The Legacy

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RENOWNED artist Veronika Gronnegaard’s house is a wonderful, rambling, dilapidated manor house.

An aeroplane sits in the grounds and the house is full of strange art work and sculptures.

Even stranger are its inhabitants. A naked man wears a dolls house; an assistant hangs cloud-like sheets. When the grandchildren arrive and the Christmas tree won’t fit, Veronika’s dishevelled-looking husband cuts a hole in the ceiling.

As for Veronika; she’s spontaneous, free-spirited, generous, charismatic – and very ill.

When she suddenly dies, her family is torn apart by the fight over her inheritance – their legacy.

The premise of Danish drama The Legacy doesn’t sound exciting. Where are the bodies, the serial killers, the flawed but fascinating police officers that made everyone fall in love with Danish series like The Killing?

But as it happens, The Legacy needs none of these to make it easily one of, if not the best drama of the year.

It’s brilliant and complex, a rich tapestry of personality and history about a family unravelling as ugly secrets leech out.

The story is slick and intense, exploring rivalry, greed, lust, family, the lies we tell each other and ourselves and how the past can poison us.

The characters at times bewilder, charm, anger or frustrate the viewer but you never look away for one moment in what is simply an addictive series.

Veronika’s death and her “death bed will” to the child she gave away, proves a catalyst for schemes and lies that strip the characters bare.

We meet Veronika’s stylish and sophisticated daughter Gro (Trine Dryholm), a gallery director always at her mother’s beck and call.

Veronika’s son Frederick (Carsten Bjornlund) resents his mother and won’t step foot in the house and his brother Emil (Mikkel Boe Folsgaard) owes money to criminals for a resort he’s building in Thailand and only phones his mother when he wants money.

But Veronika (Kirsten Olesen) has another child, Signe (Marie Bach Hansen), a florist who lives with a handball star. Signe has no idea who her real mother is, or even that she is adopted, until Veronika gives her a letter just before she dies leaving her the $10 million house Gronnegaard.

Veronika’s children, victims of their radical, free-thinking upbringings, all think the house is their legacy.

Gro plans to establish a museum of her mother’s work.

Wealthy lawyer Frederick dreams of returning to his childhood home, his father and grandfather’s house and is willing to buy out his siblings.

Emil must find money and soon to pay off the Thai mafia.

Signe doesn’t want the house. But that soon changes when everyone’s schemes are unveiled. Her decision to fight for what her mother left her will unravel lives, including those of the people closest to her.

The Legacy was sold to countries including the UK and Australia even before it debuted in Denmark.

And it’s easy to see why. This is just superior TV. It’s well acted, sophisticated, oddly claustrophobic and compelling.

If you watch one new drama in 2015, make sure it’s the addictive The Legacy.

 

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