Main character: Inspector Kurt Wallander
Country of origin: Sweden
Main location: Ystad (real town in Skåne, Soutern Sweden)

Creator: Henning Mankell
Born in: Stockholm, Sweden
Born on: February 3, 1948
Died in: Gothenburg, Sweden
Died on: October 5, 2015
Nationality: Swedish

Literary series started in: 1991 (Mördare utan ansikte)
Original language: Swedish
Publisher: Ordfront Förlag (Stockholm, Sweden)
Number of books (original editions): 30 (including 11 books in the Wallander series, not including children’s books)
Latest title published in: 2017 (Svenska gummistövlar)
Translations: Translated in more than 40 languages

Three individual Wallander television titles have been produced for Swedish and British TV

Television series started in: 1994
Producer: SVT, Sweden
Number of seasons: TV-film series (9 films in 1-4 episodes)
Latest season broadcast: 2006
Transnational distribution: Yes

Television series started in: 2005
Producer: Yellow Bird for TV4, Sweden
Number of seasons: TV-film series in three seasons (32 films)
Latest season broadcast: 2013
Transnational distribution: Yes

Television series started in: 2008
Producer: Left Bank Pictures and Yellow Bird for BBC, England
Number of seasons: TV series (3x4 feature length adaptations in four seasons)
Latest season broadcast: 2016
Transnational distribution: Yes

Case study rationale:

The first installment of Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander series was published in 1991. Until his death in 2015, he published over 30 books and sold over 40 mil. copies worldwide. The narratives and the universe of the novels spun the world famous socio-critical voice of the literary couple Mai Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö into a bestselling novel series, various spin-offs and other stand-alone works. The books series has been adapted for the television screen twice, once for the Swedish PSB SVT (1994-2006) and once for the British PSB BBC (2008-16). The characters were adapted for the film and television series Wallander for cinemas and Swedish TV4 (2005-13). The Wallander stories all revolve around the small Southern Swedish town Ystad, which – based on the fame of the Wallander series and adaptations – have become a remarkable international tourist attraction. Mankell was a central player in setting up the Ystad production company Yellow Bird; as a special contractual feature, he required that adaptations should be set within the proximity of Ystad. The result today has been an astonishing Swedish production hub and an overall Southern Swedish commissioning system for local film and television production. Henning Mankell’s Kurt Wallander character has been instrumental in the international profile of Swedish crime fiction as well as in the growth and spread of the genre brand Nordic Noir.


Online research resources



Henning Mankell on the crime genre

Henning Mankell on the crime genre


Henning Mankell’s WALLANDER: Behind the scenes


The Faceless Killers (SVT 1994)


The Wallander universe as a Southern Swedish tourist attraction.


Inspector-Wallander.org, the English fan-site for Kurt Wallander and Henning Mankell’s authorship, including material on the TV productions and international translations



For more insights into Kurt Wallander, the novels, the context, the adaptations:

Access (Registered users only) 

DETECt Repository
: More Wallander research resources

All images and videos are copyright to their respective owners and are protected under international copyright laws.

All the images and videos on this page are not hosted on the DETECT Portal server but are only inserted as links.