By Will Barber Taylor
Hinterland Season 3 finds DCI Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington, Poldark) seeking to heal physical as well as psychological scars. The hideaway he had found himself on the wild shores of Ceredigion has been destroyed and he had moved to the seaside town of Aberystwyth.
Mathias is thrown back into an old case that has intrigued him since his early days working in Aberystwyth – a case that threatens to drive an irreconcilable rift through the team. While Mathias delves into the past, DS Sian Owens (Hannah Daniel) has been tasked with discovering who burnt down Mathias’ home.
Hinterland returns with a barnstorming opening sequence proving that like other releases from Nordic Noir it knows how to use its landscape. Hinterland has always utilised its landscape well but this new series takes the landscape and utilises it even more than previous series have – the shots of Mathias’ devastated house reflects the ripped and torn nature of the community he is sworn to protect. Alongside the landscape, language is a focal point for each episode of the series, the divide between the police and local residents, Mathias and DI Rhys (Mali Harries) and even the English and Welsh languages is at the heart of everything. Through the mixture of the Welsh language and the Welsh landscape, Hinterland is a very Welsh murder mystery series which makes it stand out and unique in contrast to traditional TV murder mysteries.
Hinterland really does reflect its title; the series is not only set in a “Hinterland” but Mathias himself occupies his own personal hinterland. He is divided from the rest of the native Welsh speaking police over a case from his past that he is determined to solve which throws up further conflict. It is because of his outsider status that Mathias is able to solve the cases in the series with such determination. Herein lies the brilliances of Hinterland – it creates a character that reflects its major theme, division, and also mirrors the name of the series itself.
Richard Harrington gives a great performance as Mathias. His cold, determined and naturalistic take on the role makes the series truly unique. He does appear truthful as a war-torn DCI, trying to be accepted in a place he doesn’t feel he belongs. His interactions with DS Sian Owens (Hannah Daniel) highlights his frustration with life. It also explores his determination to set the problems of his past in Aberystwyth and the internal dilemma over his actions in the past series to rest.
Ultimately, Hinterland is a series that truly is the product of Wales – mystic, dramatic and filled to the brim with insightful ideas about the nature of crime.
Hinterland Series 3 is available to buy from all good retailers now.