Modus’ Melinda Kinnaman on Swedish Christmas and her favourite bits of Stockholm

The star of BBC4's creepy thriller likes to go for walks on a royal island and eat at a themed restaurant


Modus isn’t the best advert for Stockholm. The Swedish drama – which is out on DVD this week – is about a forensic psychologist’s hunt for a serial killer.


Unsurprisingly, Melinda Kinnaman is much jollier than her on-screen character so we binned our grisly questions and asked her about pleasanter subjects instead: her plans for Christmas and her favourite corners of Stockholm.

How do people in Sweden celebrate Christmas?

We celebrate on 24th and eat ham, pickled herring and potatoes and drink schnapps. Every time you drink you have to sing a song. And then in my family we have a turkey dinner on the 25th because we’re half-American.

But this year I’m going to Cape Town in South Africa with my whole family. My brother has rented a couple of houses by the sea there so we’re going to have a warm Christmas. I’m very fortunate to have a brother that’s both rich and very generous.

Melinda Kinnaman in action in Modus

Do you get into the festive spirit or are you more of a Scrooge?

No I love Christmas but what I love is just spending the day with my family. I’m not at all particular. My stepmother was asking: “Shall we bring Swedish Christmas food to Cape Town?” I’m like: “I can eat anything!” But other people in my family said of course we have to bring pickled herring, special sausages and Swedish meatballs.

We’re not big on presents in my family. Last year everybody gave something to Unicef or Save the Children. Sometimes we get one present each and say it’s from Santa Claus, and then everyone gets to take one present.

Are you a born and bred Stockholmer?

I am. My mother and father are from the States. But they came here in 1971 when my mother was five months pregnant, so I was born in Sweden. Now I have a dual citizenship but up until 2003 I was an American citizen with a permanent residency in Sweden.

Where is your favourite area of Stockholm?

Stockholm is built on several different islands and we have this one island called Djurgården, which translates as “the animal’s garden”. The King owns it and it’s a cross between a park and woods. They also have an amusement park, the ABBA museum and the Vasa Museum, which is a ship that sailed for only 300m before it sunk in the 17th century, and they’ve made a beautiful ship museum out of that horrible failure.

Grona Lund amusement park on Djurgården

Do you have a favourite restaurant?

I just had lunch at a fantastic restaurant called Woodstockholm. They have different themes. At the moment the theme is “noir”, so right now everything on the menu has some kind of connection to noir. Once when I ate there the theme was the underworld. Everything is very local, organic and just delicious. You can have a reasonably priced lunch or dinner costs a bit more, but it’s so worth it. It’s an experience.

Where do you go to escape the crowds?

In Stockholm there aren’t big crowds! There are a few around the central station and the one big shopping street, but otherwise it’s not that busy. Because it’s built on islands and we don’t have that many skyscrapers, you often see water and a lot of sky.

Djurgården is very close to the National Theatre where I work, so if I have time off between rehearsals and the performance in the evening, I’ll go for a walk there.

For first-timers to the city, is there anything you’d particularly recommend?

I think you should visit the old town and the ship museum. That sounds strange but it’s fantastic. When it sank, it was buried in mud so everything is preserved – it’s the oldest ship of this kind that’s preserved in this way and they’ve made such a good museum out of it.

The main square, Stororget, in Stockholm’s old town Gamla Stan

Definitely Djurgården for nature and for the views. You can see the different islands from there. I would also say Södermalm, the “south” island, where I live. There is a big hill where you can do a walk with a spectacular view over the whole city.

Modus is out now on Blu-ray and DVD 

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