Titled Pressa (The Press) at home in Iceland, Cover Story is a crime thriller that’s more TV-like than other carefully crafted nordic noir series we’ve seen in the past year. It’s good, though – fast paced, entertaining, and relatively light on violence given the storyline. It’s very much in the mold of Dicte and Annika Bengzton: Crime Reporter, a couple of our favorite Scandinavian crime dramas. The Cover Story TV series is streaming on Walter Presents.
Sara Dögg Ásgeirsdóttir plays Lara, a journalist at a tabloid style newspaper. She’s near the end of her maternity leave, but comes back to cover a murder case involving a young woman found dead after a party at an oil tycoon’s house. It’s the kind of story the paper’s editor, a cranky, but likable character, Nökkvi, likes to publish. Though it’s a tabloid paper, he feigns a loftier purpose.
Things change at the paper due to the murder investigation, and everyone scrambles to adjust and adapt. Corporate influence, money, power, and personal politics are all in play.
Lara’s personal life is part of the story. Her live-in boyfriend wants them to move to Canada. In addition to the baby, Lara has a teenage daughter who stays with Lara part-time and with her dad some of the time. As the case gets broader and deeper, a menacing bike gang enters the picture. It’s no surprise when the family is threatened. Somewhat like the aforementioned Dicte, there are times when Lara reacts spontaneously, emotionally, and we question her judgement.
Though secondary to the journalists in Cover Story, the police are featured prominently. There’s a ruffled male investigator and his female partner, who shares information with the journalists. As in Trapped, they look and act like real-world, regular folks.
The Cover Story TV series is neither as edgy or artistic as the other Icelandic series reviewed here, but it’s darker than many shows and makes us care about the characters. The six, 40-minute, episodes, make for fast, fun viewing.
Cover Story is also found on DVD in some countries as The Press, a more literal translation of Pressa. In Iceland, three seasons have shown on TV, with a fourth in the works. The six episodes currently on Walter Presents are season two, from 2011. It’s age shows by the simple fact that printed media was more relevant as part of the daily news cycle just a few years ago.
Cover Story was created by Óskar Jónasson, Sigurjón Kjartansson and filmed in Reykjavik for SagaFilm. Kjartansson’s credits include Trapped, currently our favorite Icelandic TV series.