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Kim Wall’s murder is being turned into a TV show. It must be handled carefully

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Moya Crockett
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The investigation into the murder of journalist Kim Wall will form the basis of a new TV drama. Let’s hope that this horrifying story is treated responsibly 

The story of the murder of Kim Wall – the Swedish journalist who was killed by an inventor after she went to interview him aboard his submarine – is to be turned into a TV series.

Six-part drama The Investigation is being written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, one of the writers behind Danish political drama series Borgen. It will focus on the police inquiry into Wall’s disappearance and death, and will not feature her killer, rocket engineer Peter Madsen.

Madsen was sentenced to life in prison in April after being found guilty of premeditated murder, aggravated sexual assault and desecrating a corpse. Wall, a freelance journalist who was 30 at the time of her death in August 2017, had accompanied Madsen on a trip on his self-built submarine with the intention of writing an article about him.

The jury at Madsen’s trial accepted the prosecution’s argument that the inventor had sexually tortured Wall before killing her, cutting up her body and throwing it into the sea. He had previously admitted dismembering her body after divers found her head, legs and clothing in Koge Bay, less than an hour’s drive from Copenhagen. 

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

The Guardian reports that Lindholm is working closely with Wall’s parents, Ingrid and Joachim Wall, on the series. He is also consulting with Jens Møller, head of homicide at Copenhagen’s police force.

The director and screenwriter emphasised that he is not interested in dramatizing or glamourizing Wall’s fate, saying that his aim is “to make a crime series that cuts out all the colourful stuff and depicts the reality and the facts soberly and precisely”.

Lindholm also explained his decision not to include a character based on Madsen in The Investigation.

“I don’t want to make a crime series that is beguiled by the perpetrator or the crime,” he said.

“It’s therefore a fully conscious decision that the perpetrator will at no time figure in the series.”

Filmmaker Tobias Lindholm is adapting Wall’s story into a TV drama

Lindholm seems extremely conscious of the potential pitfalls of attempting to turn the true story of a woman’s murder into a TV series – and that’s a good thing. Because in less thoughtful hands, the story of the investigation into Wall’s death could be turned into something salacious and disturbing.

We know this because a worrying number of TV shows, films and books already use the rape, torture, mutilation and murder of women as scandalous plot devices. These crime thrillers manage to both fetishize violence against women and erase victims’ actual identities, reducing them to nothing more than blank, often sexualised spaces.

It’s discomforting enough when fictional women receive this treatment – but to see it done to Wall, whose loving family and partner had to live through her disappearance and Madsen’s murder trial, would be appalling.

Let’s hope that Lindholm lives up to his promise, and does justice to her story.

Images: Getty Images  

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. As well as writing about inspiring women and feminism, she also covers subjects including careers, podcasts and politics. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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