Dicte: A Danish series about a Crime Reporter

Iben Hjejle in Dicte

Netflix is now streaming the Danish series Dicte. The series is named for the title character, Dicte Svendsen, played by Iben Hjejle. Dicte is a crime reporter who goes back to her hometown of Aarhus after a divorce.  She has an 18 year old daughter named Rose (Emilie Kruse) and an ex-husband (Lars Ranthe) who hopes for a reconciliation.

Mild spoilers ahead.

The series is subtitled in English. This is a review of season 1 only. (Here’s my review of season 2 of Dicte.)

Iben Hjejle as Dicte. Photo by Jeppe Michael Jensen.
Iben Hjejle as Dicte. Photo by Jeppe Michael Jensen.

Iben Hjejle may be familiar to American audiences from Wallander, Defiance and High Fidelity. The show follows the tradition of other successful Danish series with well-written female leads such as The Killing and Borgen and the Swedish series Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter. Dicte’s definitely a well-written character. She works closely with the police, but often leaps to wrong conclusions based on her own background. She’s an excellent investigator and often is instrumental in helping solve crimes.

Dicte’s background is an important part of the story. I won’t give you spoilers, but she has a troubled history that colors her behavior at work and her personal life.

Dicte at a crime scene with the police
Iben Hjejle and Lars Brygmann in Dicte. Ditte Ylva Olsen has her back to the camera in the background.

The police officers Dicte often interacts with are John Wagner (Lars Brygmann) and Bendtsen (Ditte Ylva Olsen). You may recognize Lars Brygmann from Borgen – here he’s a more likable character. Wagner and Bendtsen banter about Bendtsen’s sex life a good bit when they aren’t investigating a crime. Bendtsen has a long string of female sex partners, a fact that seems to fascinate Wagner. She’s a terrific investigator and regularly gives Wagner the info he needs to make a case.

Ditte Ylva Olsen in Dicte.
Ditte Ylva Olsen in Dicte.

Ditte Ylva Olsen is fairly new to acting, but there are lots of photos of her dancing.

Two friends of Dicte’s play important parts. They are Anne (Lærke Winther Andersen) and Ida Marie (Lene Maria Christensen).

Lærke Winther Andersen as Anne. Fortunately for a the storylines, she's a midwife. Very convenient.
Lærke Winther Andersen as Anne. Fortunately for the storylines, she’s a midwife. Very convenient.
Lene Maria Christensen as Ida Marie.
Lene Maria Christensen as Ida Marie. She has a new baby and a not-so-secret crush on John Wagner.

Another major character is Bo, (Dar Salim) a photographer from the newspaper where Dicte works.

Dar Salim
Iben Hjejle and Dar Salim in Dicte

American audiences will know Dar Salim from Game of Thrones. He was in the Danish version of The Bridge and in Borgen. He’s a major hunk. Dicte notices.

Dicte’s family and personal life are significant parts of her story arc. The crimes that Wagner investigates and Dicte reports on are often related to Dicte’s backstory in one way or another – a fact that sometimes makes her emotionally involved with the people or the crimes she’s reporting about.

I was impressed with the other Danish series about real and layered women that I mentioned above. This series doesn’t disappoint by following in their footsteps. The actors are excellent, the stories are interesting. The characters are real and complex. I recommend that you take Dicte for a spin on Netflix. I think you’ll like it.

Trailers

Unfortunately there are no English subtitles on the trailers, but you can get a sense of the action from them.

This one begins with the same material, but there are new scenes starting about halfway through.

Update

In December 2015, Netflix US obtained season 2 of Dicte. Here’s my review of season 2 of Dicte.

75 thoughts on “Dicte: A Danish series about a Crime Reporter”

  1. I loved Annika Bengtzon so I will give this a watch. For me, I seem to love the foreign TV shows more then the Amicans. The stories seem better as well as the acting.

  2. I watched the first two seasons – love the storylines. The only actor I didn’t like was “Bo” who I suppose was meant to be a heart throb, but just isn’t – bad casting there. He can’t act either. But the plot, visual aesthetics of the backdrops and the acting, for the most part, are all done extremely well – much better than most. Can’t wait for the next season (hoping Bo will get bumped off).

