The Geopolitics of Nordic Noir: Representations of current threats and vigilantes in contemporary Danish and Norwegian serial drama

Klaus Dodds, Tobias Hochscherf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The “golden age” of Scandinavian television has often been associated with Nordic Noir crime dramas, yet many of the acclaimed serials also engage with geopolitical themes such as migration, cross-border crime, military conflicts, and global terrorism. In this article, we examine the ways in which Nordic Noir contributes to discourses on such topics. We look specifically at the dramas Okkupert [Occupied] (NRK, 2015–), Ørnen [The Eagle] (DR, 2004–2006), Nobel – fred for enhver pris [Nobel – Peace at any Cost] (NRK, 2016), and Kriger [Warrior] (Netflix, 2018–) as they explore potential threats to Scandinavian society and the Nordic welfare state through the distinct figure of the vigilante veteran. Returning soldiers, as we argue, are particularly productive of geopolitics because they are shown to be adept (even well suited) to dealing with the geopolitical uncanny. They, in fact, problematise the positive Scandinavian self-image. While Scandinavian society, as can be inferred from the dramas, has become hypocritical and complacent owing to a very high standard of living, the veterans are the only people adept at responding to threats and crises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-61
Number of pages19
JournalNordicom Review
Issue numbers1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Sept 2020

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