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Prisoner – the Danish crime drama comes to BBC Four

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Danish crime show Prisoner with Sofie Grabol

The Killing star Sofie Gräbøl returns to our screens, swapping the knitwear for a prison-issue blue shirt in Prisoner, which begins airing on BBC Four at 9pm on Saturday 24 February 2024. It’s a crime show where the perpetrators are already in prison – but that doesn’t make things any easier.

Originally broadcast as Huset on Danish television, the show focuses on four main characters – new guard Sammi (Youssef Wayne Hvidtfeldt) and his veteran colleagues Henrik (David Dencik), Miriam (Sofie Gräbøl) and Gert (Charlotte Fich) are prison officers trying to maintain order in an aging Danish prison. It’s a difficult place to work, often violent and for some of them life outside the prison is just as hard. Gangs are more or less running life in the prison, drugs are rife and two prisoners die of overdoses.

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Seems this fellow has a message for young Sammi.

To save the prison from closure, two consultants arrive and a clean-up campaign begins. Perhaps the prison can be saved after all. But that would be too simple and when the hierarchy among prisoners is threatened the gang leaders hit back. On the one hand, the prisoners begin to suspect that there’s a snitch among them. On the other, perhaps one of the guards has been involved in the flow of substances into the jail. It’s something the cleanup operation might never be able to stop.

And the gangs… well, their reach extends beyond the walls of Huset and their violence can be felt close to home by the guards. In a way, the staff are kept prisoner too. Will they lose their jobs, their families, maybe even their lives?

David Dencik (No Time To Die, McMafia, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) has become one of Denmark’s leading actors.

Prisoner promises a complex, hard hitting portrait of life in a high security Danish jail. Its makers have focused on realism, which is seen in the acting and in the violence inside Huset. Prison overcrowding, lack of resources and an understaffed service are just the beginning, as the social critique extends to corruption, religion, clashes of culture and whether or not rehabilitation is even possible.

The programme consists of six one-hour episodes, with two broadcast each Saturday. It will also be available here on iPlayer.


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