Dicte – Crime Reporter, Season 3

Iben Hjejle in Dicte

Season 3 of the Danish drama Dicte is now on U.S. Netflix. If you’re a fan of this female led crime series, as I am, I suggest you watch it ASAP. Netflix seems to have trouble with the licensing of this series and you never know how long it will be available. The series is mostly in Danish, with English subtitles.

Dicte stars Iben Hjejle as journalist and crime solver Dicte Svendsen. Season 3 is an emotional roller coaster ride for Dicte – full of joy, tears, fear, danger, and discovery. Beware the occasional spoilers.

Season 3 is structured like season 2. Each crime gets a two episode treatment. There are 5 crimes in the 10 episode series. Some of the story lines, like the relationship between Dicte and Bo (Dar Salim) carry over the whole season. The chief writers are women: Dorthe W. Høgh and Ida Maria Rydén.

Iben Hjejle and Dar Salim in Dicte

The season begins with Dicte and Bo’s wedding. It’s a joyous moment for this couple who had many ups and downs in the first 2 seasons.

The Characters in Season 3

Iben Hjejle and Dar Salim in Dicte

Happy, smiling, beautiful Dicte is madly in love with Bo. Enjoy it while you can. Bo is sent to Lebanon on a story. While he’s there, he and the reporter with him are kidnapped and held in Syria for ransom.

Lars Brygmann and Iben Hjejle in Dicte

Dicte goes to the homicide detective John Wagner (Lars Brygmann) and the new boss of the newspaper Steffen Adreck (Claus Riis Østergaard) for help in raising the ransom. She and Wagner go to Syria with money to free Bo. What happens there affects everything that comes after in the 3rd season.

Bo does something that he regrets and feels guilt and shame about while in the Middle East. He withdraws from Dicte when he gets back. She spends much of her time agonizing over their relationship and talking about it to anyone who will listen.

John Wagner is shot during the exchange of money for Bo.

Linda Bendtsen (Ditte Ylva Olsen), Wagner’s partner, decides to leave the Aarhas police force and go to Copenhagen. Without Wagner there, and with her relationship with her married boss Louise Holm (Andrea Vagn Jensen) in the toilet, she sees it as time to go.

Søren Malling and Stine Stengade in Dicte

In the place of Wagner and Bendtsen, we get two new cops. One is Wagner’s ex wife Nina Storm (Stine Stengade). She was a cop, left in disgrace because of drinking too much, but has come back to Aarhus to be with her son. She is rehired by the police. No one quite trusts her at first. She’s put in the evidence room. Dicte likes her and she gets involved in solving all the crimes Dicte brings her. She quickly advances to homicide. She’s brilliant at her job.

The other new cop is Tonni (Søren Malling), the head of the homicide department. He doesn’t like women on the job. He subjects Nina to sexual harassment. He lies to Louise Holm about who is solving the cases and takes credit for Nina’s work. It’s a bad situation, but Nina finds a creative way to deal with Tonni.

Iben Hjejle, Lærke Winther Andersen, and Emilie Kruse in Dicte - Crime Reporter
Dicte with Anne and her daughter Rose.

Best friend Anne (Lærke Winther Andersen) and Dicte’s ex Torsten (Lars Ranthe) are now married and have infant twin sons. Anne gets her dream job and is too busy to care for her sons or listen to Dicte go on about how she doesn’t understand what’s bothering Bo. Nevertheless, the friendship between these two women is strong and underpins both their lives.

Flemming Enevold in Dicte

Early in the season, while raising money to free Bo, Dicte goes to her rich biological father Christian Oxholm (Flemming Enevold). They form a tenuous relationship and Dicte even stays at his house some of the time. That’s where she learns she has a half-sister Maj (Laura Christensen), a person her father wants nothing to do with. But, of course, Dicte definitely wants to get to know her new sister.

Meeting Maj involves Dicte in the final crime of the season, a stalking case.

Dicte’s daughter Rose (Emilie Kruse) learns she’s pregnant this season. There’s some drama around who the father is. Rose makes Dicte a grandmother before the season ends.

The Crimes

In “After the Wedding” parts I and II, the kidnapping and ransom of Bo are the topic. These two episodes are tense and exciting and full of danger for everyone.

