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Sunday, October 3 at 9 p.m. Wallander II, a Masterpiece Mystery! series

(Rochester, NY) Kenneth Branagh (Henry V, Hamlet, Shackleton) returns to his remarkable Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated role as the soul searching Swedish cop created by best-selling novelist Henning Mankell, on Wallander II, three gripping new Kurt Wallander cases based on the books that launched the craze for Nordic thrillers, airing on Masterpiece Mystery ! Sundays, October 3, 10, and 17, 2010 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT 21.1/cable 1011 and 11).

Critics were mesmerized with Branagh during last year’s premiere season of Wallander. Writing in The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley marveled, “Kenneth Branagh…is Wallander as he was conceived by his creator: a romantic hero with none of the mystique or physical attributes.”

Wallander II has Branagh back in top form in a performance greeted by rapturous UK critics as “a revelation” (The Telegraph), “close to perfect” (The Sunday Times), and “one of the great treats of contemporary television” (The Evening Standard). The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) could not agree more, honoring him with the Best Actor Award for 2010.

Set in the Swedish port town of Ystad, a crossroads of international crime and home-grown misfits and psychopaths, the series pits Wallander against serial killers, vigilantes, organ harvesters, and sadistic armed robbers.

Branagh is joined by David Warner (Titanic, Morgan!) as the elder Wallander, a painter who is losing his mind to Alzheimer’s, but worries about his son’s soul; Tom Hiddleston (Return to Cranford) as Wallander’s fellow cop Magnus, a crisp professional who both admires and resents his colleague’s chaotic style; Jeany Spark (Tess of the D’Urbervilles) as Wallander’s long-suffering daughter, Linda; and guest star Rupert Graves (The Forsyte Saga) as a wealthy philanthropist, whose altruism seems too good to be true.

The new season finds the down-at-the-heels sleuth nearing the end of his emotional rope—at odds with Linda, his father, his gyrating blood sugar, and coming to terms with having killed a man, but circumstances throw the following cases into his lap:

Faceless Killers—Sunday, October 3 at 9 p.m.
An elderly couple on a farm are tortured and murdered in a way that suggests the killers were trying to extract information. The woman’s dying word to Wallander: “foreigner”—or something like it. Unfortunately, this uncertain testimony leaks to the press and a vigilante campaign against migrant laborers begins—with deadly consequences. Wallander faces his own conflicting attitude toward foreigners when Linda begins dating a Syrian doctor. Racism, revenge, greed, and the search for justice prove a volatile mix, as the darker side of human nature erupts.

The Man Who Smiled—Sunday, October 10 at 9 p.m.
Scarred by the experience of shooting a man and on the verge of resigning from the force, Wallander is approached by an old friend. The man’s father has just died in a suspicious car crash. Distracted, Wallander refuses to investigate, but then his friend is found hanged. Both father and son have the same unusual injury to a bone in the neck, indicating murder. This double homicide soon points to a heinous conspiracy, where Wallander’s chief
informant is a resentful former Ystad cop who was fired for wrongful death.


The Fifth Woman—Sunday, October 17 at 9 p.m.

An elderly widower and bird watcher is tortured and killed with shocking barbarity. Then, it’s the turn of a flower shop manager. Yet another older man dies hideously before Wallander begins putting the pieces together, pointing at an avenging angel who is dispensing justice for past wrongs—terrible wrongs. Complicating the picture is Wallander’s ailing father, turning the crumpled cop into an emotional wreck as he races to save the “angel’s” next deserving victim.

Pictured: Kenneth Branagh as Wallander
Credit: Courtesy of ©Left Bank

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