Hinterland: Complete Collection, from Acorn Media, brings together all three seasons of the groundbreaking Welsh police procedural. Airing from 2013 – 2016, it was the first of the mysteries that have come to be known as Welsh Noir.
Hinterland introduced audiences to a Wales the tourist board might not want them knowing about. The hills and mountains brood in the mist and gloom instead of basking in the sun looking picturesque. Alongside the pretty towns beside the sea are the overcrowded council flats where the poor and damaged are hidden away to be forgotten.
Hinterland follows the work of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington). Freshly transferred from London after a ten year stint with the Metropolitan Police we gradually learn he’s haunted by his past and a personal tragedy. However, the job doesn’t give him much room to wallow and he’s thrust right into a dark and brutal murder in the first episode.
His relationship with his new second in command, Detective Inspector Mared Rhys (Mali Harries), gets off to a rocky start as she was expecting to be promoted to his position. However, they are able to get past this beginning and work well together to solve their first case.
Hinterland isn’t just atmospherically dark and gloomy – brooding hero with a troubled past wandering through a monochrome landscape. Each of the cases Mathias and his team work with are intricate and involved.
Many of them seem to have roots that are buried in the past – long held grievances between families, old resentments, and lost loves. With each case solved it feels like another scab has been torn off an old wound and more of the area’s secrets are exposed.
This underlying theme carries through all of Hinterland. In fact the very first case the team had investigated together turns into a wound that festers through-out the series which eventually bursts in the last season. With Mathias leading they eventually find the root of the evil and dig it out. It’s not a nice solution or a happy ending, but it’s what is needed.
Hinterland is a great series. While not what North American audiences are used to when it comes to police procedurals, this show is probably one of the most emotionally intelligent mystery shows you’ll watch. Well written and brilliantly acted this show will slowly work its way under your skin. One of the first, and still one of the best, of the Welsh Noir genre.