Huset (Prisoner) Mini-Series: Heart-Breaking Nordic Tale

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Huset (Prisoner-2023) Mini-Series Featured Image

Huset (Prisoner) mini-series is a heart-breaking Nordic tale from Denmark. This Danish show depicts the tough and demanding lives of prison inmates as well as the prison guards.

Based on the Danish language novel Fangeleg (Prison Game) by Kim Fupz Aakeson, this series focuses on the problematic situations that exist for people trapped in a jail system.

Trailer (Danish) of the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

Danish Trailer – Huset – Ny Dansk Dramaserie – DR | YouTube

Synopsis of the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

Four prison officers are forced to make some major changes in the prison they work in to help save their jobs, but those changes disrupt the fragile power balance among the inmates and turn daily life into a battle for survival.

Rating of the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

FM Rating3.90/5
FM Short CommentsThe thoughtful script depicts the sorry state of affairs in the prison system. In this fictional (realistic?) tale, both sets of people, the guards as well as the inmates, are the prisoners of a broken system. It was great to see a talented actress Sofie Gråbøl captivating us with her heart-breaking performance. However, she is not alone, others contributed to make it an entertaining show.
Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series – FM Rating

Spoiler Free Review of the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

The introduction

This time, we are reviewing the ‘Huset’ mini-series from Denmark. Not so long ago, we reviewed another prison drama, the ‘Time‘ series on our FM, which was from Britain. Although the stories of both the prison dramas in these two series are fictional, one can see a sense of realism in them. In a way, they raise a few very important prison issues.

Both of these European crime dramas in Jail focus on human stories. Just like the streets, the uneasy calm and peace prevail inside a prison too. But, quite often only one spark is needed to ignite the fire among these violent people. So, this Danish show depicts the tension-filled relationship that exists between the prison guards and the prison inmates.

The plotline

Sammi (Youssef Wayne Hvidtfeldt), Henrik (David Dencik), Miriam (Sofie Gråbøl), and Gert (Charlotte Fich) are prison officers who work together in an antiquated Danish prison. Their workplace is characterized by its harsh and hostile nature, reflecting the conflicts, secrets, and solitude that each of them experiences in their personal lives outside the prison. These hidden secrets are soon to emerge, bringing about significant ramifications not just for the four prison officers but for everyone associated with the prison, both inside and outside its walls. This prison is like a volcano, which is simmering and waiting to explode, anytime.

We liked the smart script of this prison drama

We liked the basic theme and intelligent script by Kim Fupz Aakeson of this limited series. The concept of crime and punishment is as old as human civilization. Yet, this modern-day jail drama perhaps outlined the fact that the prison structure has become a broken (social and political) system. The script uses the personal and professional stories of the four prison guards to drive home some of the important points.

A lot of loopholes and fault lines exist in the depicted prison system, so improvement needs to be carried out in the present-era jail system. This show also makes an important point that both the jail guards and the jail inmates are true prisoners in the real sense. The ‘House’ (system) always wins, meanwhile, people (guards & inmates) suffer in the end.

Loved the tense music, prison setting and acting-performances too

Martin Dirkov has used music evocatively to build up the tension and mental stress among the viewers. Even the claustrophobic setting of the prison is too realistic for our taste. No wonder, while watching this Nordic Noir show, we could feel the tension in the air. The hostility and aggression among the people (guards & inmates) in this jail were heated.

The primary filming location for the series was Vridsløselille State Prison, which was built near Copenhagen in 1859 and operated as a prison until its closure in 2017.

Besides, it was good to see Sofie Gråbøl after a long gap, we last saw her in ‘The Killing (Forbrydelsen)‘ Series. And as always, she is in terrific acting form. But she is not alone, other actors/actresses like David Dencik, Youssef Wayne Hvidtfeldt, Laura Christensen, Charlotte Fich, etc. have given gripping performances in this intense human drama.

All four prison officials, Sammi (Youssef Wayne Hvidtfeldt), Henrik (David Dencik), Miriam (Sofie Gråbøl), and Gert (Charlotte Fich), are battling their personal and professional demons daily. 

