1. HE'S SWEDISH
We're firmly in Nordic Noir territory with Kurt Wallander, and Sweden - specifically, the province of Skane - is a living, breathing presence in every single scene. Wallander may have the crumpled, worn-down, world-weary personality of a big city cop, but his beat is far from the mean streets of an urban setting. Think rolling rustic landscapes, vast skies and trees swaying in the wind. Wallander's Skane is a bit like the Oxford of Inspector Morse: a seemingly serene setting where things shouldn't happen. Except they do. Things happen very, very often.
2. HE'S AT THE END OF HIS TETHER
There are haunted detectives, and then there's Kurt Wallander. Other cops battle their demons, but Wallander often seems like he's literally possessed by his. His red-rimmed eyes, ravaged expression and shuffling, defeated demeanor all point to a man who never gets a respite from the frustration and angst swirling within him. A man who is apparently just one bad day away from having a complete breakdown. Except he's made of stronger stuff than that, because bad days keep on happening to him, and still he perseveres. But for how long?
3. HE'S LITERALLY TRAUMATISED
Wallander's mental agony doesn't just stem from his hyper-sensitive empathy for the victims of crime, or his penchant for existential introspection while gazing out at barren fields. No: the man has a good, solid reason for being mightily fed up with things, because he was once stabbed on duty. He won't harp on about it, but the injury was clearly to his spirit as well as his flesh.
4. HIS HOME LIFE'S A MESS
We mean that literally - Wallander's house is in dire need of decluttering. But also, given everything written above, it won't be surprising to know that Wallander doesn't have the most idyllic of family set-ups. His wife left him for another man, for example. And then there's his turbulent relationship with his grown-up daughter, Linda. They obviously care about each other, but the breakdown of Wallander's marriage, and the clash of their personalities, means that daddy-and-daughter time can be be pretty fraught in the Wallander household. On top of that, Wallander has an equally fractured connection with his aging father, whose mental capabilities are failing fast.
5. HE CAN LIVE A LITTLE (SOMETIMES)
If it sounds like Kurt Wallander isn't exactly the life and soul of a party, well, that would be an entirely accurate assessment (if he even went to any parties, that is). Still, there are gleams of optimism in the darkness of his soul, and he's capable of very occasionally attempting some semblance of a "normal" life. Like when his daughter manages to convince him to have a stab at online dating. Wallander writing flirty emails may sound as unlikely as a dog playing the maracas, but - shockingly - he has crackling chemistry with his eventual date...
6. HE HAS A BRILLIANT RINGTONE
It's true: Wallander has a strangely beguiling, even fascinating, and definitely unique ringtone which has a hypnotic effect whenever it goes off. It's fitting that his ringtone is unlike any other, because it emphasizes just how morbidly important his phone is to him. It's an always-on connection to the dark side, a permanent reminder that a new case, a new clue, a new diabolical twist can happen at any moment, no matter where he may be. The healthiest thing would be for Wallander to switch the thing off sometimes, but then being "healthy" isn't what this dogged detective is good at. Solving cases and wrestling endlessly with his past... that's his thing.