Kurt Wallander is one of the touchstone characters of Scandinavian crime fiction. A creation of Swedish author Henning Mankell, the opera-loving, alcoholic investigator has appeared in a dozen books; nine Swedish movies, played by the actor Rolf Lassgård; a Swedish television series, where he’s played by Krister Henriksson; and a British series, where he’s played by Kenneth Branagh.
Wallander is traditionally middle-aged or past it, with a wife who has left him and a young adult daughter. You can probably guess what it is that sets the series Young Wallander apart from its forebears. The series brings the action forward into the present-day, with modern technology and modern issues; much of the background to the central mystery revolves around a young, multicultural Sweden and the people who either welcome or rebuff immigrants to their country.
Yet, it still serves as something of a prequel to the stories that have been seen already, showing a Wallander fresh out of the academy who’s on his way to becoming the character audiences already know. And he’s not there yet, leaving fans wondering what’s coming next for their not-yet-fully-mature hero.
The first season of Young Wallander was released on Netflix on September 3, 2020, close to one year after it started filming on September 11, 2019. There was a brief period after its debut where its fate was up in the air, but the streaming service announced on November 6, 2020, that Young Wallander would get a second season.
Deadline Hollywood reported that the second season is supposed to debut in 2021, but an international series like Young Wallander has to navigate international coronavirus restrictions, which could slow things down. Though the first season was set in the southern Swedish city of Malmö, it was shot largely in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, which is under a lockdown until at least March 31 to limit the spread of the disease. Visitors from outside the country are required to submit test results and undergo a ten-day period of self-isolation upon entering the country.
In the books, Wallander’s domain is largely the smaller nearby town of Ystad, so it’s possible the series will require a different shooting location, but production seems likely to encounter additional hurdles wherever it shoots, which could push back the timeline.
The series stars Swedish actor Adam Pålsson as Wallander. Pålsson has played key roles in other Scandinavian detective dramas such as The Bridge and Before We Die, and has appeared in the U.S. as the character of Mads in Armando Iannucci’s space comedy Avenue 5.
The first season saw Wallander receiving help in multiple places from a woman named Mona (Ellise Chappell), who worked at a local shelter, with the finale seeming to indicate that they were ready to begin a real relationship. The character of Mona is an important part of the backstory of Wallander, though by the time the novels begin the couple is already estranged, connecting mostly via their daughter Linda. Chappell, for her part, had a small role in the Danny Boyle Beatles fantasy Yesterday and played Morwenna on the series Poldark.
Presumably not returning is actor Richard Dillane, unless Young Wallander is going to take him down the Obi-Wan Kenobi route. Dillane played Wallander’s police mentor Hemberg, who was killed in the finale by a car bomb. The return of his other police colleagues is also up in the air, considering Wallander quit the force (sorry, quit the service) at the end of season 1. Reza Al-Rahman (Yasen Atour) is a co-worker, but he’s also a friend of Wallander, so it’s possible Atour could return even if they’re no longer working together.