Kim Wall

HBO documentary Undercurrent: The Disappearance Of Kim Wall explores the brutal murder of the investigative journalist

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HBO has released a new trailer for its upcoming documentary Undercurrent: The Disappearance of Kim Wall exploring the disappearance and murder of the investigative journalist.

In August 2017, a Swedish journalist named Kim Wall went missing. A prolific writer who had travelled the world reporting for the likes of Time magazine, The New York Times and The Guardian, Wall disappeared after boarding a homemade submarine in Copenhagen to interview Danish inventor Peter Madsen. However, the vessel never resurfaced at the dock and was found sunken the following day.

Shortly after, a passer-by spotted Wall’s mutilated torso on a beach, and two months later, dismembered remains were discovered by Danish police at sea. Madsen was subsequently found guilty of premeditated murder and sexual assault and sentenced to life in jail in 2018 when a court dismissed his claim that Wall’s death was an accident.

Kim Wall
A photo allegedly showing journalist Kim Wall in the tower of Peter Madsen’s submarine before she went missing

Now, HBO has announced a new true-crime documentary exploring the disappearance and murder of the journalist.

Directed by Emmy-nominated filmmaker Erin Lee Carr, who helmed HBO’s At The Heart Of Gold: Inside The USA Gymnastics Scandal and I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth V. Michelle Carter, the documentary is split into two parts titled The Crime and The Punishment.

According to the official synopsis, the first part will explore the young journalist’s life, starting at the beginning with tweets from Kim’s friends, colleagues, and members of the public about a young woman who had strangely vanished. When news of Wall’s disappearance began to make headlines, people took to social media to raise awareness.

Part one also explores how Madsen became a suspect after repeatedly changing his version of events during police questioning.

“After initially claiming that he had dropped Wall off, Madsen changed his story 10 days later and admitted to “burying” her at sea after an accident,” the synopsis continues. “When the case turns into a murder investigation, a nation is horrified and transfixed.”

The second part of the documentary, meanwhile, delves into the judicial process in Denmark, while also painting a portrait of an unrepentant killer. 

“Attempting to probe the mindset of Madsen, part two explores the nature of narcissism and psychopathy in the process,” the synopsis continues. 

Kim Wall
Undercurrent: The Disappearance of Kim Wall will explore the murder of Kim Wall while investigating a submarine

“Madsen was viewed as a minor celebrity in Denmark, but his brash persona ultimately hid misogynistic and sociopathic tendencies. He was used to orchestrating his own story and public persona, but found that his powers of persuasion and influence had run out when he tried to evade culpability for Wall’s murder. Those who knew him wondered what they had missed and whether Wall was his first victim.”

As well as featuring trial testimony, expert opinion, never-heard-before audio from Madsen himself and new key interviews with those who knew Wall and Madsen, the documentary will also include commentary from a range of figures related to the case, such as Deputy Chief of Police Mattias Sigfridsson, journalists Trine Maria Ilsoe, Frank Hvilsom and Julie Thomsen, oceanographer Torben Vang and Madsen’s biographer Thomas Djursing.

In a newly released trailer for Undercurrent: The Disappearance Of Kim Wall, we hear how the case has become infamously known as the “submarine trial” in Denmark.

A range of close friends also recall Wall’s talents as a journalist. “Kim was naturally inclined for journalism,” one states. “The stories she sought out were not mainstream,” adds another.

“She was just doing her job,” states another friend as a chilling shot of Madsen comes into view. “Then she ran into a psychopath.”

The trailer also highlights how Madsen was a “major innovator” and likened to Elon Musk by the media, as well as the victim-blaming narratives that emerged in the press coverage.

“She was taken from the world by an act of violence,” a friend clarifies. “He killed her because he could.”

The clip ends with commentary reflecting on the tragedy of Wall’s mission. “We can all identify with this young woman who just wanted to do her job.”

Undercurrent: The Disappearance Of Kim Wall will premiere on 8 March on HBO. The documentary will also be available to stream on HBO Max and Sky/Now.

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Images: HBO

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.