‘Young Wallander’ Season 1: Ending, Explained – Who Killed Hugo Lundgren? & Why?


“Young Wallander” explores a plethora of themes and brings a lot of conflicts through its narrative, as a result of which it does get messy sometimes and tends to lose its grip too. While the setting of the premise and the police hunt for a culprit keeps you on the edge of your seat, the end is quite dissatisfying as the audience doesn’t get what they expected the most, i.e., a verdict. However, that’s how real life is. Rich wrongdoers rarely get convicted for the crimes they commit. But even though Kurt Wallander fails to change society as a whole, he does make a difference in one person’s life, and that’s what makes him a hero. Hence, without further ado, let’s explore Young Wallander’s journey.

Young Wallander is based on a fictional police inspector created by Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell. The first season was developed by Ben Harris for Netflix.

‘Young Wallander’ Season 1: Plot Summary

The screen opens with a young detective, Kurt Wallander, who patrols the night streets of Malmö with his salient companion, Detective Reza Al-Rahman. Kurt lives alone in a dangerous neighborhood of Rosengaard, mostly occupied by immigrants who perform odd jobs to survive in the new country. Thus, for his own safety, Kurt never discloses the nature of his profession to any tenants.

One night, Kurt hears a fire alarm blazing in the middle of the night, which he investigates, only to find out that someone has intentionally ignited a fire in his building’s maintenance room. Moments later, he finds a crowd gathered around the playground where someone has chained a young boy, Hugo Lundgren, to the fence and sealed his mouth with duct tape. Before Kurt can help the boy, a mysterious hooded man rips off the duct tape from Hugo’s mouth, revealing a grenade placed inside it. In a matter of a few seconds, the grenade kills Hugo, and Kurt blames himself for being unable to save the young boy’s life.

Soon after the chilling incident, detective Frida Rask calls Kurt to the HQ and inquires about Hugo. Through their sources, the detectives have found out that Hugo had an altercation with a tenant, Ibra, who is a promising footballer. Ibra is arrested by Rask and brought to the station, where SI Josef Hemberg interrogates him. Josef tells Ibra that the police have found ammunition hidden under the carpet of his apartment, where he lives with his mother, Mariam.

While the police blame Ibra for killing Hugh, Kurt refuses to accept it and decides to help Mariam. He carries on his personal investigation to catch the “hooded man” whom he suspects to be Hugh’s killer, and looking at his zealous investigation, Josef recruits him for the case. The series further explores Kurt’s pursuit as he goes down the rabbit hole to catch the real culprit and bring justice to Ibra, and in turn, unravels an intricate conspiracy that threatens the entire country.

Who Killed Hugo Lundgren? & Why?

A 23-year-old Afghani national, Zemar Bangesh, who was living as an illegal immigrant in Sweden, killed Hugo Lundgren because he was threatened by his employer, Karl-Axel Munck.

Karl-Axel Munck, the firstborn son of Leopold Munk, belonged to the royal Munk family, the richest and most influential family in Sweden. The family still practiced Fideicommissum, which made the firstborn child, Karl, the rightful heir of the wealth. However, recently, Leopold enacted a change in the deed and gave his inheritance to his second son, Gustav Munck.

This sudden change in inheritance was influenced by Karl’s past. When he was in boarding school, Karl violently attacked a schoolmate, Tomas Von Rosen. The attack made certain that Karl had sociopathic tendencies, which Kurt believed came from the pressure of his inheritance. In simple words, Karl was obsessed with it.

Though Leopold protected Karl and buried the matter, he had his doubts about Karl’s capability to lead the company and the family. Through the years, he assessed the efficiency of his two sons, but when he learned about his terminal illness, he was compelled to make a decision. Fortunately, at this point in time, his second son, Gustav, demonstrated character strength through his humanitarian work for immigrants, proving to Leopold his worthiness as a leader. And finally, Leopold made a choice and made Gustav the rightful heir of his wealth.

Karl could sense wealth slipping right under his nose, so he joined forces with Eman “Dodo” Dodovic, a smuggler of cocaine and weapons, to protect his inheritance. With the help of Dodo, Karl planned to defame and kill Gustav, and in exchange, he facilitated shipments for Dodo from his Munk shipping company.

