Dicte: A Danish TV Series Now on Netflix

When we meet Dicte (short for Benedicte) she is 16 years old and in the throes of giving birth to a child which turns out to be a baby boy. Within two hours, the baby is taken from her.

Flash forward 24 years. Dicte is now a divorced Mom of a 17-year-old daughter. She has returned to her hometown of Aarhus, Denmark, and is working as a crime reporter for Dag Bladet which happens to be Norway’s 2nd largest tabloid newspaper, and there is a Swedish daily newspaper of the same name. Since we are set up in Aarhus in Denmark – it really doesn’t much matter as the office is quite small and could easily be a bureau office for either paper’s Danish edition.

Any way, we come to learn that Dicte Svendsen has returned to her hometown and is working as a reporter. Long ago, within hours of the birth, her baby was given up for adoption, she was disowned by her parents, who were Jehovah’s Witnesses for bearing an out-of-wedlock child, fathered by a man who was not a Jehovah’s Witness.

She’s very good at her job, and she has a nice house out-of-town, where she and her daughter live. Dicte has two girlfriends – Anne Skov Larsen who works as a midwife at a large Aarhus hospital, and Ida-Marie Svensson, who is married and struggling to become pregnant.

Lars Brygmann as Wagner

Lars Brygmann as Wagner

There’s a photographer at the newspaper who will play a major role in this series, as will Dicte’s daughter Rose, and a pair of police detectives – a man named Wagner, and a lady detective called Bendtsen. Season One consists of 10 Episodes that each run about 45 minutes. And these are 5 stories of two episodes each.

The crimes are drug smuggling, black market body organs, surrogate mothers who are prostitutes, crimes of passion, a kidnapping, and revenge etc.

In a single sentence Dicte can be described as a woman who tries to cope with being a full-time reporter, a part-time sleuth – all while trying to restart her life.

The stories are adaptions of the mystery thrillers written by Elsbeth Egholm, who is a very successful Danish author. Right now Dicte Season One is available on Netflix, and Season Two, which has just concluded its broadcast run in Europe on November 26th is scheduled to become available via Netflix in 2015.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Scandinavian television and movie industries have become a major factor. Such American TV shows like The Bridge on FX, and The Killing on AMC were both remakes of series from Denmark and Sweden. Wallender and Annika Bengtzon have also done well here and in Great Britain. If you liked The Millenium TrilogyThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and two other titles, then you should be intrigued by Dicte.

l to r: Bendtsen, Dicte, & Wagner

l to r:
Bendtsen, Dicte, & Wagner

Dicte is portrayed by actress Iben Hjejla who bears a resemblance to Jamie Lee Curtis. Detective Wagner is played by Lars Brygmann who also appeared in the hit Danish TV series Borgen. (My review of that is here). (<—-click)

Okay, you are probably wondering why you should watch this. Parenting, single motherhood, and divorce are universal stories. Crimes of passion and murder are also topics that we all watch and appreciate. The thing of this series is that Dicte has some spectacular luck. She’s always either a step ahead of the police in discovering a body, or she goes to interview some one who turns up dead; so she’s often at crossed purposes with the detectives. On the other hand, she has terrific instincts, and while Dicte isn’t always right, she quite often offers the police some promising leads.

l to r: Wagner, Dicte, Rose, Ex-husband & Bendtsen

l to r:
Wagner, Dicte, Rose, Ex-husband & Bendtsen

Beyond that, she faces issues that are also universal – like loneliness, concerns about her maturing daughter, dealing with a problematic ex-husband, as well as becoming involved with a co-worker. Her friends also have issues like a philandering husband on one hand, and the other comes to feel ill-situated as she has not had children, and cannot bear children.

I stress that while this show is about crimes, reporting, and is also a procedural from the police perspective, it is also about problems relating to families. Mind you, this is not to say that there’s no action, no gun play, no horrific crimes, and no chases – we get all of those. But we also have the softer issues.

