Detective Rosa Wilder’s been through the wringer in three full seasons of Helveti Noir, so for the fourth she buggers off home to be a full-time mum. We know the blizzard-ravaged village of Oberwies from Wilder Season 1, and some of the same characters are back, as well as a new copper, who gets his head bashed in by XXXXXXXXXX ten minutes into the first episode. Destiny is pulling Rosa back in, just when she thought she was out. The Godfather reference is on the money, since the “conspiracy from above” bit this time around is the local “construction mafia”, who all meet up and set their prices 30% above normal price.
This season of the Swiss German crime drama was hyped on billboards over Christmas as the grand finale of a highly successful run. My review of Wilder Season 1 is by far the most visited post on this website. Unfortunately for fans of my first review, I’ve got no lengthy analysis to offer here, mainly because, yeesh.
Back in 2017, that very first episode began with somebody’s limb getting chopped off. Now we’ve come full circle, and the whole series has lost its legs.
Wilder‘s fourth outing is a thriller in which no one we care about is ever in real danger. Its central conspiracy is conducted by idiots, and not the fun kind. It’s a mystery which isn’t mysterious, with twists mostly telegraphed way in advance. Most frustratingly, it’s a waste of three excellent actors: Sarah Spale (Platzspitzbaby), Marcus Signer (Der Goalie bin ig) and Dimitri Stapfer (Frieden), none of whom are given enough to do (the latter plays the dead guy). More workmanlike actors are given too much to do, or perhaps I’m being too mean – misery upon misery is piled on them, seemingly all with direction on a sliding scale from “MOPE” to “WORRY”.
Nostalgia for the first series in 2017, and the lack of danger to our heroes, means that all that snowy glumness still works like warm blanket, expensively made but all grey and sad. For that reason, if slow-paced crime is your thing, I’d recommend L’Heure du secret over this, it’s warmer and more charming. If you want mountain misery, try Der Verdingbub, it’s only a couple of hours long. Otherwise go back to Wilder Season One, and definitely stay on for the other two seasons, they’re great. But this one I wouldn’t recommend.
Two stars, then, one for each of the two decent new characters. The first is skinny German gangster Rainer, who’s a tad on the psycho side but mainly just wants people “not to take the piss”. He’s played with relish by Tatort veteran Sebastian Rudolph. The second is an adorable little dog called Henry. These two are having loads more fun than the rest. Spinoff?
“WILDEST: A Rainer and Henry Mystery”. SRF, make it happen!
Swissness Difficulty Level: Chasseral (easy).
Language: Swiss German.
Availability: PlaySuisse for free.
Swissness Lab Notes:
- The “construction mafia” and dodgy deals in construction generally is a trope I’d like to follow up on in future. The sums thrown around in the Zurich area, for example, are ginormous, and building sites are ever-present and ever-expanding.
- Where on earth is Rainer’s bar? I didn’t have a sense of place for it, nor the dam, in relation to Oberwies.