The Rain

Unmissable Danish box sets

Photo: Per Arnesen

If you believed everything you saw on TV, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Denmark is a country riddled with drugs gangs, murderers and criminals. Lucky for us, being imaginative is a key part of a Danish scriptwriter’s job.

Here are some of our favourite Danish TV shows to stream while you’re holed up indoors. After you’ve watched a few series, you’ll start to see the same Danish actors popping up here and there. Trust us, that’s part of the fun…

Borgen (2010-2013)

If there’s a finer political drama that tells the story of the country’s coalition government and deeply human stories at the same time, we’d like to see it. Don’t go thinking that a drama series about politicians is dull: it’s definitely not. This is a three-series story about power and influence, and what you have to give up to get what you want.

The Killing (Forbrydelsen) (2007-2012)

Such a smash hit that it was even remade in America (and set in rainy Seattle rather than rainy Denmark), The Killing focuses on detective Sarah Lund and her sweater, which has launched a thousand imitators, as she investigates the murder of teenager Rosie Larsen and its fall out. The cult show has won a slew of awards across the UK, Germany and Netherlands.

The Rain (2018-2020)

This made-for-Netflix three series drama is, sorry, all about how to survive in a post-apocalyptic Denmark when a virus has wiped everyone out. The virus, in this case, comes from the rain, and there is a vaccine – siblings Simone and Rasmus, plus their rag-tag group of survivors, just have to find it. It was a big event – the first original Danish series Netflix has produced – and is aimed primarily at the YA market. The third and final series is set to air in 2020.

1864 (2014)

For sure, you’ve been looking for the perfect TV show to immerse yourself in the Second Schleswig War of 1864. You’ve come to the right place. This drama series isn’t just about a Prussian-Danish war that you probably haven’t heard of; it’s about two brothers who enlist in the army just before war breaks out, and follows their experiences through the horrors of war. Epic and tragic, it was the most expensive TV series ever filmed when it was made, and stars Pilou Asbæk in one of the lead roles.

Vikings (2013-)

Exceptionally gory in places, this blood thirsty HBO drama tells the story of Ragnar Lothbrok’s rise to fame as a Viking warlord, and the subsequent fates of his offspring after his death. It’s filmed in Ireland, not Denmark, but Lothbrok’s son Ivor the Boneless and Hvitserk are both played by Danish actors, as is the slave girl Margarethe.

Ride upon the storm (Herrens Veje) (2017-)

Lars Mikkelsen won an Emmy for his portrayal of a raging and philandering priest in this TV series created by Adam Price (who also created Borgen). Mikkelsen himself found god during the course of filming, and it’s certainly a powerful story, full of love, lust and the big questions about life.

The Bridge (Broen) (2011-2018)

When a body is found on the Øresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark (pictured above), the Swedish and Danish police forces have to work together to find the perpetrator. That’s the start of it: what we uncover about the police force, and especially the spectacularly unique Swedish detective Saga Norén carries you through four series of cross-border policing.

Follow the Money (Bedrag) (2016-2019)

White collar crime is the focus of series one of this crime thriller, which takes a quick turn of pace to focus on the underworld dealings of Nicky, a mechanic turned hitman, as series two and three continue. The third series is a particular triumph and worth the wait.