In “In Wagner’s Footsteps” parts I and II, Dicte meets a 9 year old girl. Wagner promised her that he would find her missing mother. Dicte takes on this investigation. With Nina Storm’s help, they find the missing mom and the person who killed her. This crime takes Dicte to a Jehovah’s Witness summer camp that she went to as a child.

In “When the Mind is Ill” parts I and II, Rose is working in a psychiatric unit where two mysterious murders take place. Rose is in some danger herself there. Dicte and Nina solve this one, too, of course.

“The Price of Addiction” parts I and II deal with gambling addiction and gambling debts. Nina Storm’s alcohol addiction comes into the story again. These two episodes are the most dangerous for Dicte, because she gets abducted by the killer. They are almost the end of Nina’s career for the second time, too. When Nina finally figures out that help is needed, she’s staggering around drunk trying to stop a killer and rescue Dicte.

Iben Hjejle and Stine Stengade in Dicte

I formed a real liking for Nina Storm. She’s a great character: flawed, brilliant. I’d love to see more of her. I also liked the crime-solving relationship that developed between Dicte and Nina. They didn’t quite trust each other, but they made a great team.

The stalking case involving Dicte’s newly discovered sister completed the season with “Every Man is an Island” parts I and II. Dicte’s bio-dad wanted nothing to do with Maj, which put Dicte off him a bit. She had a hard time learning to trust her sister as well. Maj behaved crazily, moved a lot, and wanted money from Dicte. Dicte stuck with her and did something completely surprising to protect her sister and nephew and bring and end to the stalking case.

Thematic Elements

The crimes often deal with the relationship between parents and children, a three-season-long theme in Dicte’s life. The message is about family – building a family, the family you wish you’d had, the way to protect and serve the family you love, the way families treat each other, loyalty to those you love.

Friendship between women is another strong theme in this series. Anne has been there, but a new friendship with Nina comes into the 3rd series. Both are valuable in different ways.

The feminist idea that women are as adept at solving crimes as men is also a powerful theme carrying though this series.

There’s a subplot around the theme of modern day communications and reporting. The failing print newspaper that Dicte worked for has a new boss, young and hip new employees. It is all online. Dicte is skeptical of this at first, but finds the young reporters are as good at their jobs as she is. Season 3 came out before the American media failures of the recent U.S. election. In this Danish setting, respect for modern online journalism wins out.

Is that a Wrap?

The closure of all the cases and the emotional closure to several of the story lines in season 3 made the last episode feel like the end. The issues that brewed between Dicte and Bo, Anne and Torsten, and Rose and her baby’s possible fathers were wrapped up in a nice pink bow. There are no cliffhangers and nothing to indicate that a 4th season is anticipated.

Season 3 dealt with relationships as much as crimes. I got a bit fatigued with Dicte crying about Bo to everyone around her, but it did form the thread that held season 3 together.

I enjoyed Dicte very much. The way Iben Hjejle plays her is perfection. It’s one of my favorite series. What are your thoughts about this Danish drama?

43 thoughts on “Dicte – Crime Reporter, Season 3”

  1. I have been watching Dicte on Netflix since season 1. I was excited to learn that there would be a season 3 (season 2 ended in such a way as to suggest there would be another season but I wasn’t sure it would make it to the US). I’m only on episode 3 of the new season but I’m enjoying it so far. I will miss Wagner (did the actor want off of the show?). And I will be a bit sad if there is no season 4. I like that the show has had themes carried over from season to season. We see Dicte grow as a person and her relationships tested and strengthened. Some of the dialogue seems a bit stiff at times but I bet that is the result of cultural differences rather than bad writing.

    I’m glad Netflix has brought shows like this and Rita and Hinterland to American audiences, shows we’d have no other way to see.

    1. I agree, some of the best TV is coming out of other places. I’ve enjoyed Dicte, and Rita, and Hinterland just as you have. I’m also quite impressed with some of the Australian TV series we’ve been seeing lately. And I’m a big fan of the BBC dramas written by Sally Wainwright.

      1. i’ve watched Wentworth, which reminds me a bit of an Australian show from the ’70s, which i think was called “Prisoner of Cellblock H.” what are your recommendations for other Australian and BBC shows (I love “The Fall” and “Broadchurch” and “Happy Valley.”)?

