Walter Presents has done it again, and at the end of March you’ll be able to watch yet another new Norwegian thriller on UK television. The first episode of Eyewitness will air on Channel 4, and after that the entire six-part series will be available to stream on the All4 website and through the app.
As with Acquitted, which arrived in December, one of the stars of the programme is the wonderful Norwegian scenery and this time it’s farms, fields and forests captured in the fever of summer. That fever that seems to have gotten into Henning (left) and Philip as they take a break from motorbiking in a corrugated shack by a sand quarry. Their kissing and fumbling in the dark is awkward, but things turn horrific when a black Audi drives up. Soon four men lie dead, and the shooter is in the shack pointing his weapon at Philip’s head. Good thing Henning’s armed himself with a cast iron frying pan…
Pact of silence
The boys escape into the woods and swear a pact – Henning doesn’t want anybody to know about their gay tryst, and Philip doesn’t want to lose Henning’s trust. But it’s tricky, because this is the biggest crime ever to hit the town of Myson, and Philip’s foster mother is the sheriff set on investigating it. One of those killed was a confidential informant of the Oslo police, so the big city force takes an interest, as well as the Ferryman Motorcycle Club, who were also involved. Henning’s bike tracks are all over the quarry, so the police know he was there, and the killer has loose ends to tie up.
Eyewitness will definitely appeal to fans of The Killing and The Bridge. Though not quite so dark or gritty, it looks a little more closely at the families involved. Not many crime programmes consider what might happen to the wife of a murdered informant, for instance, and we don’t know of any where fostering a troubled teenager is part of the storyline. The tension of the investigation, and the threat of a killer on the loose, are offset by a different sorts of unease – in particular the love teetering on rejection between Philip (Axel Gehrken Boyum) and Henning (Odin Waage).
Local sheriff Helen Sikkeland is played by Anneke von der Lippe, who won an International Emmy Award for the Norwegian drama Ved kongens bord. With direction by Jarl Emsell Larsen, Eyewitness was entitled Øyevitne in Norway when it aired in 2014. Not only has it already been shown in the US with subtitles, but it was also remade as a 10-part series for American television.