Generic Metamorphosis – Scandinavian Investigators (the essay is in German AND English, first page German, 2nd English...)
Authors: Stutterheim, K.
Publisher: Fink Wilhelm Gmbh + Co.Kg
“Time is quite simply metamorphosing.”1 Thus begins a novel from the Arne Dahl series that serves as the basis for the TV series of the same name. Such metamorphoses, with all their painful side effects, above all in how they represent active people taking part in life – both women and men – can be observed and traced in recent Scandinavian television series. These have been enjoying great popularity in Germany, and are considered prototypes, even being adapted for the American market, as in the case of Forbrydelsen, known internationally as The Killing.2 One of the special qualities of these series is how the relationship between public and private life is represented, between society and privacy. Crime stories in particular have been a beloved artistic genre since ancient times, in which it is possible to represent “the everyday secrets of private life that lay bare human nature.”3 They allow us to bridge the contradiction between the public form of representation and the private character of its contents.
Naturally, private life allows for no observer, no ‚third person,‘ who would be entitled to act as “an observer, a judge, an evaluator.”4 Events in each individual life only carry over into public interest if they become criminal activities or are affected by such activities.
Any event, however, “that has any social significance,”5 allows private life to shift into public perception. This presumes both an active participant and an evaluating person. The private human being thus becomes a public person. This is the metamorphosis narrated in the recent Scandinavian series, in particular in those discussed here.