Tag Archives: Mads Mikkelsen

From the Earth to the Moon, across The Bridge to Olympus

Earlier this summer our holiday viewing consisted of rewatching From the Earth to the Moon. After we accidentally caught a bit of Apollo 13, it felt like the obvious choice, and it was high time we revisited Tom Hanks and his astronauts, training to go to the moon.

I’ve said this before and it can be said again; this is one of the best DVD boxes. Ever. I’ll want to watch this many more times. And it’s funny for someone who was around when it happened for real, because you find you get to know these astronauts and all the rest of them from scratch.

I used to subscribe to the idea that Apollo 11 was a lovely trio of men doing something great and special. After watching this though, you feel disappointed that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were such idiots. Seemingly, anyway. It takes a bit away from that night in July 1969. On the other hand, there are many astronauts I knew little about and whom you come to love. Especially Alan Bean, I reckon. Lovely man.

Is it the actors? Or is it the research, where it is now safe to admit to things no one would have mentioned in the 1960s? And speaking of actors, it’s interesting to see the parade of NCIS guest actors donning astronaut gear and looking so much younger. The episode on geology is one I could watch more often than most, even though that sounds like a pretty boring statement. Geology rocks.

This part of our summer Daughter and I are catching up on my chronological watching of Rejseholdet/Unit One, which suffered a long delay some time ago. The resident IT Consultant gave up, again, after half an episode, not being able to cope with the Danish soundtrack and Swedish subtitles.

As with the astronauts, hindsight now shows us Rejseholdet was first to introduce us to all the actors we have subsequently seen in The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge. The younger Brix was particularly chilling as a sweeter looking but fairly disgusting character.

Towards the end, we came upon the episode that was our first. I had no intention of watching anything Danish back then, but we switched on and came in when Gaby enters Fischer’s hotel room after he has been concussed, and then hides in the bathroom while Johnny speaks to Fischer. We had no idea who any of these people were or what was happening, but it took only minutes for us to be hooked.

It’s a little harder to find the time to watch, when one of us can’t join in, so we tend to eat to the accompaniment of selected episodes of NCIS season 11. (What do you mean, conversations with dinner?) Last night we watched Olympus Has Fallen, which was more one-sided and bloody than even I had expected. Fine if you don’t mind a film that is nearly all about Gerard Butler. Personally I want more variety than that.

Unit 1

You are already wondering what on earth to do when Borgen finishes in two weeks’ time, are you not? It’s understandable. There will be no more The Killing. Don’t know about more Bridges, and we have all seen Wallander several times over.


But do not despair. Unit 1 is here. (Honestly, what a title. But no doubt I shall get used to it, and will soon talk about it in three languages.) I mean Mord-kommissionen, as it is in Sweden. Or its original title Rejseholdet, as the Danes know it.

It’s not coming to BBC4 next, unfortunately. But desperation for more murderous Danes and role model female detectives will send you hurtling into the nearest HM.., no it won’t. You’ll probably buy it online. It’s what we do these days. Anyway, Rejseholdet, aka Unit 1, will be available to buy from tomorrow.

You will love it.

If you don’t, it will be your own fault. I have gone on at length about it, for years, and here we finally are. It’s season one only, which I think means the first nine episodes. There is a total of 32, so no doubt the rest will follow, once they have you hooked.


It is being sold as something starring Mads Mikkelsen. Only as a member of the team, however. It’s even been described as having his brother Lars in it. (Troels, you know.) I think only as a minor character in one episode, just like Søren Malling who is Meyer/Torben. And then there is Lars Brygmann, the other Troels (Höxenhaven), when he was younger and much sweeter.


And anyone else you can think of, most likely. It also has a few people you might never have met, but who will soon become your best friends. Like IP, who we look out for every time we land at Kastrup. What’s more, for those of you who believe Denmark is always dark and cold and wet, you will now get the tourist’s Where’s Where of this lovely country. The murderers obligingly murder somewhere new each time, and we get to visit the whole country.

Very nice.

I almost envy you coming to this fresh. I definitely envy you getting the English subtitles. We are still labouring away with the Swedish ones. Not me, but the rest of us.

(Here are a few links to my previous rantings on the lack of Unit 1 in the UK. Link 1. Link 2. Link 3. Link 4.)

We want Rejseholdet!

And we want it now. Are you listening, BBC4? Pretty please?

What I mean is, seeing as British viewers are now clamouring for – almost – anything Danish, especially with a woman at the helm, we could do with a speedy purchase of Rejseholdet, aka Unit 1.

