SERIES REVIEW Agatha Christie’s Hjerson – The Killing Times

Much was made of this Swedish series, based as it is on a fictional character within a fictional story written by the evergreen, late, great Agatha Christie. It’s a strange, perhaps obscure reference point for non-Christie fans, so for their benefit, here’s who Sven Hjerson is. Or was. Or now is.

Hercule Poirot had a mystery novelist friend called Ariadne Oliver, who appeared in six Poirot novels. Just as the real-life novelist had Poirot, Christie also gave Oliver a fictional detective to write about. That detective was called Sven Hjerson.

Such is Christie’s popularity through the ages, it seems any kind of link or character is riper for adaptation.

It is only after you have watched a whole episode that the link with Agatha Christie becomes apparent, but aficionados will definitely make the connection, and should also be able to appreciate how this celebrates the art of her writing – albeit in a rather bizarre manner.

Without spoilers, this series concerns a dysfunctional Swedish reluctant mother (Klara, played by Hanna Alström), who is the main source of new ideas for a ridiculous (although in these days maybe not so ridiculous) reality TV show. She eschews the ‘traditional’ ideas of dragging in children to sell the show, and hits on the idea of making a real-life detective series using the most brilliant (but disgraced and excommunicated) detective to effectively bring Cluedo to life. This is, of course, is Sven Hjerson (Johan Rheborg), who has a lot of skeletons in his closet.

The remainder of the series revolves around Klara enticing Hjerson to join her in investigating seemingly open-and-shut cases, but also explores the early life and idiosyncrasies of both Hjerson and Klara. Klara has an ultra-intelligent daughter who seems destined to be permanently babysat by Klara’s other half, himself an over-the-top megalomaniac obsessed by her need to escape all the maternal duties.

The series is laugh-out-loud funny in parts, particularly the interaction between the two main protagonists, and Klara’s infrequent returns to her former fellow reality show boss to ensure they are still engaged with her ‘project’. The final episode is one of the most brilliantly written denouements I have seen, and will pull your emotions in directions you were not even aware existed.

This really was a surprise hit from the Walter Presents stable. From rather obscure and scant reference material, this has been transformed into a wonderful romp with bizarre stories, and equally bizarre characters.

Brian Parker

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Agatha Christie’s Hjerson is available to stream on All4 in the UK



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