watching the detectives

much was made of sara lund’s trademark fair isles sweater wearing in forbrydelsen/the killing. the outfit and the outcry was reproduced almost to the letter when the US remake aired. while this kind of sweater is traditional garb in scandie countries, i can’t speak for seattle, where the US version was set. however, one article berating her style also wondered if it always rained in seattle. it may interest you to know that wool is rather shower proof, especially that untreated scratchy stuff. as worn by sailors.

of course, tv detectives, like their genre fiction counterparts, need a series of short hand cues to sketch out their characters. the private lives of our protagonists mustn’t interfere with the pacy business of the telling of the crime based yarn. and speaking of yarn, a serviceable but prickly jumper might stand for rather a good external sign of the internal character without taking up too much story time setting out sara’s personality.

back in the day, columbo’s crumpled raincoat spoke volumes about his busy crime fighting life. his lack of interest in his appearance underscored his obsession with solving the crime. his private life was reduced to occasional references to a mrs columbo who we never see. moreover, his references to her were always plot driven.

starsky and hutch were a little more glamorous than columbo, with their fancy car, but, naturally, their outfits, starsky’s big jumper and hutch’s brown leather lacket, didn’t vary much. they had a particularly dapper snitch, huggy bear, who was like a one-man blaxpolitation movie as he boogied on down to let our men know the word on the street.

back to the present day, and the UK is voracious in it’s consumption of crime and detection, and for once, i am right on board with the popular mindset.

after wallander broke in the UK, with it’s UK versions quickly being eclipsed by the swedish originals, it became evident that UK viewers really didn’t mind subtitles with their drama if it was good enough. and we have been treated not only to the killing, but also, more recently, to the bridge. the bridge features another female lead detective, saga norén, who not only has a good solid image and a careless relationship with clothes, but also, reader, she has ASPERGERS. this makes for a really interesting set of sub plots. saga wears drippy beige tops which she often changes at work with a cursory squirt of deodorant to the arm pits as she works through the night. on top of this she wears a leather gilet with leather trousers (think biker rather than avengers) and she tops these with a double breasted brown coat which she shrugs on as she strides out, with her mind firmly on the case.

i am not sure where everyone else is with engrenages (called spiral in the UK) but i have just been gobbling up box set after box set recently, and it seems that series four is imminent. i bloody hope it is, because i am soooo hooked. engrenages is french, which obvs is not scandie, but again, we watch it with subs. (it is not usual in the UK to dub foreign stuff.) although i can enjoy seeing where english and scandenavian languages overlap i can’t kid myself that i actually understand what i am hearing with any semblance of flow. although i ignored school to the best of my ability when i was there, staring out of windows, doodling, passing notes, french was considered our ‘second language’ and was taught from early primary school onward. i think i even scraped an ‘o’ level. so it is SUPER EXCITING for me to watch french stuff because i can read and listen and pick up new words. french is an excellent language. a recent addition to my vocab is the french for wheelchair. chaise roulade! wonderful! like a cake or a soft cheese!

anyway, i digress. so – what does laure, who heads up engrenages, wear? well, on a day to day basis she is a scruffy herbert. however, she does do a nice line in layered t shirts. no matter how much fancier she looks than our sara or our saga, though,  it is only by a sliver, and we regularly get to see the contrast between her chronically underslept look and the glossy barrister joséphine karlsson (seen in this clip in day wear, but believe me, she scrubs up pretty damn well).


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