It’s old, so should be affordable, and it would be a pleasant way to spend the time before we get Borgen 2 or Forbrydelsen 3. Has been available in English speaking countries, so should come with ready made subtitles. (Unlike us at CultureWitch Towers who are working with the Danish original, complemented by Swedish subtitles.)


Old, but not too old. They do have mobile phones. And sex. Not to mention a strong woman – Ingrid Dahl – heading her team of Denmark-wide detectives. It’s ideal. I’m surprised no one has thought of it. And if they have, what’s happening?

Just think! 32 episodes of beautiful Danish crime, and the marvellous Charlotte Fich doing a Lund/Nyborg. (And two Troels connections.)


Mads Mikkelsen in Prag

If only people wouldn’t insist on dying far away from home! It’s so much harder to deal with any kind of feelings if you are surrounded by people with different behavioural expectations. Mads Mikkelsen as the Dane in Prague to pick up his dead father experiences some rather Kafka-esque people when he least expects it.

His character Christoffer didn’t know his father well, and doesn’t really mourn him all that much. He mourns more for the lost father from 25 years earlier. But the hospital staff order him to be sadder and to spend longer with the corpse. That is after Christoffer has had to climb in through a window to even get in, and after having to avoid the little whizzing coffin-carriers they use.

His wife Maja has come to Prague with him, but then doesn’t come along for the bewildering meetings. The father’s solicitor turns out to be almost as crazy as the hospital doctor. And the empty house is anything but empty.

Mads Mikkelsen and Stine Stengade in Prag

Maja has her own problems, and the marriage is slowly breaking down, or seems to be. Two Danes in Prague isn’t the most natural combination. It appears there’s more than one secret about good old Dad. It costs a lot of money (bribes?) to take dead people out of the Czech Republic. And when they go there is no saying where they’ll end up.

Despite its sad premise, it’s an enjoyable film. Very Mads Mikkelsen-heavy, seeing as there is only him and his wife, their son on Skype, plus the seemingly deranged but caring Czechs.

But whatever you do, don’t order the goulash on a Tuesday.


I’m not so much a CultureWitch at times, as an AbbyWitch. People come here from near and far – I imagine – and want to read all sorts of things. And they do read a mixed offering of blog posts, but if you look at my main search engine results for any day, it’s a very one-sided affair.


People want Abby. Mostly they want her tattoos. I get a display of the top ten search topics every day. Below I show two days worth. They differ from day to day, but not by much. There’s a little NCIS related searching, and on the earlier day shown here there were even searches for two non-NCIS topics:

Abby sciuto neck tattoo, abby sciuto tattoo, pauley perrette tattoos, abby ncis tattoo, abby from ncis tattoo, pauley perrette spiderweb tattoo, abby’s tattoos, mark harmon watch with orange band, ncis outlaws and in laws, abby’s spider tattoo.

From the day before: abby ncis neck tattoo, abby ncis tattoo pics, abby sciuto tattoos, pauley perrette tattoos real, mads mikkelsen, pauley perrette tattoos, spiderweb tattoo, abby sciuto web tattoo, roger whittaker mit frau natalie, abby tatoo.

Ducky and Abby

It will most likely taper off a little once October is past. Tattoos go with the pre-halloween period, somehow. I bet there will be thousands of Abbys out there on the 31st.

Gibbs and Abby

Happy fake tattooing!

(Photos © CBS)


You can only have one favourite favourite television series to obsess about. And for us that is NCIS. But then we have a few more on the next level, one of which is the Danish Rejseholdet. Having just gone on holiday, we are continuing watching through all the episodes again. What strikes me is how similar they are. And also quite how different from each other.


Both are police teams of some sort, where the group have become family. You don’t necessarily want to watch it out of order, as it’s important what went before, between X and Y. And the whole team is aware of it. Or not.

Whenever the fans want Tony and Ziva to get together, you have to stop for a reality check. It’d be nice, perhaps. But would it work? No, it wouldn’t. The same went for Gibbs and Hollis Mann. Fine for a while, but it can’t be allowed to become permanent. Then Gibbs wouldn’t be Gibbs.

I assume that real NCIS agents have families. And that it works. But the television team can’t have long term happiness and stability.

In Rejseholdet they do. Have relationships, that is. Not certain that it always works, and it definitely gets in the way of the policework. But then maybe real families also interact with real policing.

Fischer gets somewhere late, because his wife is upset with his infidelities. IP’s girlfriend is angry when he doesn’t have time for her theatre plays. Ingrid is always having to sort things out for her children, finding ‘babysitters’, although they are teenagers, or coming home to find there has been a party. La Cour, naturally, seems the most sorted of them all, and does get back together with an old flame. And Gaby and Johnny have their very public disagreements in the lap of the team.