Now I think that this shows offers a fine blend of being a crime thriller, as well as a human drama. Aarhus is Denmark’s second biggest city after Copenhagen, and the stories are shot in locations throughout this port city as well as the surrounding countryside and suburbs.

Hjejla seems perfectly cast as the 40 something who has to deal with a lot. Don’t be surprised if she is sometimes moody and/or does something wrong or illogical. She’s not mistake proof, nor is she Ms. Prim and Proper. Her girl friends also make their share of mistakes as do the police. Sometimes you feel that Detective Wagner orders his female partner Bendtsen around too easily, and that he doesn’t offer her enough respect.

 Bendtsen (off screen) played by Ditte Ylva Olsen

But Bendtsen (played by Ditte Ylva Olsen) is a brilliant detective. She handles most of the technical details of the investigations while Wagner does the more physical stuff as well as handling the interrogations of suspects. They make a good pair.

Other characters to watch for are the editor at Dag Bladet, the staff photographer at the newspaper, and Dicte’s daughter Rose and her boyfriend.

Just so you know, this is in Danish with excellent English subtitles, and the series has top flight production values. The city of Aarhus is an old city with new projects going on all around town. The look of the city is a mix of Old World charm, as well as a sophisticated and modern appearance of the people and their attitudes.

I’m recommending this as a series, and stating with assurance that it is both entertaining and satisfying TV. So if you have a Netflix streaming account. you should take in this series. Below is the trailer which unfortunately does NOT have English subtitles, but it will offer you a good look at the series as well as the cast and the production values. The full series, as shown on Netflix has superb English subtitles.

I’ve done a review of Dicte’s second season —–> click here


35 thoughts on “Dicte: A Danish TV Series Now on Netflix

    • Thanks H.

      For the record, watch for my next mystery review – a series from Sweden called Arne Dahl.
      In this series a group of detectives from all across Sweden is assembled in Stockholm to solve some interesting mysteries.
      The series has Five two part stories which means each mystery is three hours.

  1. Such a great show! I found the site searching for a release date for season 3. Good review, and references. I enjoyed the first 2 seasons, and am looking forward to season 3. Characters look so much more real and complex than American television. 40 should look like 40, and still be sexy. More for the confidence and wisdom that comes with age than for the air brushed and botoxed faces. I also like Vera very much as well as Happy Valley.

    • Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked it.
      As I understand it, Season Two of Dicte is airing now. Not in the US, and not on Netflix.
      I will cover the second season when I can locate a DVD.

      Sent from Oslo, Norway

  2. this is a great show. Season 2 is sexier and has more edge! I’m watching from Canada. Since my parents are from Europe, it’s nice to see unamerican characters, the way they dress and interact. So refreshing.

    • Thanks for the comment Rose.
      I do hope to see the Second Season of Dicte when I can.
      I just returned from Europe last night – Oslo in Norway and Stocholm in Sweden.

  3. Just finished Season 2 on Netflix, great series, love the characters. Dicte is irrational at times but she’s a good dependable friend.

      • HI, I’m the US and they only seem to have season1. Do you know where I can see season 2? Thanks!

      • Hi Johanna

        No word yet on Dicte 2 availability in USA.

        According to sources – Dicte 2 was a howling success – so much so that a Season 3 will be produced.
        I’ve been tracking the news – looking for the announcement of either the DVD or the streaming of Season 2.
        Once I have the news I will be happy to pass it along.

  4. Just started season 1 and am hooked already. I live in rural Texas where many Scandinavians settled in late 1800s. Their traditions still live on. series such as this are fascinating in their details. Thank you for the review and explanation.

  5. Love Dicte! Watched season 1 and 11 in Canada on netflix. Looking forward to a season 3 – I hope. As others have stated the European shows are so much more interesting – the characters, the stories and the acting are far superior to the U.S. shows. I am addicted to the care given to development of plots. American television is all killing with no story. Very tiresome. Congrats to the producers and directors and actors!

  6. Love all Scandinavian series. So superior to our US TV, movies etc. Watching everything on Netflix. Actually on Dicte for 2nd time. Have watched everything available several times including Dragon Tatoo, my favorite, at least 3 times. Bravo! A USA fan.

