When you first start watching Fortitude, or see the trailers for this series, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is simply a by-the-numbers Danish inspired thriller, which even stars Sofie Gråbøl from The Killing! However, as the episodes roll on, it soon becomes clear that Fortitude is an entirely different piece of television. It may be a bit of a cliché to say this, but there is a vibe of Twin Peaks around this series. I cannot say much without spoiling it, but let's say that as the show continues it is becoming more and more genre fluid. It is no longer simply a crime drama. Fortitude is evolving into something that is dark, weird and unnerving, and I mean that all in a good way.
The series is set in the Norwegian community of Fortitude, a place of so-called perfection where crime does not exist until one of the local residents is found brutally murdered, and the secrets of this community start to unravel. The writing in this series is simply wonderful. It is intelligent, and seems to be deliberately paced slower than most modern crime dramas. This helps to give gravitas to the story, and build a heavy atmosphere, which is equally helped by a wonderful and dark soundtrack. Praise should be given to the fantastic location this series is filmed in. Fortitude and its barren, icy landscape are simply beautiful to watch and they hold an eerie charm.
The large list of characters serve the story well, with Stanley Tucci being a particular highlight as the kind, but manipulative DCI Eugene Morton, who is sent over from the UK to investigate the murder. Michael Gambon also puts in a joyful performance as the dying and mournful Henry Tyson, while Richard Dormer plays the emotional and rock headed Sheriff of Fortitude. Christopher Eccleston plays local biology researcher Professor Charlie Stoddart and as I mentioned above, Sofie Gråbøl plays the mayor of Fortitude, who trying to hang on as her vision of the town and its future crumble around her. There are many other character I would like to comment on (Such as Darren Boyd's creepy resident, and Phoebe Nicholls as the no-nonsense local Doctor) and my one complaint about the series, perhaps, is that the cast is so large that I fear some characters could be side-lined and even forgotten about. With six episodes still to go, I hope that is not the case.
A final note of warning though, episode 6 probably contained the goriest scene I have experienced on TV before. This will not be a series for the faint-hearted, but if you enjoy something that is smart, dark and a little weird, then Fortitude may just be perfect for you.