Young Wallander

TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Young Wallander TV Poster Image
Some violence in topical update of popular detective series.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Young Wallander's subject matter is purposefully edgy, but the show is essentially about the resourcefulness and resilience it takes to do police work.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite its attempts to be topical with an immigration subplot, Young Wallander sometimes succumbs to racial stereotypes, such as a man of Middle Eastern decent being suspected of terrorism.


Young Wallander's violence is mostly restrained, but does include shots of a man getting blown up, a man getting stabbed where blood is shown, etc.


Young Wallander contains mild sexual content. Men appear in their underwear or shirtless in towels, etc.


Young Wallander contains moderate profanity, like "s--t" and "c--t," 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink alcohol and sometimes appear drunk. Drug sales are implied, but no drug use is shown. No smoking is shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Young Wallander is a crime drama that attempts to do a gritty reboot of the popular Wallander character that's best known in Europe. The show tells the story of the Swedish policeman's first case, in which a young man is killed with a hand grenade, possibly in an act of terrorism. The show is set in modern-day Sweden and features a topical subplot about immigration, with an anti-immigration faction that is meant to parallel Neo-Nazis. The show is typically restrained in its depiction of violence, but it does show some graphic acts like the death by hand grenade and a man getting stabbed. There are depictions of police brutality during an anti-immigration march. Strong language includes "s--t" and "c--t," amd there's some mild sexuality, in the form of shirtless men in towels for example.

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What's the story?

YOUNG WALLANDER is about a rookie police officer named Kurt Wallander (Adam Pålsson) who witnesses a murder and possible hate crime in his neighborhood. Wallander lives in a racially diverse area where no one knows he's a police officer, and he becomes involved in the murder investigation when a teen from his building becomes the prime suspect. Meanwhile, the murder has sparked a wave of anti-immigration sentiment throughout the city. New to police work, Wallander must draw upon his raw intellect and resourcefulness to help quell the civic unrest and solve the crime.

Is it any good?

Over the past decade, edgy reboots of stodgy, old detective characters like this one have become a cliche, and often a punchline. James Bond, Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes (multiple times), and, most recently, Perry Mason, have all reappeared as younger versions of themselves designed to appeal to younger viewers, with varying degrees of success. Young Wallander follows this trend with a character popular in Europe but relatively unknown in the States, and it doesn't do much to set itself apart from the endless barrage of streaming crime shows. The update of the character is essentially limited to the topical immigration subplot and filming of everything in either shadow or neon light (a Nicolas Winding Refn knockoff, basically). In other words, very little is done to define who the character is and why he is unique, almost as if the showrunners expect the Wallander name to do most of the work, even though few will recognize it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the murder case in Young Wallander. Why does the murder matter to Wallander? How does he get involved in solving the crime? Is he good at his job? Why or why not? What do you think is unique about this case?

  • How does the setting of modern-day Sweden impact the unfolding of events? Are there any similarities between Wallander's world and ours? What are they? Do you think Young Wallander is trying to say anything about current events? If so, what?

  • What makes this version of Wallander different from the others? How does he differ from other popular TV detectives? What makes him an interesting character?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love detective stories

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