It’s only been a fortnight, and already this character feels as beautifully familiar in our living rooms as a Billy bookcase.
This week saw the uncovering of a serial killer, possibly a copycat of the malefactor who originally made Sebastian’s name as a crack profiler, and was still serving his time behind bars. From the start, there was evidently a Silence of the Lambs reunion on the brew and, sure enough, within minutes, there they were together, catching up on old times.
But this was all by the by, because what we were really looking out for – as for Morse, as for Fitz, and any fictional policeman we care about - was Sebastian’s personal redemption which, at first sight, seemed a long way off. When he wasn’t seducing vulnerable women at his grief clinic – and then ignoring them afterwards, the rake! – he was disobeying all orders to stay away from his daughter Vanya, whose professional apple, of course, had not fallen far from the crime investigation tree.
Colleague Ursula, just one of the many ladies in Sebastian Bergman's past
But then, in true Cracker fashion, the professional crashed into the personal, as the perpetrator targeted Seb himself via his bizarrely long list of past romantic liaisons – including the less than welcoming Ursula (now in the arms of another colleague – all very incestuous), and finally the only woman immune to Bergman’s charm, Vanya herself.
The plot closed in on itself beautifully, with two questions, one easy, one impossible to answer. The first – would Bergman be forced to break the only promise he’d so far kept, that of his secret paternity, in order to keep Vanya safe? This was poignantly answered with the bigger issues left tantalisingly unresolved, leaving the narrative arc of their relationship everywhere to go.
The second quandary may prove unanswerable yet – how on earth this pot-bellied, heavy-jowled man has succeeded in bedding half of Sweden? I guess in a country where Agnetha was married to Bjorn, and Sven succeeded in recruiting Ulrika to his team, anything’s possible. And, due to Rolf Lassgard’s velvet rich acting skills, it’s certainly easy enough to care deeply about the imperfect Sebastian Bergman, and whether he will ever heal his gaping wound, in lots more episodes – please.
Sebastian Bergman in pictures - not your conventional-looking leading man...