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'Wallander:' the show of choice once 'Sherlock' is over

Wallander - Kenneth Branagh
Wallander - Kenneth Branagh

Once the hype from the highly-anticipated return of BBC’s “Sherlock” is soon over in the next couple weeks, fans may be left with an unsatiated appetite until the start of the season 4… which may well be over a year from now.

Of course, there’s an infinite queue of dramas on on-demand services, but for the fans of the formidable dark-and-twisting mystery, the show to head for first is undoubtedly “Wallander,” another BBC series on Netflix Instant. With a stunning cast headed by Kenneth Branagh who plays the title Swedish cop, joined also by the increasingly popular Tom Hiddleston, the show is more than enough to satisfy a Sherlock-lover’s craving.

Like “Sherlock,” “Wallander” is made in the same 90-minute format with 3 episodes per season. And it’s clear the same attention to plot and character detail that so make “Sherlock” a stand-out have been paid to this show as well. The crimes are intricate, and if they’re not as elaborate as those in “Sherlock,” then they’re certainly more true-to-life and gritty, similar in some ways to the feel of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Perhaps what “Sherlock” and “Wallander” have most in common is a lead character, who despite all his flaws and failed attempts at interpersonal relationships, is fascinating. They’re both forever in a chase to defeat villainy. But where Sherlock seems impervious to the evil that surrounds him, who’s often more involved with making an impressive quip than trying to self-actualize, Wallander speaks to the every-man. Wallander’s the type of person who can’t help but be disturbed and tortured by the terrible things he’s seen. He may not be as fun and off-the-cuff as Sherlock, but we’re able to see ourselves in him, and Kenneth Branagh plays him with such convincing, subtle humanity that we just keep coming back for more. Our verdict? You’ll be marathoning “Wallander” before “Sherlock” is even over.