  3. I loved this series and it amazes me how quickly I got used to the sub-titles. It beggars belief however, after Dicte’s understandable obsession with her son in the first series that there would not even be a mention of him in the second. It is a glaring absence that distracts from the overall excellence of the show.
    No comments from her, Anne, Rose – no one, about Peter. Nothing to explain his utter absence – no comment like (for instance) how much she misses him but wasn’t it great that he’d gone away to school. Or wasn’t it horrific the way he got hit by a bus after the wonderful party they through for him… It wouldn’t have taken up a lot of plot space, but it would have helped. His complete and utter absence is distracting.

    1. I haven’t seen the second series yet (Netflix isn’t offering it where I am), but he was such an important part of the first season. Wanting consistency from writers is a big part of getting hooked on a story, to me.

    2. I just finished watching the two seasons on Netflix here in Canada. I loved the show. But I agree with you that writers dropped the ball with regards to Dicte’s son. I understand that they wanted the ’emotional arc’ of the second season to be about her relationship with her parents, but it definitely felt like sloppy writing to completely omit any mention of him. Similarly, I was bothered by the way Ida Marie completely disappeared. They mention in passing that she moved to Germany in the first episode of the season, which doesn’t make any narrative sense, considering the last we heard from her was that she was leaving her husband (who is the one who wanted to move to Germany). Ida Marie was so close to Dicte and Anna, so it seems bizarre that there would be no other mentions of her throughout the second season (phone calls to Germany, etc). In this case, I suspect it was probably due to the show’s budget. ie, they needed to add Grace as a supporting character, so they ditched the ‘least important’ friend.

  4. Absolutely loved the show! Have watched both seasons and am waiting for more!!! I too found the absence of Peter quite odd. The subtitles were done so well that I was at once completey engrossed in the show! Excellent!

      1. I love the show and am waiting for season 3. Please give us more of the excellent Scandinavian movies, i.e. The Swedish “Wallander series,” as well as “Beck”. These are very good movies. No problem with subtitles.

  5. Very much enjoyed both series of Dicte on Netflix. The characters really get into your heart, and there is humour and good cinematography. Hoping for a 3rd! Will check into Dicte II, though it may just be a renaming for the 2nd series?

    Thanks for the info,

    G

  6. Just watched Seasons 1 & 2 on Netflix Canada. Binge watching on my weekend off (which coincided with a snowstorm today). Can’t wait for Season 3!

  7. I love that Dicte has made it’s way abroad. I’m a Scandinavian girl and I love Iben Hjejle and this amazing show.
    As for “Dicte II” – I’m 99% certain that it was just another name for the second season. The imdb information is not always correct when it comes to small productions like Danish tv shows. According to Dicte’s facebook page, there’s no news of a third season (or any spin-offs) yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for another season, though!

    1. Thank you for your comment! The Dicte Facebook page is in Danish, and although translations are provided, they are always a bit iffy. It seems to me that all of Europe neglects IMDB, I wish it were otherwise, but it’s often hard to get good info on any European series or actor there.

  8. Another great show from Europe..thank you Netflix! I really enjoyed the Annika Bengtzon program. This one is very similar….great plot development, interesting story lines, and superb acting. Highly recommended for murder mystery crime story buffs.

  9. Watched all of season 1 in marathon fashion and am anxious for season 2 to become available. Stories are good, actors are all excellent. Wagner is fascinating–cool, aloof, and a sweet cupcake. Dicte….amazing and tough. More please!

  10. I’m 3/5 of the way through Season Two. In addition to no sign of the son Peter, there’s no sign of Ida Marie either. She was mentioned quite early in the first episode of Season 2.

    This is a well made series that occasionally causes eye-rolls because of Dicte’s abilities to think out of the box, and find things usually ahead of the police. But the show works best as it seamlessly blends Dicte’s personal and professional lives. And that’s what I love best about the show.

  11. I love Dicte’s passion for life, love and her work. She’s and addictive character. We just finished season 1 last night and are dying to start season 2. Come on netflix!

