Nordic Noir – An exploration of cross-cultural discourse produced by foreign fictional crime television.

Haylie Parker1
1Flinders University

It is well evidenced that fictional crime drama has a discursive impact on audiences at both socio-political and individual levels, however most studies focus on the impact of television shows which represent the cultural environment within which they are intended to be shown. The few studies acknowledging cross-cultural televisual impact situate the fictional representation within its native environment and position the ‘other’ as the alien viewer within that environment. There is a need to study the discursive ideas proffered by cross-cultural crime television viewing in the ‘other’ environment.

This study explores cross-cultural engagement with the Scandinavian Crime Fiction phenomenon known as ‘Nordic Noir.’ Three series have been identified for analysis based on their popularity in the Anglo sphere and the existence of an English adaptation or influence for points of comparison. These are Brön/The Bridge; Forbrydelsen/The Killing, and Wallander (a Scandi-British collaboration). The foundation of Cultivation Theory as understood and operationalised by Gerbner (1976) is enhanced by a semiotic analysis of mis-en-scene providing critical analysis of cross-cultural ideas.

A work in progress, this study identifies three major themes. These are:
Criminology and Victimology – who is the victim and who is the criminal?
Police and the Police Procedural – Police Stereotypes, the Detective and the Case; and
Bordered Penality and Terrorism – Concepts of Nationality and Whiteness. This study aims to offer rich insights into how audiences’ civic values are potentially reinforced or challenged by cross-cultural texts.


After my initial degree in Behavioural Sciences, I found my passion in Criminology. I completed Criminology honors and am currently a PhD Candidate at Flinders University. My specialty is in fictional media, and the discursive effect that this has on perceptions of constructs of crime.

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