Happy Saturday! Better a few hours late than never, this week’s “global TV to watch” includes three top-notch film series that you can stream in the US.

The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Played with Fire: Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander — Photo courtesy of Topic

Film series. There are plenty of them, from the “Back to the Future,” “The Godfather,” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogies, to the blockbuster “Indiana Jones,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Star Wars” multi-film franchises. While those are all US productions, our list today includes film series from Denmark, Hong Kong, and Sweden.

The Department Q Tetralogy (Denmark)

Technically speaking, there are, as of this writing, six “Department Q” films, five of which have already been released, with the sixth in post-production. The focus here is on the first four films, which star Nikolaj Lie Kaas (Britannia, The Killing) and Fares Fares (Westworld, Tyrant) in the lead roles. (The most recent two star Ulrich Thomsen of Banshee and Zaki Youssef of The Looming Tower.)

Based on the novels by best-selling Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen, the “Department Q” mystery-crime thriller films follow Chief Detective Carl Mørck (Lie Kaas), an arrogant, stubborn, and surly investigator, and Assad (Fares), a good-natured, peaceful, and pious man who becomes Mørck’s partner in the Copenhagen Police’s cold case department, aka Department Q. Although these two are polar opposites, they have in common an indefatigable sense of purpose and a dogged pursuit of the truth.

Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes

In The Keeper of Lost Causes, Carl Mørck is involved in a police raid that goes sideways and ends up getting demoted from Homicide to Department Q, where he and Assad, a former stamp-wielding depot officer, are to review unsolved cases and close a few per week — of all 20 years’ worth of cold cases. Effectively demoted and relegated to a desk job in a dead-end department located in a windowless basement room, Carl sees this stalling of his career as a slap in the face. But then one particular cold case catches his eye: It concerns Merete Lynggaard (Sonja Richter, Loving Adults), a rising-star politician who supposedly committed suicide five years earlier but whose body was never found. Carl suspects foul play, owing to Merete’s brother, Uffe Lynggaard (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, The Rain), a young man with a brain disorder.

The Keeper of Lost Causes is currently available in the US thusly:

Department Q: The Absent One

The Absent One sees Department Q now on the map within the Copenhagen Police, owing to Carl and Assad’s solving of the Lynggaard case. They even get a new assistant, Rose (Johanne Louise Schmidt, Borgen). Although they have a stack of cold cases to go through, Carl insists on looking into one that was solved and closed. It revolves around a decades-old double homicide of a brother and sister, twins brutally murdered in a cabin near an elite boarding school. A junkie confessed to and was convicted for the crimes, but served just three years in prison. This suspicious detail is just the tip of the iceberg for Carl and his team, who begin to suspect a conspiracy involving wealthy, influential members of Denmark’s upper echelons, including hotelier Ditlev Pram (Pilou Asbæk, Game of Thrones).

While Carl and Assad search for the female witness who vanished days after the murders, the mentally unstable and homeless Kimmie (Danica Curcic, The Chestnut Man) wanders the streets of Copenhagen, having flashbacks of her boarding school days. Back then, the younger Kimmie (Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Knightfall) was involved with the manipulative Ditlev and his violent sidekick, Ulrik Dybbøl (David Dencik, The Ipcress File). Some things haven’t changed, and others have: now Kimmie is a target.

The Absent One is currently available in the US thusly:

Department Q: A Conspiracy of Faith

A Conspiracy of Faith finds Carl Mørck battling his inner demons while he, Assad, and Rose delve into a case that wasn’t ever cold — because it didn’t exist. They only learn that a boy was held captive after his message-in-a-bottle cry for help is found washed ashore, eight years after it was written. Like a game of “Hangman,” the Department Q team fill in the blanks of the washed-out letters and determine that the boy was, and might still be, a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses… if he’s still alive.

Meanwhile, the creepy Johannes (Pål Sverre Hagen, War Sailor) visits a family of religious congregants, whose young daughter and son are abducted soon thereafter. Parents Elias (Jakob Lohmann, The Rain) and Rakel (Amanda Collin, Raised by Wolves) don’t report their children as missing, and as it turns out, they aren’t the only ones staying silent.

Carl and Assad’s investigation into the message-in-a-bottle boy quickly turns into a race to find the kidnapper and save the lives of the most recent child abductees, while adults become victims of the psychopathic killer, as well. The question is, will Assad, a believer in a higher power, and Carl, an atheist who demeans faith as being nonsensical, be able to put their deeply-held and antithetical beliefs aside when lives are at stake?

A Conspiracy of Faith is currently available in the US thusly:

Get it on Apple TV

Journal 64 (aka The Purity of Vengeance)

In Journal 64, Carl Mørck and Assad open an investigation after workers make a gruesome discovery in an old apartment in Copenhagen: Behind a false wall, they find three mummified corpses sitting around a dining table, with an empty seat at the ready. In setting out to find out who the victims were, who the fourth place was intended for, and who the current apartment occupant is, the detectives’ investigation leads them to an infamous institution for girls on the small Danish island of Sprogø — where medical attempts at forced sterilization were a part of everyday life for select girls who were sent here. While the horrors on Sprogø ended when the institution was closed in the early ’60s, some people say the experiments have continued into the present day — forcing Carl and Assad into a race against time to prevent new abuses and murders.