  12. I totally agree with all of the other positive comments from Americans. I binge watched the first season and eagerly await the second on Netflix. I will write to them to request season 2 asap! This is a quality series!

      1. I couldn’t find it so just asked the help people to pass it along to the right department. Probably a futile effort! I will check in with Netflix periodically to see if they have added season 2. I, too, enjoy the foreign women-centric mysteries. Loved Scott snd Bailey and Vera! Any others that you can recommend?

          1. Thanks! Just downloaded Rita and look forward to it since I was a teacher in CA for 35 years. Loved happy Valley and Halifax- in fact, anything that SW does! Loved Luther too , albeit a bit tough to watch. Favorite was George Gently series too

  13. We just finished watching season two of Dicte on Netflix. The story line was excellent and we were totally engrossed in all the episodes. However, we found some of the episode’s English subtitles were not in synch with what was unfolding on the screen. A little disconcerting, but still a very enjoyable show to watch. Loved the story and all the subplots.

    1. You must be watching on Netflix Canada or something. In the USA season two is not available yet. So sad! I’m eagerly awaiting it!

  14. I watched Season 1 over the past 2 weeks — really enjoyed the show and am eager for Netflix to make season 2 available (I’m in the US)!

  15. This is the fourth or fifth Danish series that I’ve watched on Netflik. I search for BBC or Danish productions given their overall quality. I love the complextity and credibility of the characters. Well written and well produced. As a bonus, I enjoy the avant-garde architecture one occasionally gets a glimpse of in the program.

  16. Dicte, Season 2 is now streaming on DailyMotion, though the captions are a tad off (they’re translated from Danish to Swedish & then to English via Google Translate). It’s every bit as good as the first season, so I’m looking forward to Dicte II!

  17. Excellent show! I just finished the first season on Netflix and cannot wait for the second. Any suggestions for a similar series?

  18. Dicte was appealing and impossible to stop watching from the first scene. I disagree about the quality of the writing, though. The characters were all beguiling and the acting topnotch, casting perfect – which is why some of the absurd plotting was so annoying. Some of it, particularly in the last 4 episodes, was straight out of U.S. Daytime soap operas. I will not post any spoilers, but if you watched the Alan Alda episode on 30 Rock, you might find episode 8 hard to take seriously. I wish this wonderful program had writers equal to the quality of the acting and directing. Loved having real adults playing adult roles

  19. I love the show but would have to agree that the plots have holes you could drive a truck through. Dicte goes on her own anywhere she wants. She finds a little boy in a closet. No one else thought to look through the house? Would the little boy have died otherwise? Silly. She goes to the cremator’s place and walks right in. She gets everywhere before Wagner does. Predictable about what will happen next. Who didn’t know that was her son? That said, great fun and compulsive to watch.

  20. The second season of Dicte is now on Netflix and its a very enjoyable show.

    I have also seen all of Rita and that, too, is a great show. No idea if there will be a season 4.

  21. Thoroughly disappointed when season 2 ended-wanted more. Have to disagree with comments about Bo. Think he is a heart throb and also can act. I mean that megawatt smile is pretty special. Wish Netflix would have a way of communicating whether or not they are going to continue a series. When a season ends, they could give the audience a heads up. It’s very frustrating. I am waiting for River, more Wallander, The Bridge, and more and have no idea if I have to go elsewhere to view.

    1. I don’t know if you clicked through to read my review of season 2 of Dicte, but there is an announcement at the end of it that season 3 is in the works. No idea when Netflix will pick it up, however.

  22. This is a great show and I love hearing the language. I didn’t know at first that the lead did American films too so I was really surprised when early on she breaks into perfect English with barely a detectable accent of any kind. Wow! I hope Netflix picks up all the episodes made of this terrific show.

  23. Shallow characters – a mom who had a son she obsessed over, found and then forgot about. Ida Marie was a lifelong friend, she moved a few miles south and was then immediately 100% forgotten. Dicte borrowed a dog, it was brutally murdered within hours and guess what, no guilt or remorse or apology to the dog’s owner, she just dragged it’s dead body around in a plastic bag….I couldn’t stop laughing. This is a Danish comedy.

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