It’d be easy to say that the Danes are the normal ones, but I wonder if normal means always having things happening within a small group of people. How likely is it to have the head police officer finding she’s investigating the murders of her brother-in-law and his family?


And good looking though the Danish team are (it is television, after all), they are nowhere near the Hollywood good looks of NCIS. I mean, take Palmer out of autopsy, and even he is handsome.

Maybe their looks help us like people to begin with. I’m certain I’d love the characters after a while, no matter how they look. In fact, I disliked Gibbs for most of the first two series because of his California perfection, and to begin with I found Fischer unbearably ugly. But you get used to both, and once you’ve become ‘friends’, you just like.

The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire

When I saw comments on Facebook that people had been to see the second Stieg Larsson film, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and that it’s not as good as the first, I needed to check out the reviews in the press. I did, and for the most part they agreed, although it’s still a watchable film.

What I hadn’t realised until I read those reviews, was that the films weren’t written or directed by the same people. I knew they’d originally been intended to be shown on television, and the decision to detour via the big screen was taken as millions flocked to see the first film. I wonder why? It seems strange to treat the last two thirds of the trilogy differently, seeing as they were filmed in sequence and with the same actors. One complaint is that they have no nice cameos from the big names in acting, like they do in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Apparently the script is no better than dozens of other police films, riddled with clichéd lines. The consensus is that Noomi Rapace is very good as Lisbeth Salander still, and people in general appear to have enjoyed a long lesbian love scene. Well, it is Sweden.

On the same day as I did my research into the film reviews, I came across an article about Noomi’s next film. She has been offered a role playing opposite Dane Mads Mikkelsen, and Harvey Keitel and Elliot Gould. It’s called Clean Out and is to be directed by Barthélémy Grossmann. So things are looking good for Lisbeth.


That – Rejseholdet – is the Danish title of what I ordinarily refer to as Mordkommissionen; the Danish police series that we tend to watch on holiday. Daughter soldiers bravely on, understanding a snippet here and there. I just sit back and enjoy the Danish-ness of it all, wondering if I could ever speak like that. Most likely not.

Felt so carried away with the Norwegian series on Wednesday, that to move on to the neighbouring country only made sense. Having tried to catch the same episodes on television every summer, I finally caved in and bought the DVDs on a Swedish internet auction site. So now we’ll work our way through all the episodes.

Charlotte Fich

It’s got an early Mads Mikkelsen as a sometimes troubled police officer. The one I really like, however, is the female boss, played by Charlotte Fich. And Daughter loves LaCour. He’s cute, and a bit psychic.

Rejseholdet is a word I don’t really understand. It sounds a little like a word for suitcase, but I suspect it’s the lorry trailer that they use as their mobile headquarters. I’m guessing that Denmark being a small country, the specialist murder squad is the one and only, so need to travel to where the murders happen. And unlike The Wire, they didn’t like being stuck in a basement somewhere.

Flammen & Citronen

Today it’s 68 years since the Germans marched into Denmark, and I don’t know if it’s coincidence or design that the film Flammen & Citronen (Flame and Citron) about the Danish resistance, is on just now.

Having grown up in a country that escaped being at war, it feels slightly surreal to think about what went on just across the border in Denmark, and how different the war must seem to the descendants of those who resisted. It’s so easy to think of resistance movements as something romantic, made up for action films, but it involved normal people, going about normal life.

Flammen and Citronen were real people, and this film shows what they did and what happened to them. The film brings out the uncomfortable truth that it must have been very difficult even to know who could be trusted, and who might be double crossing you. Did Flammen and Citronen kill innocent people, or was that just lies, too?

Flammen & Citronen, Mads Mikkelsen

Beautiful film, set in Copenhagen and partly on Jutland. Citronen was played by Mads Mikkelsen, who is in everything these days. But he’s good. Was interested to find Hanns Zischler from the Swedish television series about Beck, who turns out to be German. Always thought he spoke funny. Thure Lindhardt as Flammen looked very period 1940s.

And as Daughter said, you can understand a surprising amount of what they say if you can tear your eyes away from the slightly wobbly subtitles. Subtitles aimed at the Americans, I hasten to add. Wish this film would get a wider airing than a few select cinemas. I gather it was huge in Denmark, and it deserves to be big elsewhere, too. Lucky we have Cornerhouse here for these ‘obscure’ films.