Saturday, May 30, 2009

Alas, if you can’t trust Masterpiece…

…who, then, Dear Gentle Reader(s), can one trust?

The Masterpiece series on public television recently broadcast a Wallander segment titled “One Step Behind” which, it turns out, was a bit unfaithful to the book. 

The villain in the screenplay (is there a word for a videoplay?) is limned as a jealous drag queen who kills for attention and for revenge.

That’s not what happens in the book.  No spoilers here for readers, but the tinge of homophobia which colors the screenplay is totally absent from the pages of the novel.

Why might that have happened?  Other than a bit of imaginative laziness on the part of the video’s writers, it’s hard to think of a reason.

Other than the villain’s rationale, the video is faithful enough to the book.  It’s a 90 minute play developed from a 408 page book—much has to be truncated, characters omitted, incidents compressed.  There was no reason, though, to alter the villain’s explanation.  The book makes much more sense.

So, Masterpiece is one to be trusted, but read the book for verification.  (Which is not a bad thing.)

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