In most crime dramas, the bad guy kills the victim and then the good guys try to identify and catch the bad guy. Or girl. Deliver Us is a 2019 Scandinavian crime show that mixes things up a bit. In a small community in rural Denmark, the bad guy is about to become the victim. Or so it seems… You’ll be able to follow the action when Deliver Us episode one airs on Channel 4 at 11pm on Sunday 7 February, and stream the entire eight-episode series on Walter Presents/All 4.
Maybe the best way to talk about Deliver Us is to tell you about the characters, and the best one to start with is the town tearaway, Mike, played by Morten Hee Andersen. He drives a big red truck, he drinks beer, he likes to have a good time. He’s got an easy way about him and a charming smile, but there’s always a hint of danger when Mike’s around. The whole town thinks that Mike ran over the son of the local doctor, but it was ruled an accident. Although Mike should probably keep his head down, he swaggers around and, one-by-one, humiliates the other characters in the story.
Principal among them is Peter, the doctor, played by Claus Riis Østergaard, who has been going to waste since the death of his son Aksel. He’s holding it together at work, but every night he drinks and has visions of his son. Sometimes he sits next to his empty swimming pool with a rifle across his knees. Perhaps he’s thinking about shooting Mike. Peter’s brother Martin (Anders Juul) is visiting from out of town, and can’t understand why people are obsessed with Mike, although he soon starts to get the picture.
Then there are Tom (Jesper Riefensthal) and Bibi (Lene Marie Christiansen), who own the local bar. Something has happened between Tom and Mike but he won’t tell Bibi what it is. Every time Mike comes into the bar, tension grows. Whatever that secret is, it’s coming between Tom and Bibi, and it looks like getting rid of Mike might be the only way to save their marriage.
Meanwhile, John (Mads Rømer) is worried about his son Kasper (Sylvester Byder). Kasper has been away in a mental institution and has just returned. John doesn’t quite understand his son’s condition but thinks working in the local chicken sheds will snap him out of it, even though Kasper is terrified of poultry. Kasper was there the night Aksel died but he assured the police that it was an accident. When Mike tries to reconnect with Kasper, John stands in the way, things get violent, and John is sorely embarrassed in front of his son.
Finally, we have Milad (Dar Salim) who runs the chicken batteries. He’s an immigrant from Iraq and is John’s boss. Although people sometimes think they can push him around, Milad has secrets of his own and skills that could make him a very dangerous adversary, or a very good ally, depending on how you look at it.
As Mike grows more and more unbearable, Peter, Martin, Bibi, John and Milad hatch a plan to dispatch him. The problem is that if they decide to play God, who will deliver them from evil if, as seems likely, it all goes wrong. The drama lies in how the secrets and lies in their little community will be peeled away and exposed like the layers of a particularly acidic onion as they proceed with their plan.
Deliver Us may not have the star power or the production values of The Killing or The Bridge, but the acting here is strong, the characters are believable and the drama feels palpable as they turn vigilante to deal with a wayward member of the community. You’ll feel their frustration whenever Mike is on the screen, and sense the power he seems to hold over them. Morten Hee Andersen won Best TV Series Actor for this role at the Danish Film Awards. The series also won Best TV Series at the Copenhagen and Geneva television festivals.
Deliver Us aired in Denmark from October 2019 under the title Fred til Sands.