Starring: Trine Dyrholm, Marie Bach Hansen, Carsten Bjørnlund, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Lene Maria Christensen
Directed By: Various
Running Time: 1454 mins
BBFC Certificate: 15
UK Release Date: May 29th 2017
The trailers at the start of this brilliant series are slightly deceptive, being for the Scandi Noir which have so captured the imagination of the British TV viewer. Follow the Money and Modus are great series, but The Legacy itself takes us on an altogether different path. There are no murders for a start, and no real mysteries. Instead it’s a lengthy look at a family in conflict – sometimes crisis – and how the individuals come out the other side, not necessarily better for it.
Internationally renowned artist Veronika Grønnegaard has lived an eccentric life since the 60s, producing big statement works – sculptures of babies and giant heads, that kind of thing. When she dies her children gather in the hope of getting a chunk of her will – especially Grønnegaard, the huge estate the artist lived in with her various hippy friends and lovers. However, there is, of course, a twist. The three children include Gro, the daughter who has become a ferociously ambitious force in the modern art world, and is hoping to put on an exhibition of her mother’s work, with all profits to herself. Then there is lawyer Frederik, her equally ambitious brother who just wants to flog everything to make cash for his family, including his highly-strung wife. Emil is the hippy brother who wants to inherit the huge house and smoke dope with his feckless pals.
They all get a shock however, when the will reveals that the house and all of the art goes to Signe, the daughter Veronika gave up for adoption back in the 1960s – her original name is ‘Sunshine’. Gro and Frederik are appalled, and the case brings out the lawyer in Frederik, who vows to challenge the will. Emil however is delighted, he think in Signe he has a kindred spirit, a woman who will let him live rent-free in the house, fund his various bad schemes and smoke dope all day. Boy is he wrong.
There follows an epic struggle between the four major characters, including court cases, physical fights and tremendous arguments. Signe’s various schemes for the house, including a commune, hemp-growing and a pig farm, don’t exactly go to plan. However, neither does Gro’s plot to copy some of the artwork and pass it off as genuine in a posh gallery. Frederik and Emil meanwhile have a love/hate relationship, not helped when Emil sleeps with Frederik’s borderline alcoholic wife. Then there is the problem of the hippies living in the garden…
It’s a remarkably engaging, at times gripping trilogy, the various power struggles playing out in a completely genuine way. When Emil ends up in prison in Thailand the family assumes Frederik is going to come to the rescue, but will he? And for how long will Signe put up with being treated as the family outsider?
There are some tremendous set pieces, especially a sequence in an art gallery invaded by thugs. It is also quite funny, for a programme which basically concentrates on the dark side.
Overall Verdict: The overall theme, of a family fighting for survival, is brilliantly done, although at times it could move on a little faster. It is wonderfully nuanced, brilliantly acted and at times stunningly shot. It’s very different to the usual Scandi Noir, but makes a refreshing change if you’ve had enough murders, snow and big jumpers.
Reviewer: Mike Martin