tisdag 15 mars 2016


Warning: this text is full of words.

Previously on Johan Falk:

GSI is an organisation that officially is being labelled a taskforce " spearheading" the war against crime.   Johan Falk comes back to Gothenburg after some years working a deskjob in Brussels. ( Luckily the filmmakers decided not to show  any of this as Falk is a man of action, not man of paperwork. ) As the type of cop who likes to see actual results being done, he seem to have found the right place to do some real police work.

It doesn´t take long before Falk realizes  that GSI operates  without the transparency that police organizations are bound to do.  And when he meet  civilian undercover informer Frank Wagner he gets confronted with some hard truths about the way GSI work.


In the next installment of the Johan Falk-saga suspicions are rising within the criminal organisation Frank Wagner (Joel Kinnaman from RoboCop, The Killing) is infiltrating.. There might be a snitch. And when push comes to shove Frank Wagner crosses a very dangerous line in how far he has to go to  keep his cover intact.

Wagner wishes to get out of this assignment and is hoping the police fulfills their part of the deal and gives him a new identity after doing this one thing.

The plot is about an arms deal , Wagner is a go-between guy in the deal and alert GSI by producing a list of contents of the type of guns that  some dudes wants to buy. This does not bode well as AK-47s and grenade launchers and all sorts of shit is on it. Military weaponry needed for unknown purposes. GSI needs to stop whoever  is buying because it might be for gang warfare.

The bad guys Christmas list. They seem to be up for very very naughty things.
"Time for positive thinking .At least there is not a nuke on that ..."
Plot talking:

That does not sound all that terrifying after all the nuclear wars Jack Bauer has prevented in 24, in which the stakes are much higher. But those types of high concept  plots might look a bit silly, as Swedish movies are restrained to more modest budgets to match the concept. It is also a bit tiring with each concept getting even more  ludicrous than the next in trying to outmatch each other.  That arms cache in this movie would have been shitstain on a  larger pile of shits in an American action movie where we are used to see bigger and more powerful armory. But I like it that they don´t try to emulate american excesses and weapon pornography in the same kind of way. The Falk movies have always felt more mature in that aspect.

It is from a more grounded standpoint, however, a very dangerous situation. All those guns loose and someone is intending to use them. Shit. GSI need to find them before they find out the hard way.

I can dig that type of restrained concept as it makes it a bit more believable.  But the real deal is what happens to the characters after the events rather and the larger themes of these movies that are being played out.  Wagners precarious situation as he is doing illegal stuff unofficially as his status as infiltator is not legal, but also the way GSI is handling the situation and how they operate  bending the rules and protocols as they seem fit for the work,

So shit can get seriously real if GSI can´t find the guns before it is too late.

The plot  clearly indicates why these films are so poorly labeled as crime drama, as the narratives are less on "whodunnit?"- mysteries than on a deadline-esque  narrative as all action films are based around. Something needs to be prevented before it is too late. Not figuring out why a  crime has happened and by whom. Johan Falk  are action films, not detective films. But the Falk-series are usually being marketed in the same categories as the Beck and Wallander series as part of a bigger trend of Nordic Noir, which I don´t agree with. However there is more stuff going on than pure deadline plots.

Wagner is reluctant to help as he wants to leave, so that plot point is further developed in the discussions between Falk and Wagner. He has a family he wants to protect, he wants to have an ordinary life with them without looking over his shoulder at the same time as the GSI are too heavily depended on his informations and they can´t afford losing such a valuable source of information. Without him, they would have little knowledge of what goes on in the criminal underworld, which is proved by the information of the arms deal of which the police would be unaware off without Wagner.

Also, other stuff is going on.

Morally grey areas and undemocratic police work?

What is also going on is Falk questioning the tactics of the GSI. Especially lack of  due process and public insight into the clandestine operations of the organization. In order to get the results that are demanded,  GSI operates in murky areas and in a lot of ways illegal as they skip the procedural protocols that are vital for a police organization in a democratic society.

This is something that will end up being probably the single most interesting aspect of the series. Usually in American action films it is the rogue lone vigilante cop that gets justice done, rather than an effective crime fighting organization. In American films such as Dirty Harry there is more trust in the individual than the state in action films, to actually do things that work. which might be seen as an expression of american values in the belief in the strength of an individuals potential to make a difference. Or whatever.

(But I fucking love Dirty Harry as well.)

More jibber jabber:

Here those same  attitudes have devastating effects in the long run, which makes these action films something of a rare thing; a defense of democracy as it highly questions the effectiveness of such policework will have in the long run. Sure, quick results, as it is demanded by "higher ups" and media might seem good, effective police work. But when that same good, effective work  get some scrutiny, it starts to fall apart. But the reason GSI exists might be a symptom of that same mentality of quick headline fix of the higher ups.The pressure that is being put on lower level police to actually "do" things that they can easily present to the masses, rather than building cases, which  with proper legal proceduarls takes much more time. So, why not smooth out a few bums on the road to make life easier for everyone? The complex police work makes not perhaps for highly digestable news

I don´t have access to how the police operates, but these are some conjectures and thoughts I have been developing after watching these films several times.

Falk and  Patrik Agrell ( chief of GSI)  have a heated agrument regarding this. It is interesting that same lone vigilante cop ends up  being the one that question  the system. but then there is a very interesting scene in which a lower level officer enters the room and Falk quickly talks vaguely about what they  should be doing and how to proceed. "Sit on the information and wait"  Agrell says afterwards: "You´re startng to think like us now" and smirks.

That kind of behavior, to shut off information to the regular police officers,  becomes problems at times later on, as they unknowingly disrupt an entrapment, precisely as they have not been informed on GSIs operations.  Not always smooth sailing on the sea of illegal police activity, is there?

Thinking about this also raises the question why someone like Johan Falk, known for his reckless one man, non-transparancy activities, to be uneasy of GSIs collective non- transparancy  activities.  I mean he did police work without notifying anyone before. And did it oftentimes outside the law. How come he questions it now?

Falk seem to function as  the series moral voice that questions how this actually can be  approved on an institutional level, What he used to do was an act of a very stubborn individual with  TVS (tunnel vision syndrome) and was never considered tolerated behaviour. Like this is. Those were extreme circumstances he was dealing under. This is ordinary police work done  day-to-day without transparency. A different type of critique to police organizations from what we have learned from Dirty Harry.

But luckily we have some shooting too.

" Transparancy is fine, but I´ve had enough pf pushing papers!
Time to shoot someone! "


There is just so much stuff to talk about that I have to stop myself here. There are plenty of  Johan Falk-action left to elaborate further.

Next time on Johan Falk:series Part 6: National Target: Falk gets arrested in Germany and other GSI shenanigans. And Russians!

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