The Investigation

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
The Investigation TV Poster Image
Compelling Danish true crime drama sticks to the facts.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The Investigation is about a compassionate and logical process for police work, and treating the violent crime with the gravity and respect it deserves.

Positive Role Models

Characters on The Investigation are insightful, curious, compassionate, and thorough.

Violence

Though the central event of The Investigation is an act of brutal violence, the series does not show any violent acts. Violent crimes, including rape, murder, and assault, are described in detail but not filmed.

Sex

Sexual content is limited to discussions about sex, though it's spoken about graphically. Police discuss rape and sexual abuse, but it is not shown. Sex is also discussed as a motive for crime.

Language

Moderate profanity is used throughout and includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," etc. 

Consumerism

The real life crime had global coverage.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are seen casually smoking or drinking in social situations. No drug use is shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Investigation is a Danish crime drama based on the real murder of a journalist in 2017. The story is told almost exclusively from the point of view of the homicide department investigating the case, which de-sensationalizes the woman's disappearance. Moderate profanity is used throughout and includes "f--k," "s--t," and "damn," and characters smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol in some scenes. Violence is described, but never shown, and the murderer is never mentioned by name, allowing the series to focus more on the investigation than the crime. In a genre that tends to treat murder and abuse, especially to women, as entertainment, The Investigation feels somewhat unique among true crime dramas.

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What's the story?

THE INVESTIGATION follows the Copenhagen Police Department and their chief inspector, Jens Møller Jensen (Søren Malling), as they investigate a unique and unsettling crime. A homemade submarine is reported missing with two people inside -- its owner and a journalist who had come to interview him. When the submarine sinks, the owner is rescued but the journalist remains missing. The chief inspector arrests the owner for murder, suspecting he killed the journalist and sunk the vessel to bury her, but as he continues to uncover details of the incident, things get stranger and stranger.

Is it any good?

True crime documentaries and series tend to rely on fantastical stories that seem fictional even though they're taken from real life. There's an incredible true story at the center of The Investigation too, but the series treats it differently than most. Rather than make the disappearance and possible murder of a woman the story's hook, the series hews very closely to the chief inspector's process as he uncovers facts and pieces together what happened. The drama is subtle and patient, if sometimes dry, but there is something extremely powerful about not framing a woman's murder as pure entertainment. In that sense, it really is the compelling story of an investigation rather than the story of a lurid crime. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the crime. What do we know about the mystery at the center of The Investigation? Why does the chief inspector suspect foul play? How does our understanding of the crime change over the course of the series?

  • How would you describe the Copenhagen police process? What steps do they take to determine the truth? Why is it important to get everything right? How does the chief inspector deal with his mistakes? How does he adapt to new information? 

  • How does the chief inspector's job overlap with his personal life? Are there similarities in how he approaches police work and his role as a husband and father? What sacrifices does he make for the job?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love true crime

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