For years, these shows have made us feel as if we’re rifling through someone else’s dirty laundry. They dangle violence tantalisingly before us, as they shove the lives of the victims to the side in order to transform their killer into a fully fleshed-out protagonist.
Thankfully, though, the manner in which TV studios are approaching the genre is now changing, and for the better. Indeed, all one needs to do is look at the likes of The Serpent and The Pembrokeshire Murders, both of which have chosen to shine their spotlight on heroic individuals who worked tirelessly to bring down famed serial killers, to see that.
And now the BBC has brought us yet another compassionate (yet still thoroughly compelling) true crime series.
Here’s what you need to know about The Investigation.
What’s the plot of The Investigation?
On 10 August 2017, Swedish journalist Kim Wall received a text from Peter Madsen, the Danish inventor she’d been trying to land an interview with for months.
Seizing the opportunity to meet with him face-to-face, she headed out to Copenhagen harbour to meet him. There, she boarded the midget submarine UC3 Nautilus – and was never seen alive again.
However, The Investigation – written and directed by the Oscar-nominated Tobias Lindholm – doesn’t focus its attention on Madsen, who was eventually convicted of sexual assault and murder.
Instead, Wall’s murderer is referred to as “the accused” and “the suspect” throughout, and he is never once pictured on screen.
“I wanted to make a story about heroes, so I didn’t have room for him,” Lindholm tells the New York Times.
“It liberated me to tell a humane story,” he adds.
As such, the anti-sensationalist series focuses on pragmatic homicide detective Jens Møller (Søren Malling) and his team, along with Wall’s grieving parents, as they work together to find out what really happened to the missing journalist.
Is there a trailer for The Investigation?
A trailer for the series, originally released via HBO last year, has been released.
You can watch it for yourself below:
Who stars in the cast of The Investigation?
As mentioned already, Malling leads the cast as Jens Møller, alongside Game Of Thrones’ Pilou Asbæk as prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen.
Pernilla August and Rolf Lassgård appear as Kim Wall’s parents, Ingrid and Joachim Wall. And other cast include Laura Christensen, Anders Juul, Henrik Birch, Hans Henrik Clemensen, Dulfi Al-Jabouri and Charlotte Munck.
What are people saying about The Investigation?
The Investigation was made in close cooperation with Jens Møller and Kim Wall’s parents, Ingrid and Joachim Wall.
“We see this as a tribute to the ordinary people; the normal policeman, the normal diver,” Ingrid Wall explains to the NYT.
“Not just because they were doing their jobs, but because they did their jobs with determination. They were out there, on the Oresund in November, with big waves, and freezing cold.”
Lindholm, in turn, tells The Guardian: “I listened to Mr and Mrs Wall’s story and saw how much respect they had for the Danish police, the divers and everybody who had worked on the case. I started planning the story and speaking to the people who had been there.
“Their participation was key: the ship that lifts the submarine from the bottom of the ocean in the first episode is the one that did it in real life, with the same crew. We had the real divers there, too, with the head diver yelling lines to the actor playing him. Accuracy was very important.
“If I had started to pretend, to use my own imagination, I would have been the same as the journalists who covered it.”
The director adds: “The most beautiful thing is that Iso – Ingrid and Joachim’s dog – plays itself. Joachim insisted.”
It’s a method that has worked, judging by viewers’ responses to the show on Twitter.
“[This is the] most sensitively written true crime drama I’ve ever seen,” reads one woman’s tweet, before going on to admit that “she got emotional during the credits and realised who Iso is.”
“Just binged The Investigation on iPlayer,” added another. “Incredible storytelling. Heartbreaking that it’s a true story.
And still one more noted: “Thank goodness the murdering scumbag who killed Kim Wall wasn’t a character in The Investigation. Also, its name wasn’t mentioned.”
When is The Investigation coming to the BBC?
The first episode of The Investigation aired on BBC Two at 9pm on 22 January, and the remaining five episodes will air weekly on Friday nights at this same time.
The series is available in full on iPlayer, though, if you would prefer not to watch it in weekly installments.
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.