The Legacy centres around Veronika Grønnegaard (Kirsten Olesen), a celebrated artist who goes into a flower shop to order five bouquets. There may be some order in her chaos, but her whole house looks like a state as it’s one big workshop for her varying and, rather random, sculptures and artworks. She’s clearly a bit eccentrc, too, as she even cut a hole in the ceiling of her lounge in which to fit a Christmas tree’s full height!
She asks one of the girls in the shop, Signe (Marie Bach Hansen) to deliver them personally, and when we later see Signe having a dinner party with both her parents and her boyfriend and professional handball player Andreas (Kenneth M Christensen), but once she shows them the sketch of her, drawn by Veronika as a thankyou for delivering the flowers, her mother gets all distant and decides it’s time to go…
Veronika has been overly domineering in the past to the point where only her daughter Gro (Trine Dyrholm) will come round, while her other offspring, sons Frederik (Carsten Bjørnlund, doing his best Max Headroom impression) and slacker Emil (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) – who’s been travelling round Thailand recently, building cabins with funds from the Grønnegaard estate – only call if they want something, or not at all as they’ve had enough of her. The other main cast member is Thomas (Jesper Christensen – aka Mr White from Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace), Gro’s father and a man with a bizarre passion for making a set of musical instruments which can only be operated once some incarcerated ants have walked past a sensor inside which triggers a green light. That sounds like I’m making it up, but I’m not.
Fed up with her dysfunctional family, even though she is a part of it, once she pops her clogs, Veronika leaves her entire estate to Signe, much to the young woman’s surprise since she’s only met her twice – once in the shop and then again when delivering the lilies. But where’s the connection between Veronika and Signe that would lead for her be obsessed with the young woman? In addition, and as Gro confirms in a funeral speech, Veronika was meant to be leaving a will to turn the house into a museum to showcase her works after her death, which would rather knacker the amount of money left to all the siblings, but in any event, why the change?
There are revelations that’ll blow the family apart, one which was already subject to warring tensions between Veronika and Gro. Naturally, I don’t want to give spoilers in this review, but as you often hear on the internet lately when someone posts an inane video – “You won’t believe what happens next!”, and what unfolded did indeed grip me. In fact, more and more family secrets seem to spill out as the minutes tick by, and new twists develop regularly, causing the whole procedure to put Gro on Stress Farm.
There’s more drama in a single episode of The Legacy than there is an the half-series of a pretender to the throne of Nordic Noir like the tedious Fortitude which has been shown on Sky so far (at the time of writing this review). It’s also a very comfortable watch so it’s not often that too much dialogue will go by to take things all in that I’ll need to rewind a bit. Compare that to the fantastic, but jam-packed with events, Borgen, where, sometimes, even 30 minutes of an episode at a time was enough because my head was pummelled by the amount of governmental work going on, even though it was 100% fascinating and entertaining.
It’s no surprise, then, that The Legacy comes from the same team behing both Borgen and The Killing. I have to confess that I still haven’t yet seen The Killing. I want to, but I didn’t catch it on its original run and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I will do at some point…
Overall, I didn’t think The Legacy would grab me as much as it has, and in the wrong hands it could be just another kitchen sink family soap opera, but all those involved in the creation of these Nordic dramas manage to weave the most incredible magic and cast a spell on the viewer to hook them in big-time.
The Legacy is broadcast in 16:9 and this Blu-ray in is crisp and clear 1080p high definition, looking pin-sharp throughout, as you’d expect, and looks fantastic on my Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV.
The sound is in DTS HD 5.1 and is fine, but there’s nothing to speak of going on in the surround channel.
There are two extras in this package and they’re both on the third disc. Firstly, there’s an extensive Q&A with Carsten Bjørnlund (40:25), aka Frederik, which is chaired by Neil Midgley at Nordicana 2014, and then there’s also a brief Interview with Carsten Bjørnlund (2:57).
The Legacy is mostly in Danish with occasional dialogue in English, and characters cutting between the two. Annoyingly, the English dialogue isn’t subtitled so as characters sometimes talk quickly, some of this dialogue might get missed and you think, for a moment, that the subtitlers have nipped out the back for a break.
The menu features some subtle animation plus a small piece of the theme, while chapters are better than previous Nordic dramas have been served, with around 7 or 8 per episode. Arrow have also placed some Nordic Noir trailers before the main menu – they’re skippable, but they should really be placed in an extras menu.
The Legacy Season 1 – Official UK trailer
Running time: 10 * 60 minutes (approx)
Released: February 16th 2015
Chapters: 7-8 per epsiode
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Languages: Danish, plus some English
Widescreen: 1.78:1 (HDTV)
Director: Pernilla August
Producer: Christian Rank
Creator/Series writing credits: Maya Ilsøe
Music: Magnus Jarlbo and Sebastian Öberg
Gro Grønnegaard: Trine Dyrholm
Thomas Konrad: Jesper Christensen
Signe Larsen: Marie Bach Hansen
Veronika Grønnegaard: Kirsten Olesen
Frederik Grønnegaard: Carsten Bjørnlund
Emil Grønnegaard: Mikkel Boe Følsgaard
Solveig Riis Grønnegaard: Lene Maria Christensen
Robert Eliassen: Trond Espen Seim
Lise Larsen: Anette Katzmann
John Larsen: Jens Jørn Spottag
Andreas Baggesen: Kenneth M Christensen
Villads Grønnegaard: Victor Stoltenberg Nielsen
Hannah Grønnegaard: Karla Løkke
Camilla: Marijana Jankovic
Katja: Maria Carmen Lindegaard
René: Josephine Raahauge
Svend: Michael Moritzen
Journalist: Pelle Koppel
Gerry: Jacob Agermose Pedersen
Læge: Özlem Saglanmak
Veronika’s assistant: Sally Laug
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.