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Kenneth Branagh as Wallander on Masterpiece Mystery Sept. 9

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  • Julie Thomas
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Kenneth Branagh as Wallander III graphic 

Kenneth Branagh returns to his remarkable Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated role as the soul-searching Swedish cop in Wallander III, with three gripping new cases based on the character created by bestselling novelist and father of the Nordic noir craze, Henning Mankell.  As Masterpiece Mystery does like no other, it sucks us in with brilliantly acted stories where the main character’s private and work lives collide.  Tune in Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. for the first of three new episodes. 

In the new three-part series the somber inspector's hard-won and fragile new hope is put to the test when the most brutal of crimes — and his own demons — are unearthed. But you've got to give the emotionally uneasy cop credit for even trying.  I have always been a Branagh fan.  There is something very quiet but strong about his characters – and now you can add messy/confused/determined (and sometimes weak) to the list.  He comes alive as this character and I wasn’t sure what to love more – the character and his life trials or the mysteries he is solving…both are so engaging and is entirely worthy of being sucked in (amidst laundry to be folded and chores to do). 

I’m not sure if it was the pants that he wore in Hamlet, or his more political roles such as Major General Henning von Tresckow in Valkyrie or his brilliance in the soul crushing Rabbit-proof Fence, but he can seem to pull off whatever feat he is given…and oh! Warm Springs as Franklin D. Roosevelt…pulling off an American with polio – when, uh, you’re not an American.  And it’s fair to say is it that he’s never had polio?  THAT can’t be easy.  Always with class, always seeming to respect the art of acting, and surrounded with a great piece of art and entertainment to support him.  As Kurt Wallander, you see it yet again...I begged for him to catch a break, to get it together, to just SMILE.  Come on, you can do it!  The pain in his face (that sometimes comes out of his mouth at the wrong time and place) is palpable.  Our tortured soul needs a hug in the worst way.  

Branagh is reunited with Sarah Smart (Wuthering Heights) as detective Anne-Britt Hoglund and Jeany Spark (Tess of the d'Urbervilles) as his long-suffering daughter Linda, and joined by guest star Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė (Prime Suspect 6).

You can hear what Branagh thinks of his character and watch a clip here.  

“Wallander III” airs this month Sundays at 9 p.m. on AETN:

Sept. 9:  An Event in Autumn 
Sept. 16:  The Dogs of Riga
Sept. 23:  Before the Frost