Film fans are well aware of the classic genre of film noir. Fewer know of Nordic Noir, a breakthrough film and TV niche comprised of Scandinavian crime dramas and mysteries.

With each passing day, Nordic Noir gains thousands of new fans, largely thanks to the internet and streaming video capabilities. MHz Choice has emerged as the premiere destination for Nordic Noir. To say the cultural impact of this burgeoning entertainment niche is significant would be an understatement. Interested in learning more about Nordic Noir and where to start with the best series streaming now? You’ve come to the right place.

Key Characteristics of Nordic Noir TV Series

Similar to classic film noir, Nordic Noir shows and movies are characterized by distinct tropes, visual style and thematic elements. Dive into a Nordic Noir series and you’ll quickly notice the following elements define the genre.

Setting and Location

Nordic Noir TV series, movies and shorts are set amidst beautiful Scandinavian landscapes. Most of these series are filmed in Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden. The gorgeous Scandinavian landscapes make the perfect backdrop for these moody dramas and crime mysteries.

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Nordic Noir drama Twin was shot on location in Lofoten, Norway

Atmosphere and Mood

The genre is characterized by dark moods, somber tones and chilling sentimentality. Dive into a couple Nordic Noir shows or films and you’ll quickly find there is a deliciously dark sense of despair and mystery. These dramas and crime stories play out in the dark and cold Scandinavian nations that make for the perfect aesthetic landscape paired to the morose yet entertaining dialogue.

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Danish drama Deliver Us on MHz Choice

Themes and Subject Matter

Overall, It is perhaps the themes of Nordic Noir that make the genre so captivating. As an example, the genre is characterized by crime mysteries and dramas highlighted by morally conflicted characters, enforcers of law, detectives and others who make no secret of the fact that society is not exactly puritan.


Audiences strongly relate to Nordic Noir characters. Sympathetic main characters, victims, vigilantes and police officers are some of the examples of the characters who give the genre its gripping appeal. It is these characters that take audiences on dark thrill rides presented in an artful manner, creating the captivating combination of intriguing stories and stunning visual presentation.

The Bridge Saga

Writing and Storytelling

Entertainment-seekers also find themselves absorbed in stories with relatable characters, plot arcs and fulfilling resolutions. The primary conflict and mysteries of Nordic Noir shows tend to unravel satisfyingly slowly.

Its gradual exposition enables the audience to become deeply absorbed with characters, with the time spent learning about the series’ characters ultimately making them that much more sympathetic and real to viewing audiences. Though there are a few exceptions to the slow pace of the genre, those that are faster paced tend to be miniseries or shorts that culminate in an episode or two.

The Best Nordic Noir TV Series Streaming Now

Take a look at the MHz Choice catalog and you are sure to find several Nordic Noir selections that suit your fancy. Here’s a quick look at some of the genre’s best offerings, from long-running international hits to cult favorites and beyond.


Arguably the most iconic example of Nordic Noir, The Killing embodies the mood and tone of what people love about Scandinavian crime series. Inspector Sarah Lund, played by the amazing Sofie Gråbøl, puts her retirement plans on hold when a teenage girl’s body is found in a car with ties to a mayoral candidate. Each season follows a different murder case, with each episode covering 24 gripping hours of investigation.

For fans of Nordic Noir genre this is essential viewing. All three seasons are available to stream now on MHz Choice in both its original version (Danish with English subtitles) and dubbed in English.


Beck, a long-running Swedish crime and mystery series centers on Peter Haber’s titular character. Haber’s character isn’t sensational in any way, which is exactly the point of the series. Beck is a relatable middle-aged working man with exactly one special skill: catching criminals. Based on the immensely popular Martin Beck detective novels penned by Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall, this Swedish noir has been running for decades.

The show first debuted in Sweden back in 1997, reappeared several times in recent years and has triumphantly returned to much fanfare. As the show has gone on, new and familiar faces have been added as recurring and guest stars, including Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju and Mr. Robot’s Martin Wallström.

