The Journalists: Part 2
The Lorenskog Disappearances is a well written, slow-burn crime drama, working off a semi-fictional retelling of a high-profile case that rocked Norway to its core back in 2019.
For those unaware, the story goes like this: Norwegian billionaire Tom Hagen left his mansion in Lorenskog one morning to visit his office at Futurum business park. In his absence, his wife, Anne-Elisabeth Hagen, was kidnapped and held to ransom.
With clear signs of a struggle inside the house, and a letter left behind threatening to harm or kill Anne if Tom and his family contact the police and media, things don’t look good. Not only that but the kidnappers also ask for 9 million euros to be paid through Monero cryptocurrency. Only then will she be returned safely. They also unnervingly claim to have been keeping an eye on the family for a while so will know if he goes to the police.
Tom does get the cops involved though, who discreetly start a covert operation to find out exactly who has taken Anne – and why. They do their best to keep it out of the media, but it’s only a matter of time before they get involved.
The 5 episodes work together to explore different parts of the case through the eyes of several protagonists. These juxtaposing viewpoints mostly center on two main protagonist. The first is Erlend, a criminal journalist who has a personal stake in this case thanks to some pretty dark events in his own past.
Meanwhile, the lead investigator with the police is a woman called Jorunn Lakke, whom we follow early on and see all the ups and downs of her life, including problems back home and dead-ends and false narratives linked around this case.
As one may expect from a Scandinavian crime drama, there’s a good deal of care put into the mood, tone and atmosphere of this 5 part series. The characters are well fleshed out, with a lot of time taken to get to know their backstories and understand their stakes in the disappearance of Anne-Elisabeth Hagen.
Given the nature of the case and the unusual circumstances – not to mention the frustrating lack of resolution – it’s nice to see the show take a more pragmatic approach to getting us invested in the people investigating this one, as well as the case itself.
If I had to be super harsh though, episode 3 is probably the weakest of the five chapters here, sandwiched between two episodes that focus almost exclusively on Aleks and Erlend. While the chapter isn’t bad per-se, it feels more like a transition episode, before the final two pick things back up again.
In many ways, this show does bear some similarities to HBO’s The Staircase. Much like that dramatic retelling of an infamous real-life case, there just aren’t any definitive answers to this one. There are certainly a number of different theories thrown about, and several of these are explored across the run-time.
As far as Scandinavian crime dramas go though, The Lorenskog Disappearances is a tightly compact and moody crime drama that’s well worth a watch.