.

As the arson attacks mount, it appears that Anna may be connected. Duty demands that Wallander reconcile with Linda and join forces to find Anna at all costs. But father-daughter concord is hardly helped by Linda’s memory that her dad once had an affair with Anna’s mother.

MASTERPIECE is on Facebook, and you can follow @masterpiecepbs on Twitter.

An Interview With Kenneth Branagh