In his first attack, Karl targeted a Swedish boy, Hugo Lundgren, whose best friend Isak worked as a drug peddler for Dodo and smuggled drugs into parties organized by Gustav. Karl hired Zemar Bangesh, an immigrant, to kidnap Hugo in a black van that Kurt discovered outside Rosengaard. Karl especially chose Rosengaard to murder Hugo because the estate was redeveloped by a charitable foundation run by his brother Gustav. He speculated that the media would attack Gustav for protecting violent immigrants.

After Hugo’s death, the nationalists conducted an anti-immigrant march, and to protect the illegal immigrants, Gustav and his associate Mona hid them in a local church. Karl knew about it and disclosed the location to the Norse Protection League through the dark web, who attacked the church and the police. When the media caught the news, they blamed Gustav for hiding illegal immigrants, and Karl could see his plan succeeding. However, in his pursuit to gain an inheritance, Karl killed a dozen innocent men, and thus he deserved to be punished. Unfortunately, not even a case was filed against him.

‘Young Wallander’ Season 1: Ending Explained

In the black van parked outside Rosengaard, the detectives found a fingerprint that they believed belonged to Karl, who had designed the grand scheme to get his inheritance. While they successfully picked up Karl’s fingerprint from his office, Hemberg discovered that Leopold had already passed on his new will and declared Gustav as his legal heir. Hence, for Karl to get the inheritance, there was only one way left: to kill Gustav.

With the help of a man that worked at The Cube, Karl planted a bomb in Gustav’s car. This was the same composite C-4 that Dodo smuggled from Yugoslavia, probably with the help of Karl’s shipping company. In the explosion, Hemberg lost his life, but fortunately, Kurt saved Gustav.

Kurt and Rask tried to question Karl based on the fingerprint found in the black van. However, without any concrete evidence, the detectives failed to file a case against the billionaire. As Karl left the station, Kurt saw him hugging his mother, who had separated from Leopold after the bullying incident at Karl’s boarding school. Kurt speculated that due to Karl’s psychopathic tendencies, Leopold had his doubts about Karl becoming the legal heir of the family. Still, maybe the children’s mother fought for her firstborn and supported him in times of need.

Nevertheless, in all this chaos, Kurt lost his conviction to seek justice and thus decided to quit the force after Hemberg’s death. He had one more reason to do so, which was not explicitly suggested in the end, but in ‘Young Wallander’ Episode 6, Mona hinted that she was going to leave Malmö. Kurt has been a loner since the beginning of the series. He had never really found any love or attachment in his life and was passionately seeking a relationship. Kurt found a home in Mona, and he would probably accompany her to any corner of the world.

In the ending sequence, Kurt and Mona returned to Rosengaard, where Ibra thanked Kurt for talking to the IFK football club and getting Ibra a two-year pro deal. With this gesture, Kurt saved Ibra from destroying his life and becoming a street gangster. He once told Hemberg that Ibra had the potential to escape the run-down neighborhood, and finally, he did. Kurt may not have been able to put Karl behind bars, but he saved one life, and at the end of the day, it mattered most to him.

When Kurt and Mona reached Kurt’s apartment, they found a special pancake bread left by Ibra’s mother, Mariam. In the first episode of ‘Young Wallander,’ when Kurt gets the news of Mariam leaving Rosengaard, he tells Mariam to get a special loaf for her as a parting gift. Mariam remembered Kurt’s words and brought him the same to thank him for all he did to protect and save Ibra.

‘Young Wallander’ Season 2: Expectations

The second season of “Young Wallander,” which will air on February 17, 2022, will bring Kurt back to the service to investigate a new criminal affair in Stockholm. It is most unlikely that Season 1 will have much to do with the narrative of the latter, except for the recurring characters already plotted in the “Young Wallander” universe.

See More: ‘Young Wallander’ Season 2: Ending, Explained – Who Murdered Elias Fager?

‘Young Wallander’ is a 2020 Crime Drama Television series developed by Ben Harris. It is streaming on Netflix.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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