Arvingerne (The Legacy) Sky Arts (TV)

Produced by DR – Danish Television and snapped up by Sky for their Sky Arts Channel, The Legacy was heavily promoted by Sky across their channels. It’s in a Wednesday 9pm slot and is around 80 minute episodes.

It comes from the same channel as Borgen and The Killing, but this time weaves a different tale focussed on four siblings after the death of their artist mother.

The Legacy itself may be her substantial country house and estate. As a renowned artist Veronika Grønnegard, also has an artistic legacy too.

Possibly more subtly it may refer to her children and heirs.

In the first episode, we see Veronika’s last days with a chaotic open house, certainly no stately home full of her works finished and unfinished. In some ways a last vestige of the swinging sixties and hippy seventies.

Helping Veronika are various people including her daughter Grø, who is close to her mother but also works for a major gallery, the emphasis between them is on an upcoming display of art works. There is also discussion on a museum planned to showcase her works and mention is made of Veronika wanting to live in Italy presumably in retirement.

A trust is planned to deliver the museum on the site of the estate.

We see her son, Fredrik, deliver his children to Grønnegard (the house is named for the family too) and we learn that he doesn’t speak to his mother or enter the house, but Grø acts as a go between. Fredrik is some sort of businessman and lives in the nearby town/city.

Youngest son, Emil, is away in the Far East and we see him introduced talking to his mother through an Internet phone call.

On the night she dies, Veronika requests flowers from the town and they are delivered by Signe and Veronika takes her in tow and draws a picture of her and in enchants her with her stories and with her art and the house.

Veronika reveals to Signe that she is her daughter and that she couldn’t cope with her at that stage of her life and writes a deathbed will for Signe to take the house as a sort of reparation for not being there for her.

Veronika subsequently dies with Signe having to call the ambulance and get Grø back from Copenhagen to the hospital.

Veronika leaves no other will and her documents establishing the trust remain unsigned.

Events follow with Emil returning and Signe learning that as an infant she was called Sunshine and she learns much from Thomas who lives in a shack on the estate and was Veronika’s one time partner.

The cast is filled out by Signe’s adoptive parents and her boyfriend who is a handball player and also Fredrik’s wife.

It’s what you expect from Danish TV, a quality production, fine acting and a story that is layered and delivers the tale.

It’s a different tone and feel to other Danish shows that have been on BBC4 and as a drama about a family, a different pace and structure.

Fredrik is not immediately likeable and is a complex man, husband and father. He wants Grønnegard and sees it as his legacy from his father and is willing to buy out his siblings shares.

Grø certainly appears likeable but is having an affair with a married man and is the one with most to lose if Signe inherits the house.

Emil is young and enthusiastic, but his venture in the Far East needs money and although he is pleased to meet Signe as his lost sister, will have problems if he does not inherit money.

Signe is young and works as a florist, her boyfriend is a professional handball player and she thinks she is an only child before meeting Veronika.

The episodes develop with Veronika’s funeral and the events thereafter.

It is watchable, in parts dramatic and dark and with lighter touches.

The siblings are shades of grey, all of them have their interests and their motivations.

I’m up to date and on the fourth episode. I’d recommend it if you enjoy Borgen, The Killing, The Bridge, but say that it is essentially a family story and is about Veronika’s legacy, whatever that may be.

There’s growth potential in Signe’s character and we see her initial wonder at Grønnegard and Veronika and subsequently with the house and Thomas and Emil.

It’s not wholly a story through her eyes and you see Grø pushing for the trust and museum and probably for her legacy as Veronika’s curator.

The show has much potential and with, I think, ten episodes, plenty of time to develop the story and motivations of the characters.

I’m enjoying and we’ll see if I update once the run of episodes concludes.

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