FORTITUDE Season 1 DVD Review


Looking at the cover of the DVD set made me think of Whiteout, a fun mystery set in Antarctica based on a graphic novel by Greg Rucka. Going in I was expecting a story set in a cold climate with a lot of outdoors stuff and while those are aspects of the story that is far from all of it.

Fortitude is a small town on an island in the arctic circle. It’s supposed to be one of the safest places on earth. A character describes this in a way that makes sense. Paraphrasing: “People who come here need to be able to put a roof over their head and provide for themselves. So people here are happy and we have no crime.” The town really is small, everybody knows each other. There is a mine that is closing and a research center. Some shops and a hotel and a few places to drink. People get along and no one feels the need to commit crimes.

Until now.

A professor (played by Christopher Eccleston, forever doomed to short roles) is killed. And I mean really killed, brutally murdered. This being essentially a small town mystery we have certain aspects in play. Local law enforcement who are unused to major crimes. Usually people from the small town or cops who have seen too much and need a less crazy life. We also have a town full of people with secrets. Everyone has their own reason for being here and a lot of it comes down to wanting to be away from large groups of people and forget a past. Small towns are also untrusting of outsiders which explains some early moves in the case by the Sheriff. Because it was a British citizen killed an Inspector is sent over to look at the case and conduct his own investigation. Enter DCI Morton played by Stanley Tucci, a former FBI Agent working for Scotland Yard.

As secrets are revealed and the case progresses things are definitely not as they seem. The show evolves from just a mystery to a thriller and even a bit of a horror film. The genres are blended together beautifully.
Outstanding performances by Richard Dormer as the Sheriff, Sofie Gråbøl as the governor and Michael Gambon as a photographer dying of liver cancer. The whole cast is great and the evolution of the characters is well done. The real star is the village where the show was filmed. It feels brutal and unforgiving and yet seems like a cool place to live, other than the killings of course.

This was a great show and it was very engaging and is something I plan to watch again. There is also a season 2 on its way with Randy Quaid.