TV Series

FIRST LOOK: End of Summer

Mar 1, 2024
Dimitris Passas

Based on the titular novel by the popular Swedish crime writer Anders de la Motte, End of Summer looked like one of the most prominent titles distributed by Viaplay in 2024. Nevertheless, even though the novel was a solid piece of Nordic noir, the television adaptation lacks the required spirit which would help the audience overlook the trite story setting and hackneyed narrative tropes employed by the showrunners. It is nice to see Julia Ragnarsson, a young actress who has been typecast within a narrow range of mostly secondary roles, playing a more nuanced and multi-layered character. Her extraordinary looks have not proven to be beneficial for her career so far, however, in the End of Summer, she delivers the most mature performance yet, confirming that she is much more than another pretty face on the small screen. Ragnarsson is Vera, a professional psychologist who leads group sessions and a woman carrying the burden of a traumatic past. When she was a teenager, her brother vanished from the face of the earth and nobody knows even today whether he is alive or dead.

The case is stirred when a young man comes to Vera's group and mentions some things indicating that he was there when the incident occurred many years earlier. Vera, who, as we learn from the beginning of the first episode, additionally faces challenges in her work environment due to past misdemeanors, is drawn back to her hometown in the Swedish countryside in order to determine her little brother's fate. In this endeavor, she will be all alone as it seems that her family isn't so keen on digging up an investigation into the event that has haunted their lives since 1984. The narrative unravels largely in the present with frequent brief flashbacks at the time of the little boy's disappearance. The police inquest had been harshly criticized as flawed and inadequate, making Vera suspect that perhaps she has to untangle a conspiracy that involves some of her relatives.

I must admit that my expectations were a bit too high but for good reason. The experience of the screenwriters, Björn Carlström and Stefan Thunberg, inclined me to anticipate a thrilling cold case thriller, however, the first 3 episodes move forward excruciatingly slowly and the viewers witness a substantial amount of inconsequential dialogue with no impact on the main plotline. Vera is a troubled protagonist, the number one trademark of every self-respecting Nordic crime/thriller, but her character lacks plausible, organic development at least in the first half of the six-episode season. End of Summer is a series of high production values and that shows in the quality of the cinematography and some of the performances by the lead actors. It's the story itself that lacks a specific orientation. I've not read de la Motte's novel, so I can't say if this is also a problem in the book. It's a shame because it has been a long time since we saw something of worth originating from the Nordic countries, especially in television, with the only exception of the raw Danish prison drama Huset. I hope that Viaply has more aces up its sleeve for the rest of the year.


End of Summer
Slutet på sommaren
TV Series
Directed by
Henrik Georgsson ... (unknown episodes) Jens Jonsson ... (unknown episodes)
Written by
Björn Carlström ... (head writer) (unknown episodes) Anders de la Motte ... (novel) (unknown episodes) Pontus Edvinsson ... (unknown episodes) Jimmy Nivrén Olsson ... (unknown episodes) Axel Stjärne ... (unknown episodes) Stefan Thunberg ... (head writer) (unknown episodes)
Julia Ragnarsson, Vilhelm Blomgren, Torkel Petersson, Patrik Karlson, Emelie Garbers
Production Companies
Harmonica Films SF Studios Film i Skåne
6 episodes/55 minutes

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