Journal 64 is currently available for ad-free streaming in the US exclusively on Viaplay.

All four of these “Department Q” films are available in a Region 2 DVD box set, as well.

The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (aka Millennium) (Sweden)

Based on Stieg Larsson‘s “Millennium” novels, this trilogy of crime thrillers stars Noomi Rapace (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Black Crab) as the tattooed and emotionally-scarred but brilliant and resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, and the late, great Michael Nyqvist (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, John Wick) as Mikael Blomkvist, the inquisitive journalist of the radical magazine Millennium. It costars Lena Endre (Kingsman: The Golden Cirlce) as Erika Berger, the editor of Millennium and Blomkvist’s lover.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Salander helps Blomkvist investigate the disappearance, possibly murder, of a woman from a wealthy family who vanished 40 years ago. As they sift through piles of archives, newspapers, and photos, they begin to connect the disappearance to horrific murders from around the same time — leading them to unearth the dark history and ugly secrets of the woman’s family, a secretive clan that will go to extreme lengths to protect themselves, and to unravel a well-planned conspiracy dating back to the 1970s.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is currently available in the US thusly:

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Following on from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire sees Mikael and Lisbeth investigating an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, but right before his exposé is supposed to be published, Lisbeth is accused of multiple murders that she didn’t commit, forcing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name.

The Girl Who Played with Fire is currently available in the US thusly:

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

And in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Lisbeth fights for her life in hospital — but she still must stand trial for three murders while she recovers. With Michael’s help, she will have to prove her innocence in court by sharing details of her sordid experiences and identifying the people in positions of power who allowed vulnerable individuals like herself to suffer abuse and violence. Throughout this ordeal, Lisbeth plots her revenge…

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is currently available in the US thusly:

For folks who prefer watching things in bite-sized chunks, the “Dragon Tattoo Trilogy” will begin streaming on Topic on August 31 under the title Millennium, which is the TV series that consists of hour-long episodes from the films’ extended versions.

All three films are also accessible for US streaming through Fubo, Philo, and Plex.

Infernal Affairs Trilogy  (Hong Kong)

The “Infernal Affairs Trilogy” consists of two action-crime films that star Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers) and Tony Leung (Hidden Blade), with the middle film being a prequel starring Edison Chen (The Dark Knight) and Shawn Yue (Immortal Demon Slayer).

Infernal Affairs

The inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film The Departed, Infernal Affairs follows two men: Lau Kin Ming (Andy Lau) and Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung). On the surface, Chan is a member of a Hong Kong triad (organized crime syndicate), but in actuality he’s an undercover cop who has infiltrated the triad by posing as a gangster. Also living a double life is Lau, a gangster in the same triad that Chan has gotten in with, who became a police officer ten years ago in order to get intelligence for the gang. When a drug deal doesn’t go down as planned, triad boss Hon Sam (Eric Tsang, Ip Man: The Final Fight) and police superintendent Wong Chi Shing (Anthony Wong, White Dragon) realize there’s a mole in their respective organizations.

Meanwhile, both Chan and Lau are struggling with their double identities. Chan wonders how good a cop he can be after living as a gangster for ten years, while Lau wants to put his criminal past behind him, having grown accustomed to living a legit life as a police officer. The plot thickens when each of them realizes the other is the mole their bosses have been looking for…

Infernal Affairs is currently available for ad-free streaming in the US on The Criterion Channel, and for rental or digital purchase on Amazon Video and Apple TV, amongst others.

Infernal Affairs II

The prequel Infernal Affairs II shows us the backstories of Lau Kin Ming and Chan Wing Yan, played here by Edison Chen and Shawn Yue, respectively. It expands on the prologue shown in Infernal Affairs, going back to 1991 and tracing the histories of the two moles, as well as up-and-coming crime boss Hon Sam (Eric Tsang Chi-wai) and police inspector Wong Chi Shing (Anthony Wong), through to 1997.

Infernal Affairs II is currently available for ad-free streaming in the US on The Criterion Channel, and for rental or digital purchase on Amazon Video and Apple TV, amongst others.

Infernal Affairs III

The plot of Infernal Affairs III follows various timelines, both before and after a pivotal event in Infernal Affairs. In one of them, Chan Wing Yan (Tony Leung) tries to figure out the link between Hon Sam and mainland Chinese gang leader Shen Cheng (Daoming Chen, Hero), and learns the truth from police inspector Yeung Kam Wing (Leon Lai, Fallen Angels). In another, Lau Kin-ming (Andy Lau) learns that Hon had planted other moles in the police force — leading him to suspect Yeung of being one, while Yeung has his own suspicions about Lau. More importantly, Lau is beginning to lose it, as in his sense of reality and his sanity…

Infernal Affairs III is currently available for ad-free streaming in the US on The Criterion Channel, and for rental or digital purchase on Amazon Video and Apple TV, amongst others.

Get it on Apple TV


As an affiliate of Amazon and other cos, affiliate links on this blog allow us to earn income from qualifying actions (at no extra cost to you).

Kindle Unlimited

Global TV to Watch: Three Top-Notch International Film Series