Gripping crime thriller ‘Before We Die’ returns

Sunday: Before We Die (Channel 4, 9pm)
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Remakes aren’t exactly uncommon – including in the murky world of Scandi/Nordic-noir.

Both The Killing and The Bridge have had English-language versions; in 2021, Before We Die received similar treatment when Channel 4 made its own take on the Swedish crime drama (the original show had been available via on demand service Walter Presents).

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Set in Bristol and starring Lesley Sharp as DI Hannah Laing of the South Western Police’s Organised Crime Unit, it went down a treat with viewers, so it should come as no surprise to see it back for a second run.

DI Hannah Laing and her son ChristianDI Hannah Laing and her son Christian
DI Hannah Laing and her son Christian

“I’m delighted to welcome back this gripping crime thriller to the channel,” claims Caroline Hollick, Channel 4’s Head of Drama. “Series one struck a chord with audiences, with over 12 million viewers tuned into the show on All 4 – from the edge of their seats. I can’t wait for audiences to enter back into this world – with more surprises, twists and turns in store and I’m delighted to have Lesley Sharp back at the helm playing the formidable Hannah Laing, along with the rest of our brilliant cast.”

Sharp, who recently reprised her portrayal of Jean in the The Full Monty TV series, was immediately attracted to the role of Hannah.

“Usually you’re sent scripts and you make up your mind from reading a character on the page, but I was sent a cut down version of the original Swedish series and asked to watch it,” explains the star, who previously spent five years playing another detective, DC Janet Scott, in ITV’s Scott & Bailey. “The proposition was ‘this is a TV show and what do you think of it? Would you like to be in our version?’ It was a no brainer, I couldn’t stop watching the Swedish version, it was fantastic. Hannah is a superb role and the show built a brooding sense of suspense.

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“I think that the aspiration for our show is that it doesn’t look or sound like a UK cop drama. European shows are unafraid of investigating philosophical questions on behalf of their characters or elevating imagery or letting moments play out. I think that whilst there will still be those elements of ‘who did what’ in our version, hopefully the audience is engaged with the psychology of these characters, (and) invests in them.”

Although the second series – which is being broadcast each day until Thursday – features the same characters and recaptures the atmosphere of the original Swedish run, it won’t follow the same storyline. Instead, it focuses on Hannah’s efforts to bring down Dubravka (Kazia Pelka), the matriarch leading the Mimica Croatian crime family.

With help from maverick investigator Billy Murdoch (Vincent Regan), Hannah must bring her nemesis to book if she’s to stand any chance of saving her son Christian (Patrick Gibson) from the gang’s clutches.

“The second season will return with more fast-paced action sequences and plenty more dramatic plot twists,” adds executive producer Jo McGrath. “So very rarely at the centre of crime thrillers, women this time round will be pulling all the strings, leading to a breath-taking climax.”

We can’t wait to see how it all pans out – particularly as there won’t be any Swedish spoilers this time around.