All kinds of human behaviour, viz., hostility, violence, love, lust, adultery, betrayals, drugs, secrets,  blackmail, corruption, etc. came to fore in this intriguing jail tale.

The conclusion

Although there were a few flaws in the execution and depiction of this matter-of-fact tale, we have overlooked them. In a larger scheme of things, it is a well-made prison drama that narrates a bunch of heart-rending stories related to humanity and authentic humans. With only six episodes, it is a perfect mini-series for the marathon watch. This present-day social and human drama is a perfect but grim reminder to all of us that to err is human…

Key Details about the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

GenreCrime, Drama
Original languageDanish
SeasonFirst (One Only) Season
EpisodesSix (6) Episodes
CreatorsKim Fupz Aakeson, Frederik Louis Hviid, & Michael Noer
MusicMartin Dirkov
WriterKim Fupz Aakeson
DirectorsFrederik Louis Hviid & Michael Noer
CastSofie Gråbøl (Miriam), David Dencik (Henrik), Youssef Wayne Hvidtfeldt (Sammi), Charlotte Fich (Gert), Dan Boie Kratfeldt (Panik), Mickey Nørregaard (Mix), Sami Darr (Hulken), Laura Christensen (Sille), Gustav Dyekjær Giese (Benji), Niklas Herskind (Collie), Bjarne Henriksen (Torsten), etc.
TaglinesWoman wears a tie.
Producer & BroadcasterDR Drama
Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series – About

Poster of the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

Huset (Prisoner-2023) Mini-Series Poster
Huset (Prisoner-2023) Mini-Series – Poster

Spoilers Alert – Episode Summary – Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

Episode Summary of the Six (6) Episodes

Velkommen ven! (Welcome friend!) | September 1, 2023 (S1, E1)

Sammi takes charge as a prison guard in a big, old prison called Huset, where the strong inmates dominate the weak; the prison guards receive a shocking message.

Har du en stikker? (Do you have a stick?) | September 8, 2023 (S1, E2)

The clean-up campaign begins as two consultants from the Correctional Service monitor how the prison is run; prison guard Miriam attempts to repay her son’s debt.

Er der en dårlig nyhed? (Is there bad news?) | September 15, 2023 (S1, E3)

The information from Sammi’s secret source leads to more successful raids, which impresses the consultants but puts the strong inmates under pressure and makes them desperate as their business is ruined.

Får jeg et host? (Am I getting a cough?) | September 22, 2023 (S1, E4)

The inmates suspect there is a snitch among them; Gert wonders how new drugs keep coming in; a big fight with handmade weapons takes place.

Siger du vi lyver? (Are you saying we’re lying?) | September 29, 2023 (S1, E5)

News spreads that there is a dirty cop in the prison, so new precautions are taken to smuggle in; the four guards face challenges when they receive a devastating message about the inmate they put in an unauthorised leg lock.

Huset vinder altid (The house always wins) | October 6, 2023 (S1, E6)

The officers tensely wait for the response to the death of the inmate as the two rival gangs begin to talk to each other; a huge prisoner riot breaks out.

Awards won by the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series

Names of the AwardsWinners of the Awards
Prix Italia 2023Rikke Tørholm Kofoed, Kim Fupz Aakeson, Frederik Louis Hviid, & Michael Noer – Winner Prix Italia – TV Drama
Danish Film Awards (Robert) 2024David Dencik – Winner Robert – Best Actor – TV Series (Årets mandlige hovedrolle – tv-serie)
Sofie Gråbøl – Winner Robert – Best Actress – TV Series (Årets kvindelige hovedrolle – tv-serie)
Gustav Dyekjær Giese – Winner Robert – Best Supporting Actor – TV Series (Årets mandlige birolle – tv-serie)
Laura Christensen – Winner Robert – Best Supporting Actress – TV Series (Årets kvindelige birolle – tv-serie)
Frederik Louis Hviid (director), Michael Noer (director), Kim Fupz Aakeson (writer), Rikke Tørholm Kofoed (producer) – Winner Robert – Best TV Series (Årets tv-serie)
Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series – Awards

Poster and Featured Image of the Huset (Prisoner/2023) Mini-Series are courtesy of IMDb.

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