Nordic crime fiction returns to Walter Presents today with the box set of the Icelandic crime drama Sisterhood now available to stream! Not so much a mystery, this is a show that looks at dark secrets from the past and what happens when they resurface – both literally and in the minds of three guilt-wracked women. Click here to start watching.
Let’s meet them…
Karlotta is a nurse. Played by Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir you’ll recognise her from the Icelandic series Trapped, and the Netflix sequel, Entrapped. She works in a hospital, helping patients who are recovering from surgery. But her mind is often elsewhere and she’ll try everything to calm it – tranquility music, meditation, group therapy, jogging… Her anxiety is about to go through the roof.
Then there is Anna Sigga, a chef in a busy restaurant. It’s difficult work because her boss won’t hire more staff to support her, despite her cooking talent. He’s the sort of man who asks why the slow cooked beef can’t be ready quicker. Although she works all the time, Anna Sigga lives in a tiny apartment with her teenage son and doesn’t have time to cook their own meals. Soon she’ll be moving to a catering service, but something might just put paid to those plans. Anna Sigga seems the most level-headed of the three and is played by Jóhanna Friðrika Sæmundsdóttir, a co-writer of Sisterhood.
Finally, there’s Elísabet – played by Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir, who again you may recognise if you watched Trapped. In the present day, she’s a vicar who is married to Pétur. She has a baby and a teenage stepdaughter to look after, as well as her flock. During a communion class she tells the youngsters that God always knows the truth. Ironically, of the three she is most forceful in arguing that their secret should remain buried.
However, she has no choice in the matter because in a lava field on the Snaefellsnes peninsula, north of Reykjavik, quarry workers have unearthed human remains. When this hits the news, Karlotta, Anna Sigga and Elísabet seem to know right away who the skeleton belongs to, even if the police don’t. The tension ramps up and they start to call and text each other, with the stress taking a particular toll on Karlotta.
With its tiny population, in Iceland there aren’t many degrees of separation between people. So it’s pretty true to life that Elísabet’s husband Pétur should speculate about a girl he knew who went missing two decades ago. He’s quite shaken by the news. Furthermore, his father is the sheriff of the district where the body was found. Can Elísabet use this to find out details about the investigation, or even influence it? Is there a danger that her inquisitiveness about the case will give the three away?
Soon, the police have an identity. Hanna Rutardóttir came from a difficult background and went missing at the turn of the millennium. All three knew her. What did they do to her and how did her body end up in a fissure on the lava flow?
“It’s not forgiven just because it happened a long time ago,” warns Elísabet. But Anna Sigga and Karlotta seem to want rid of the guilt.
This isn’t a show of icy winters, and the focus is more on the effect guilt has on the three women than the investigation. It has a suffocating rainy, dreary, foggy atmosphere, with the wonders of Snaefellsnes – its sharp, black lava formations and rich green mosses – forming the backdrop.
All six 45-minute episodes are now available on Walter Presents, and episode one will also air on Channel Four at 11:25pm on Monday 19 September. It originally aired in Iceland in 2021 as Systrabönd.