Culture / Interview

“The Beach Towns Are Like Pearls on a Thread”: Rikke Lylloff in Conversation

RIKKE LYLLOFF is the Danish star of ARD’s Die Usedom Krimi, a series that gained admirers abroad for the rural German/Polish border setting…


Rikke, the English title is rather odd… the series isn’t actually set in the Nordics!

No! Well, I think it’s called The Nordic Murders because it’s set in the north of Germany… but yes, it’s confusing. Riding the ‘Nordic noir’ wave inspired them to add a Scandinavian touch, by bringing me onboard, and it created something different to what they had before. I think it would be fair to say that many Germans have a romanticised version of Denmark, as they have holiday homes up here… Scandinavia is a reminder of vacations for them.

Had you acted in German before?

I’d done a little bit, but this was my first big part. I learned German in school… I had some very good teachers, and I loved the grammar (that might sound weird to some people!) Having inspiring teachers is key in any subject, so I continued to study the language in gymnasium and spent some time south of the border. I married an American and didn’t speak it for some time, but I still had it listed, so I was approached by the production team of this series. I was asked to do a self-tape, and the casting team came to Denmark (after I went to Germany for a meeting). I got the job and, of course, I said yes. I love to travel, and it was a chance to do something different.

Could you tell us about your character…

Ellen Norgaard is a classic detective. She’s a modern, independent working mum now… a bit of a loner, but maybe not so much by choice (by the way she grew up, with a mother who left her and gave her no siblings). She has a confidentiality with Karin Lossow that grows as they continue to live together, and it appears she went to Usedom, like me, to do something new in life and to find out more about her background. It’s big for her, and it’s about closure and finding peace with the fact her mother left her. Healing wounds and mothering oneself is a theme throughout the films.

And Karin Lossow, the mother of your predecessor in the ‘young detective’ role (who was killed off)… she must be good to be around (played by Katrin Sass)?

Yes, and that was also one of the reasons I agreed, as Katrin is a wonderful actress. I love working with her, and she’s a large character in real life, which is inspiring to be around. She’s been there the whole time, so she’s the core of the series.

Finally, can you tell us about the Usedom strip – it’s on the border of Germany and Poland?

That’s right. It’s long, broad beaches with high skies and forests and beach towns like pearls on a thread along the coastline. We always film in the winter, as in summer it’s totally full of tourists. It’s the perfect setting for crime!


RIKKE LYLLOFF stars in The Nordic Murders, with three seasons available now on All 4.


For the latest Nordic news, follow @FikaOnlineBlog on Twitter.


This article is a Fika Online exclusive.


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