New to the UK, Nordic Noir series Dicte - Crime Reporter will be coming to DVD next month in its original 10-episode Danish format after airing on More4.
The series follows newly divorced journalist Dicte Svendsen (Iben Hjejle), who returns with her daughter Rose to her hometown of Aarhus, trying to escape the past and build a new future.
As a crime reporter though, she soon finds herself caught up in a case threatening to open old wounds when she discovers the body of a young woman.
We got the opportunity to chat to leading star Iben all about the series, why she thinks crime shows are so popular and more - read on to find out what she had to say...
What should British viewers expect from new series Dicte - Crime Reporter?
They should expect a modern take on the crime series genre which is a combination of the lighter relationship drama and some crime which is still on a very dark note. I think that combination, at least in Denmark, hasn't been seen that much. I know there's more tradition for that in England. But I think it fills out a gap between lighter comedy and crime.
You play lead character Dicte in the show - how did the casting process work for this series?
I was asked if I wanted to come in and have a talk with the first director, whom I had worked with before on a police series in Denmark.
I remember walking through the door and thinking, 'okay, I have to really make an effort here because this is absolutely a project I want to be a part of', and he basically said, 'okay well you're Dicte and in a moment we are going to have some of your colleagues friends come in and get them cast'.
So they had actually chosen me from the beginning which was absolutely amazing. So I didn't really have to go through a long process. I mean, I have been on the two longest running comedy shows in Denmark and also a long running police series as well, so I guess they thought they didn't need that whole process, it was more a question of me saying, 'do I want to do this or not?' And of course that took some contemplating as well, because I was living in a totally different part of Denmark and it was a year's worth of time. So I had to give it some thought.
My son is now 18, he was 15 at the time so it went alright. He was big enough to come with me when he wanted to and stay with his dad when he didn't want to.
Can you tell us about a typical day on set? If indeed there are any 'typical' days?
When you're working with TV in this country, you have no time and no money. It's always like that, so it has to be very routine. I would get woken up and almost go to work in my pyjamas and sit down in the makeup chair for maybe an hour, change into costume, go back to makeup if we needed to do a touch-up and then go down and start the first scene in the studio.
Then maybe 60% of the time we would be on location where we would have a film bus for the whole production and then I would have a small trailer and we would work from there. It's like a circus on the road so there's not much time for play when we are shooting the series. But obviously it becomes like a wonderful prolonged summer camp because you get very close to everyone on the production because it's been a small team of people.
What sort of preparation do you have to do for a role such as this one?
I was talking to a former lady who grew up with Jehovah's witnesses and got excluded because she wanted a divorce. She got kicked out of the Jehovah's witnesses and couldn't see her children for many years. So I spoke to her about how that had been.
I also went for a couple of days and followed a crime journalist who was actually at the time writing stories about the horrible Oslo shootings, the Anders Breivik killings. She was in the courtroom and was talking to all the parents and anyone left behind. It was extremely interesting seeing how a crime journalist works.
I felt like I had to do that because obviously my job as an actor is not always having the best relationship with the press, so it was interesting to see how that actually works, working as a journalist. I was very thankful for that as well.
What was the chemistry like on set when filming the series?
Just wonderful. I mean, my colleague who plays Wagner, I've known for many years and we always have the best time. He is a wonderful person and he's very smart. He always has like 10,000 notes in his script and I'm always like, 'Where is my script?'
He is very organised and almost like a co-director, which is interesting. It's good to have someone like that on set because we change directors every episode, so it's always good to have him filling them in and me doing various kinds of monkey business.
How difficult or easy do you find it to 'turn off' from work once you're done filming, especially with hard-hitting stuff such as this?
It's easy. I can easily put it aside. It's a question of training and education, I think. Actors have their talent, so actors know they are not themselves. The whole thing is a trick for all of you to believe we are not ourselves. It is much easier for us to jump in and out of that state of mind than it is for everyone else to believe that we do that.
Also, after a work day of 10-12 hours, you just tend to go home, put your pyjamas back on, lie in bed, watch TV and fall asleep, so there is not much time to contemplate, 'Am I out of character?' You just go home and go to sleep.
What do you think it is about Danish crime thrillers that really resonates with audiences around the world?
I think maybe it is that dark side. I remember I was surprised seeing the first season of The Killing. Our business is so small so I know all of them as my colleagues and I have for years. But it was amazing to see how different Dicte was from any show, even crime shows that we have ever had here. Maybe it is some new interesting writers coming out of the country. We've done it before with the Dogme films and it's happened again with the crime genre. Maybe because it's so dark here with seven months of pitch black... It gets you in the Gotham mood!
Finally, what's next for you in the coming weeks and months?
I am going to have time off now for quite some time after filming the third season. I've been working on Dicte for five and a half, almost six years, since we did the pilot. So I have taken this summer off. I am going to see if I can take care of some plants and try not to kill them! I get up early in the morning, go to the beach and go swimming. In September, I might start rehearsing a play here in Copenhagen, but I am still contemplating that. I might go back to Aarhus to see how it's doing.
Dicte - Crime Reporter season one is currently airing on More4 comes to DVD in the UK on July 11.