    • I’m really enjoying Season 1 and am almost finished. Another great Scandinavian tv series is Rita and spin-off Hjordis. Even my cat loves to watch Scandinavian shows. He jumps on my lap and watches with me.

      • Thanks for the comment Suzanne. Like you, I try as many Scandinavian TV series as possible. I live in Florida, but I traveled to Norway and Sweden only 5 months ago.
        I started Hjordis recently but have switched away from it after two or three episodes.
        I may return to in the not distant future.

  7. As a Danish speaker, I thought the translations were a bit lacking. Many times, the full gist of the dialogue was not conveyed in the subtitles. Fortunately, I could catch these things, but most viewers in the US would not. I’m also hoping to find a place to watch Season 2 in the US since I’m hooked!

    • I understand what you are saying – even though I can not speak any Danish. I can be concerned if the English translation isn’t grammatically correct – I’m speaking about the English itself and not its correctness as a translation. I’ve had plenty of experience in watching TV Dramatic Series from Japan. There’s an outfit in Malaysia where Japanese TV Dramas are quite popular. The DVDs come with English, Malay, and Chinese subtitles. And quite often the English is mangled. The vendor is in California and I have complained, as have others, so now if there have been complaints – the vendor adds on a warning that the English translation has been described as poor.

  8. As a couple of people mentioned above, season 2 is available on Canadian Netflix. If you’re outside of Canada, just download the “Hola Better Internet” extension for your browser and then choose “Canada” from the drop down menu. Next time you log into Netflix, you’ll see all the items available for streaming in Canada. I use this to watch a few shows that are only available on the UK Netflix.

    • Hi Bill –

      Thanks for the comment – I reviewed Dicte back in December of 2014. And as I recall I didn’t make any comment about the quality of the English subtitles. So I am not sure if you mean the English itself is poor (grammar & punctuation), or you mean that the English subtitles are not accurate translations of the spoken Danish.

      I have noticed poor quality English subtitles before, in DVDs of some Japanese TV series, and on occasion, a DVD of an Indian (Hindi) film. So I understand.

      • Found that too in a great Korean series on Netflix called Secret Love Affair. I don’t speak Korean, mind you! But found better “fan” subtitles on the web than the ones on Netflix.

  9. When is season 3 going to be on? Also is River coming back? The Bridge? Hate it when one gets to the end and has no idea if next season will be aired when available or whether one needs to go elsewhere.

    • Hi Melissa –

      I’ve read that Dicte’s season 3 began filming in mid October and is expected to be aired in the UK in “early 2016” which I presume means March. If you are Canada, then you’ll likely have a look at it before we do in the US.

      I haven’t any info on River’s 2nd Season other than the decision on a 2nd season I still pending.

  10. I live in the USA however , thanks to Netflix I have discovered Foreign films as well as TV series and I love them,.
    “Dicte” is very well done but… it’s way off on the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses and I think the show gives that particular religion a bad rap. I was raised in the religion most my life, I am not a member of it any longer however, the fact that they claim her parents forced her to give her baby up due to her parents JW beliefs is way off, they would never do that and would do quite the opposite and insist she keep it and raise it in the faith. They do dis fellowship members who are adults and have been baptized and may be living a life not in accordance with bible principles but if they are family they can talk to them and even live with them ,, I have never seen the church dis fellowship a young teen for getting pregnant There was a time when they were encouraged not to talk to adult family members who were dis fellowship that is not longer the case. and even during those times you could talk to them and have a relationship with them especially if they were your children.. They should do their homework before presenting before millions of people a false misrepresentation of any religious beliefs. Other then that I enjoy the show.

  11. Watching the first season on Netflix. I’m hooked. Just wondering if the earring with the chain hanging down from her right ear only has a special significance

    • Hope you enjoy the series Richard. BTW – I also reviewed Season 2 of Dicte.

      As for the earring and chain, I honestly don’t remember, which is not to say that there’s no significance,
      but f it does or doesn’t I can’t say.

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