Life was looking up for Swedish detective Kurt Wallander in the first episode of the new, third series of BBC1’s Sunday-night drama.
An Event in Autumn began with our dishevelled hero, played by Kenneth Branagh, acting as removal man, carrying boxes into the new home by the sea he was about to share with his girlfriend, her son, and a friendly black labrador.
Now, on the TV happiness scale, Wallander’s demeanour was still more Jack Dee than Christopher Biggins, but the cloud had lifted. I swear he even managed a thin, self-satisfied smile in the first few minutes. Unfortunately, as soon as his dog dug up some human remains in his garden, life began to unravel.
The look of Wallander is as fabulous as in the first two series, the cameras taking unhurried, beautiful shots of rural Sweden. There were moments of genuine tension, too, particularly when our man was in pursuit of a suspect in his garden.
But the storyline was just too pedestrian, its one-and-a-half hour running time feeling too much of a stretch. By the end of the episode, Wallander wasn’t the only one whose smile had faded.