Kurt Wallander is one of the most well-known characters in Swedish fiction, having been played by numerous actors and appeared in various books, series and films – but a new Netflix series is set to show him like we’ve never seen him before.
Young Wallander takes a look at the detective’s early career, exploring a gruesome early case in his home city of Malmo and how it led him to become the character we know so well.
The titular role is played by Swedish actor Adam Pålsson, while he is joined by an impressive ensemble cast of largely British actors.
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast, including who they are playing and where you might have seen them before.
Adam Pålsson plays Kurt Wallander
Who is Kurt Wallander? Wallander is one of Sweden’s best known fictional detectives. The creation of author Henning Mankell, he has appeared in numerous TV shows – including a BBC series starring Kenneth Branagh. This series, as the title suggest, finds his younger than in previous incarnations, fresh-faced and relatively optimistic having just qualified as a cop, he soon becomes involved in a major case that leads sets him on a path to becoming the more world-weary version of the character we are more familiar with.
When he was cast in the role, Adam Pålsson said: “I couldn’t be more honoured and thrilled to have the opportunity to play the young Kurt Wallander, and to explore the defining events in the life of this complex, driven protagonist, created by the brilliant Henning Mankell. With a terrific cast and creative team, I have every confidence that our new version will resonate both in Sweden and with audiences worldwide.”
What else has Adam Pålsson been in? Swedish actor Pålsson might be recognisable to fans of The Bridge – he had a recurring role as art gallery guide Emil Larsson in the third season of the crime drama. Other screen roles include playing one of the leads in three-part Swedish series Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves, and the main role in Ted: För kärlekens skull, a Swedish music biopic released in 2018. He has also worked extensively in Sweden, including writing and performing his own version of Hamlet.
Richard Dillane plays Superintendent Hemberg
Who is Superintendent Hemberg? Superintendent Hemberg is Wallander’s superior in the Malmo police force, and has a penchant for listening to opera music as he drives around – a habit that Wallander fans will know the detective himself picks up in later years.
What else has Richard Dillane been in? Highlights from Dillane’s extensive filmography include appearances in Ben Affleck’s Oscar-winning historical thriller Argo and a small role in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as well as the multi-award-winning Australian film Oranges and Sunshine.
Leanne Best plays Frida Rask
Who is Frida Rask? Frida is another of Wallander’s superiors, and can have a no-nonsense approach to Wallander’s occasional maverick tendencies.
What else has Leanne Best been in? Best has appeared in a number of popular TV shows, including supporting roles in Line of Duty, Ripper Street and Black Mirror and Cold Feet. On the big screen, she had the titular role in Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death while also being part of the cast of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. She’s also worked on the stage – with a highlight including appearing in the Pulitzer-Prize winning play Sweat.
Ellise Chappell plays Mona
Who is Mona? Mona works for a charity that aims to improve conditions for Malmo’s refugee community and meets Wallander while counter-protesting at a right-wing March. The pair originally get off on the wrong foot – but their relationship soon develops into a romantic connection. Of course, in the original Wallander books, the name of the detective’s ex-wife is… Mona.
What else has Ellise Chappell been in? Chappell will be very familiar to UK audiences, having played the major role of Morwenna in Poldark, while other appearances have included Sky’s The Last Dragonslayer and Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis’ feature film Yesterday.
Yasen Atour plays Reza
Who is Reza? Reza is Wallander’s partner in the Malmo police department, and is hoping to be promoted to detective, while the pair also have a very close friendship. Reza is injured and hospitalised after he is attacked at a far-right march while working on the case early in the series.
What else has Yasen Atour been in? Atour has been cast in a major role in the upcoming feature film Small City, adding to a big screen CV that currently includes appearances in Ben Hur and Robin Hood. He also has several small screen credits include ITV dramas Dark Heart and Marcella, and Peter Kominsky’s Channel 4 miniseries The State.
Alan Emrys plays Gustav Munck
Who is Gustav Munck? Gustav is a member of the Munck family, one of the most wealthy families in Sweden, and has been funding a program that aims to help illegal immigrants – but Wallander suspects that he has ties to the case.
What else has Alan Emrys been in? This is one of Emrys’ most notable roles to date include, but previous credits include small roles in Johnny English Strikes Again and in an episode on anthology series On the Edge.
Jacob Collins-Levy plays Karl-Axel Munck
Who is Karl-Axel Munck? Another member of the Munck family, Karl-Axel is Gustav’s older brother and is soon to become a father.
What else has Jacob Collins-Levy been in?
Collins-Levy’s most high-profile role to date is starring as King Henry VII in the Starz miniseries The White Princess, while he has also been seen in episodes of Pure and Doctor Who, and appeared alongside George Mackay and Russel Crowe in Justin Kurzel’s recent film True History of the Kelly Gang.
Jordan Adene plays Ibra
Who is Ibra? Ibra is a promising young footballer who has been offered a professional contract at Malmo and who has developed a friendship with Wallander – but he soon emerges as a suspect in the case.
What else has Jordan Adene been in? Adene is a relative newcomer to the small screen, with previous credits including appearances on Netflix series Wanderlust and Dutch fantasy drama Heirs of the Night.