        1. I thought the Australian series “The Principal” was very good. Also the Australian series “Secret City.” The British series “Marcella” was interesting, but convoluted. There’s a series from the BBC called “River” that is excellent. There’s a French series called “Witnesses” that you would probably enjoy. I review all of them but “Secret City” here on the blog.

          1. all but “Secret City” were already on my list. “Marcella” was very very good, but as you say, a bit convoluted. I could see how there could be another series for that one, but not really for “River,” which seemed to effectively tell his story in the one series.

    1. That is how I felt when his character, John Wagner was shot and killed in Lebanon.Lars Brygmann was graceful, intelligent, grounded and always a resting place during the self indulgent hysterics and tantrums of Dicte, that are so numerous and tiresome they are a ‘padding’ allowing writers to waste screen time on useless dramatics.

  2. Wagner was my favourite character, but I kept on watching. I could have done with a fourth season. Just loved the series and wouldn’t have discovered it without you.

      1. i just finished watching episode 10. i think you are correct, Ms. DeBolt – that was a series finale. as i look back over the season, it seems clear to me that they knew this was the last season. if not, then they certainly didnt know that there would be a fourth season, so they gave their loyal fans a nice wrap up for this phase of our heroine’s life. if there were to be additional series, it will find her at a new place in her life, both literally and figuratively. my guess is that it would take place a few years after this last episode. but really, i cant see what more they would do with the character. i think we will have to be satisfied with re watching the three series.

  3. Just finished season I & II on Netflix. Each episode in two parts, leaves you spell bound and tense and when personal lives are at stake. Yes I can deal with subtitles. American TV needs to take lessons when it comes to this type of series. Dicte is worth watching. Danish TV has got right when it come to this series of this caliber. Next stop, season III.

  4. I loved Dicte! & was so sad to watch the last episode, it seemed like a finale to me. She left her key on the table in an empty house & closed the door. that is definitely symbolic of an ending. Thanks everyone for giving me some suggestions for new shows to watch!

  5. Dicte is a great show with vibrant characters and great acting. Resurrect Wagner and continue this show for another 10 seasons! And please, pronounce Iben’s whole name slowly and out loud. And just for the fun of it, why not a couple
    of episodes mostly in English? I still can’t figure out the Danish pronunciation of ‘Wagner’.

    1. The character ‘Wagner’ portrayed and shared a sense of gravity with fragility and patience.. a series with him at the helm would fly, and omit vacuous, irritating silliness of ‘Dicte’ whose writers were working out misguided ‘feminism’ disguised as an overgrown girl guide attempting to prove herself by impossibly risky antics based on irrational,emotional flailing.

      1. arent most such shows, whether headed by male or female characters, based on a lead who does things that dont make sense to the viewer? Wagner, he of gravity, fragility and patience, was a police officer who regularly let a reporter interfere in his work, giving her information to which she shouldnt have had access and often having the crime solved by that reporter. the writers strained credulity with him as much as they did for Dicte.

        1. From lofty oak, or turret glass, mockery doth fall upon indifferent grass { verbatum descriptives of Wagner’s character quote}

  6. I gave up on the show before the end of the season. I almost never do that with a show that has my loyalty but killing off Wagner was unforgivable. And I might have been more willing to live with that had they built up Bensten’s part– but they wrote her out. And I don’t see why because honestly, all the stuff with Storm and Tonni might have worked better for me with an established character like Bensten.

    The result was the whole police side of things there was a completely new drama with characters I didn’t know and didn’t care to know. My loyalty was to Wagner and Bensten. And as much as I love Soren Malling, I found he was playing a cartoon character most of the time. And they lost me with Storm admittedly with “Oh I was an actress but I’m going back to being a homicide detective.” but they didn’t get me back by having her deal with alcoholism and sexism in the police force– which encompasses cop show cliches of the 1990s.

    But Wagner’s death wasn’t my only problem. They seemed to want to dismantle everything I liked about Dicte: the relationship with Bo going from bad to really worse to ugly was painful to watch. Anne’s move from emotional core of the show to pod person was similarly painful.

