Just a few days before the Scandinavian launch of the crime heavyweight The Bridge Season 3, the battle for the number one spot on the drama market in Sweden and Denmark has intensified with the meteoric launch this week of Modus (8x60’) on TV4 Sweden and satisfactory opening of Norskov (10x42’) on TV2 Denmark.

With Modus, its biggest bet in local drama in years, TV4 Sweden teamed up with Miso Film Sweden’s producer Sandra Harms, the Emmy-award winning writers Mai Brostrøm and Peter Thorsboe, directors Lisa Siwe (The Bridge) and Mani Maserrat (Arne Dahl). Melinda Kinnaman plays criminal psychologist Inger Johanne Vik created by Norwegian author Anne Holt.

The mix of top crime experts has been a recipe for success for TV4 and Miso Film as the opening episode was watched on TV4’s Wednesday 21.00 slot by a record 1.2 million Swedes. This represents a share of 36.4% and rating of 12.5% in TV4’s key demographic of 15-64 years-old. The show has also received rave reviews in the Swedish press that called it a ‘professional series’ (Svenska Dagbladet), ‘Fabulously stylish’ (Aftonbladet), or a ‘Star studded series that challenges the Swedish crime autumn’ (Sveriges radio).

“The opening has been well above our expectations,” said Josefine Tengblad, TV4 Head of Drama to nordiskfilmogtvfond.com. “This smashing start is all the more important for us as we haven’t invested in a long running serialized drama in nine years! When I took on my new position at TV4 three years ago, my task was to find a big serialized drama and I started to work on Modus with Sandra Harms. The amazing premiere will most certainly open new doors and help me continue our strategy to invest heavily in high end local drama.”

Other broadcasters that will air Modus include TV2 Denmark, TV2 Norway, RUV and ZDF. Freemantle International will launch it to buyers at MIPCOM in Cannes.

Meanwhile in Denmark, another Nordic noir opened this week, the local series Norskov created by Dunja Gry Jensen (Taxa) for SF Film Production and TV2. Thomas Levin (Borgen) plays crime investigator Tom Noack who comes back home to a small provincial town of Northern Jutland to clean the town’s drug scene.

The first of 10 episodes attracted 662,000 viewers for a 33% share. An extra 85,000 people watched it on TV2 Play, a record high for TV2’s online platform.

TV2 Head of Drama Katrine Vogelsang said: “For a fall schedule, the opening of Norskov was satisfactory. We are very proud of the show, and the high quality of the production. Compared to the opening of Dicte Season 2 in 2015 and Rita Season 2 in 2014, Norskov started a bit lower, but both Rita and Dicte were well-known brands.“

Vogelsang said a second season of Norskov is in development and she is waiting for international co-financing to go into production.
Norskov opens tonight at 22.25 on NRK1 and the series will then air on TV4 Sweden.
DR Sales handles world distribution.

The Bridge Season 3 opens this Sunday on SVT, DR, YLE and on Monday on NRK and RUV. Watch out for this space for an update.