Before We Die on Channel 4: Lesley Sharp as detective Hannah Laing

Before We Die: what people are saying about Channel 4’s new Scandi noir thriller

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Here’s what you need to know about Channel 4’s new thriller seriesBefore We Die

Updated 27 May: Call us strange, but there’s nothing we crave more than the deeply unsettling energy of a Scandi noir drama – which is why we were so excited about Channel 4’s Before We Die, which aired last night on All 4. All episodes are now available on site.

The six-part thriller was billed as being full of the kind of heart-stopping jeopardy and unpredictable twists the genre is known for, and some of the internet seemed compelled by the first episode. 

“I’ve enjoyed it, bloody good actors in it too,” one put simply. 

“#BeforeWeDie what a great first episode, can’t wait for more,” tweeted another. 

“That went quick. No idea where this is going but I’m enjoying it #BeforeWeDie”

Others, though, felt the quality acting didn’t do justice to such a big name cast.

“If this acting was any more wooden it’d be… wood… I don’t know… it’s very wooden,” one user wrote.

Perhaps, though, the show was a victim of it’s own build up, as one popular tweet read: “I had high hopes for #BeforeWeDie, can’t seem to get into it.”

It also drew a few less-than-favourable comparisons to the original Swedish series of the same name, with one tweet reading : “Given up on #BeforeWeDie five minutes in and instead watching the original.”

Another user notes: “This whole thing feels like it’s been put through Google translate. It’s beyond odd.”

While reviews are still coming in, critics aren’t enamoured with the offering, either. 

The Telegraph gave it just two stars, calling it “a crime drama that assumes we are as thick as mince.” “Bring back Line of Duty’s tangled plots – this crime thriller was patronisingly slow,” the review declares. 

“A weak, bleak hour that’s totally lost in translation” reads The Guardian’s write-up.

The Independent awarded it a slightly higher three stars, but also noted that it “feels inferior to the original Swedish drama.”

It seems many had high hopes for the series, but unlike some of the other high-octane thrillers we’ve been offered this year, this one didn’t quite hit the mark.

What’s the plot of Before We Die?

As reported on 17 May: Based on the hit Swedish TV series of the same name, Before We Die shines a spotlight on seasoned (and seemingly unflappable) detective Hannah Laing. 

However, the Bristol-based police officer soon finds herself deeply conflicted when she discovers her son is playing a crucial role as an undercover informant in a brutal murder investigation. 

Who stars in Before We Die?

The six-part thriller boasts an all-star cast; think Lesley Sharp, Toni Gojanović, Vincent Regan and Patrick Gibson, to name just four.

Is there a trailer for Before We Die?

You can watch the full-length trailer for Before We Die below:

What are people saying about Before We Die?

Channel 4’s head of drama Caroline Hollick, who commissioned the series, says: “Every episode of Before We Die is a rollercoaster of excitement – and I’m so delighted to have Lesley Sharp bring her trademark gravitas and charisma to Channel 4.

“It’s a privilege to be part of this truly inspiring European collaboration.”

Elsewhere, Jo McGrath, executive producer and CCO of Eagle Eye Drama, commented: “Before We Die is a powerful and original series which uses the grammar and architecture of a nail-biting crime thriller to tell the compelling emotional story of a mother and son’s dysfunctional relationship, beautifully juxtaposed against the close-knit ties of the crime family they are trying to bring to justice.

Before We Die stands out as a truly distinctive crime drama and I can think of no better actress than Lesley Sharp to bring this complex lead character to life.”

When can we watch Before We Die?

Before We Die will begin on Wednesday 26 May at 9pm on Channel 4. 

Will you be tuning in?

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Images: Channel 4

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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