    Dicte a pretty safe and predictable crime procedural, but the characters and relationships were what made the first two seasons so damn binge-watchable on Netflix. But season 3 does away with all of that and replaced it all I don’t care about (I really had zero interest in Dicte’s real father). Even if it came back I’d probably never watch.

    Also: you have to feel for Dar Salim. Lars Brygmann leaves and Salim moves up to second position in the opening credits, only the makers don’t bother to actually change the visuals so now Salim’s credit comes up over clips of Wagner. You’d think the makers, knowing that one of the characters was being killed off, would have made a new version. But that’s this season all over… no one’s minding the store.

    1. Thanks for such thoughtful comments. You aren’t the only one to miss Wagner’s character. I haven’t seen anything about why they did that – I don’t know if he had other commitments and wanted off the show, or if they wanted to bring in all new cast for the police.

      I didn’t even notice Dar Salim’s credits in the opening being over Brygmann’s image. Glad you pointed it out.

      1. I’m sure there were exigent reasons for killing off Wagner: Lars Brygmann may have wanted to leave or Brygmann (or the producers) felt they had taken the character as far as it could go (and in all honesty, I could accept that. you can’t do two seasons where the character makes himself vulnverable with a woman only to have the rug pulled out from under him at the last minute. You’ve done the same trick of making him compelling while saying “Dicte you’re not welcome in this investigation” two seasons in a row!)

        Obviously I wish they could have decided differently, but I found it more galling that they didn’t have an endgame for replacing him. Boosting Bensten’s part (and I think she had depths where a conflict with Tonni might have worked) or rejigging the focus away from the police might have been better than parachuting in two characters I don’t know (and one of whom we’re supposed to have sympathy only because she was married to Wagner) in a tedious storyline I don’t care about that just makes me miss the quiet professionalism of Wagner and Bensten all the more.

    2. Was already limping through an unidentifiable unease throughout this show, and when Wagner died, my hand, as though commanded by his indignant ghost, fled swftly, sadly to ‘brouse’. That loss and sorrow are merely salved by grousing here.

  7. An aside for all the Lars Brygmann fans who watched Dicte. The Danish series “Borgen” included him and was an outstanding series. It ended in 2013, but DVDs of the show are available.

    1. Not ready to move out of my sorrow, yet. However, will feebly rise, eventually, perhaps with few tears,accepting that Lars Brygmann is resurrected from pages of uncaring writers { of Dicte }.

    2. I had no idea Lars Brygmann was Troels in Borgen! He’s such a chameleon of a character actor. Now I want to rewatch Borgen. One of the best TV series about politics ever.

  8. There is another really great Danish show to watch: Lykke. It’s maybe 5 years old by now. Just like Dicte and Rita, The series revolves around a working woman, this time Lykke who gets a job in communications at a Pharmaceutical company. Her boss is the hopeless klutz Flemming, played by Lars Wagner. His character is so different that, at first I didn’t recognise him when starting to watch Dicte. Dictes ex-husband is also in the show as are a few other smaller “parts”. Locke is struggling with her working life, her love life, her family. It’s a drama-comedy-with a touch of romance. Fantastic script, and acting w some of the best actors in Denmark in it.

  9. I am so connected to these characters. So real, fragile and unglamorous. I find this series so refreshingly non Hollywood. Unfiortunately With season 3 I am actually sad watching the struggles of Dicte and Bo. I visited Denmark a few years back and I’m very compelled by the political and social issues recreated in what i thought was a much more utopian Society. Here in the US universal health care education etc and acceptance of all looks appealing. But maybe not so much. Loved Wagner. Missing him.
    Please more of the very real Dicte

    1. A ‘utopian’ community was dreamed up by Sir Thomas More in 1516, describing a fictional island society & suggest considering perfection from that dream, and remind self of Eugene Delacroix ~ ” Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything” .

  10. Am I the only one who found the shortcuts to resolution preposterous in season 3 finale? Anne a patient in a hospital gown & EKG leads one minute, perfectly coifed in her nurses uniform delivering Rose’s baby the next. And Dicte’s scene on the roof– what, she always has a blonde wig in her purse just in case? WTF! So weak and slapdash. I didnt feel like the show was rewarding my loyalty; the writers obviously wanted to move on. Very disappointing end to a series I enjoyed very much. I had almost forgiven them for killing off their best character.

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