Beforeigners is Nordic sci-fi that brings up the past

Nicolai Cleve Broch and Krista Kosonen in Beforeigners

Beforeigners, season 1, is HBO Max’s first original series from Norway. This sci-fi mystery is set in modern day Norway, but it’s full of people from the past who pop up in the harbor and don’t know how they got there.

Beforeigners characters can come from as long ago as 1000 years or from the 1900s. The streets are filled with all the modern urban sights, as well as people with goats, dressed in ancient costumes, spearing fish, or cooking over open fires. Some of the beforeigners integrate with the modern world, some do not.

Alfhildr Enginsdottir (Krista Kosonen) is one who integrated. She’s now a cop, working with Lars Haaland (Nicolai Cleve Broch). Alfhildr is the first trans-temporal person to be added to the police department. Some of the cops welcome her, some try to sabotage everything she does. Lars is skeptical at first, but comes to trust her.

Lars has problems of his own. His right hand is useless due to a repeated stress injury. He really should be home on sick leave. He’s an addict. He uses ‘temproxate,’ an eye drop that is given to the time travelers when they first arrive. Nevertheless, he’s working.

Their fellow cop Wenche (Ragnhild Gudbrandsen) hates Alfhildr the most, and deliberately gives her a defective revolver. The gun accidentally discharges and hits Lars in the calf. So the crime solving team consists of a hot-tempered Viking and a man with three problems that should keep him out of service.

The case that starts the police off on a hunt that leads in many directions involves a woman they find on the beach. She’s from before. At first they assume she drowned, but Lars realizes she was murdered.

Krista Kosonen and Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir in Beforeigners

Alfhildr discovers Urd (Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir). They were Shield Maidens together about 1000 years ago. They fought with Tore Hund against the Christian gods. They still feel very connected and Urd is a key character in all 6 episodes.

So many people arrive from the past that the religious wars fought long ago and won by the Christians begin again.

As the police investigate the murder, they run into all sorts of people and situations. The case involves beforeigner women taken into prostitution.

Oddgeir Thune in Beforeigners

Navn (Oddgeir Thune) is one person of interest. He has a ton of money, which apparently comes from his business as a pimp. He walks around naked most of the time and hunts for dinner by beaning bunnies with rocks in the forest around his house. He’s married to a modern woman who has a very popular blog.

Nicolai Cleve Broch and Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin in Beforeigners

Ingrid (Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin), Lars’ daughter, brings in a subplot involving her friend Madeleine (Madeleine Malling Breen).

Alfhildr starts an affair with a harbor cop, Jeppe (Odd-Magnus Williamson), and he turns out to be important.

Stig Henrik Hoff, Krista Kosonen, and Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir in Beforeigners

Alfhildr and Urd meet Tommy (Stig Henrik Hoff). He delivers food on a bike and lives a quiet life with his wife and daughter. But they knew each other before and he becomes another important figure.

I’ll stop listing characters and simply say that the mystery the police work on, the sci-fi elements of people crossing over time, and the personal lives of the characters all weave into a complex story. At the end of the final episode of season 1, a surprise twist opens up a new storyline for season 2 that will be equally complex.

In terms of the police case, it was well plotted and delivered with interesting twists and surprises. The sci-fi elements of the story had puzzling plot holes. Overall, it was interesting and compelling television and worth watching. Science fiction fans and mystery fans will both find things to enjoy.

The series was written by Anne Bjørnstad and Eilif Skodvin. Jens Lien directed all 6 episodes.

I was attracted to the song that opened each episode, “Ain’t No Love In the Heart of the City” by Bobby “Blue” Bland. When a different song was used in the opening sequence of episode 6, it was quite a surprise.

Poster for Beforeigners

Here’s the season 1 trailer.

Are you going to give this one a try?

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

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