Follow Beck, a lonely divorcee, through crime mysteries, and you’ll be thoroughly engaged by his intelligence, creativity and irreverence for convention. Beck is accompanied by a partner named Gunvald, a much more jovial and polished crime fighter best described as a loose cannon that balances out Beck’s modesty. Give Beck a try and you’ll see why critics rank it with the best of Swedish TV shows. All 8 seasons subtitled in English are streaming now on MHz Choice.


One of the most seminal crime shows in TV history – at least in the Nordic Noir genre. The Bridge starts with a dead body in the middle of Øresund Bridge, which spans between Sweden and Denmark. Detective Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) from Sweden and Martin Rohde from Denmark must work together to solve the case, and if you haven’t watched the series yet you are about to meet two detectives who are in their own class of original and compelling characters.

First broadcast in Sweden and Denmark in 2011,The Bridge arguably launched Nordic Noir as a genre. After becoming a megahit, it spawned five remakes. All four seasons are available to stream now on MHz Choice in both its original version (Swedish and Danish with English subtitles) and dubbed in English.


This Nordic Noir TV series is an MHz Choice Favorite, inspired by the novels of Viveca Sten. The show features Alexandra Rapaport (doing double duty on this list as she also stars in Gäsmamman!) alongside Jakob Cedergren, Nicolai Cleve Broch and Jonas Malmsjo. Combine one part moody crime with one part of beautiful island surroundings and you have this dramatic series that keeps audiences locked in to its investigations season after season. The series begins on a summer morning when a body is found washed ashore. Investigators pursue several leads only for even more murders to occur as the series progresses.

Rapaport’s character Nora is especially intriguing as she is beyond the years of early motherhood and somewhat disconnected from the community, fully focused on her work as a prosecutor of financial crimes. Watch as the drama unfolds and you just might be inspired to pick up a couple Viveca Sten books or pursue a prosecutorial career of your own.


The atmosphere of Arctic Circle is extra chilly. The stunning backdrop of Finnish Lapland, an ethereal and rarely seen part of the world, combined with the multilayered, suspenseful storyline makes this series one of a kind.

In the first season, Arctic Circle has an unusual twist when a criminal investigation widens to include a deadly contagious virus. Officer Nina Kautsalo finds a dying woman in a small Finnish village only to find out she’s infected with a lethal virus. The case becomes a race-against-time thriller, as Nina partners with virologist Thomas Lorenz to stop a killer while tracking a virus before it becomes a full-blown pandemic. Each of the next two seasons tackle a different gripping case set against the clock.


Deliver Us proves no force is more powerful than love. In this dark Danish thriller, five people in a small town plot a seemingly perfect revenge murder – only to realize that playing God has devilish ramifications.

Locals attempt to eradicate the source of misery, essentially taking on the role of the almighty. Those interested in themes of justice, vengeance and good versus evil will immediately fall in love with this dark, psychological Nordic Noir masterpiece. The first season is streaming now on MHz Choice.

Why Watch Nordic Noir?

Similar to Film Noir, Nordic Noir engrosses audiences with immersive dramas, complex mysteries and conflicted, imperfect characters. If you enjoy being entertained and experiencing the nuances of cultures from across the globe, you’ll love the genre’s TV shows, films and shorts.

Part of the allure of Nordic Noir content resides in its idiosyncratic aesthetics, stories, characters and stylistic components. Pivot away from your usual TV fare to soak up the visual beauty of Nordic Noir shows, immerse yourself in these engaging dramas, dive headfirst into a dark mystery and you’ll enjoy an invaluable escape. The genre is an opportunity to learn about new cultures, expand boundaries and check out the scenery of some of the world’s most beautiful northern countries.

Look closely and you just might notice how it influenced other films and shows, including crime dramas set in the United States and beyond.

Discover the World’s Best TV with MHz Choice

MHz Choice is proud to feature the Nordic Noir masterpieces detailed above and many more within our extensive catalog of international television and critically acclaimed films from Kino Lorber. Take a look at the MHz Choice catalog for yourself and you’ll agree it is the world’s premiere streaming destination for Nordic Noir series, and other mysteries, comedies and dramas from around the world.

Don’t hesitate to take one or more of these series for a spin, with our FREE no-commitment 7-day trial. Start your MHz Choice trial or subscription now and you are sure to find a gripping Nordic Noir series.

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