You can stick Sarah Lund’s knitwear up your jumper. There’s only one stylish Scandinavian TV detective worth emulating, and that’s Saga Noren, the magnificent, occasionally hilarious and utterly fascinating Swedish heroine of The Bridge (Saturdays, BBC4).
She may have even fewer variations on her sartorial repertoire than Lund, her much-missed Danish counterpart from The Killing (who alternated between two itchy-looking, yet surprisingly popular, woolly sweaters), but Saga’s one-hit wardrobe wonder – khaki military coat (always worn open; probably from H+M), over a grey quilted zipper, tan leather jacket, dark leather trousers of indeterminate colour and boffer boots – is easily the more appealing.
It’s only when you actually stop and think about it that Saga’s style credentials mount up. The khaki kit ties in with the cool green eyes, not to mention the vintage, bogey-green Porsche she drives. (All of it also, of course, blends in with the bleak, washed-out look of the series. The Bridge may come from the country that gave us Ikea, but bold primary colours don’t get a look-in in this TV show’s palette.)
In rain, hail or snow (the sun never shines on the Scandinavian TV we get to see), our heroine never wavers from her near-iconic look, which is always unencumbered by scarves, hats and other accessories – just as her messy blonde hair seems never to be troubled by brushing or styling of any sort.
I couldn’t say what age Saga is meant to be – early 30s, maybe – but Sofia Helin, the actress who plays her, is 41 and clearly a perfect example of the no-make-up look knocking years off one’s age. With make-up, she’s almost unrecognisable.