"No living persons know it yet, but the gateway to the Kingdom is opening once again
—Dr. Stig Helmer
Riget ("The Realm") is a Danish TV-series created and co-directed by the avant-garde filmaker, Lars von Trier
. It roots in the Medical Drama
genre, but it also contains copious amounts of surreal
and Religious Horror
, dark humor and supernatural events. Entirely filmed on location with hand-held cameras and grimy, sepia-tinted pictures, it has been described by critics as "Twin Peaks
The setting for the series is the eponymous Rigshospitalet
(The National Hospital) in Copenhagen, with focus on the neurosurgical ward and its employees and their somewhat mundane everyday life. But, as the Opening Narration
expains, something strange is slowly infesting the old building, and it is growing stronger.
Mrs. Sigrid Drusse, an elderly lady with a keen interest in spiritualism, is trailing the source of the disturbances, begrudgingly helped by her son Bulder, who works as a porter at the hospital. Meanwhile war is brewing in the neurosurgical ward between the new, arrogant Dr. Helmer and the more down-to-earth Dr. Krogshøj (AKA Krogen (The Hook)). Helmer has recently botched an operation and is trying to hide the evidence, which will give Krogshøj the advantage. The Head of Department, Dr. Moesgaard is blissfully ignorant of all this as he is busy planning his great reform of the department "Operation Morning Air". Meanwhile his immature son Mogge runs afoul of his professor, the (madly) idealistic Dr. Bondo, after having stolen a head from the morgue and used it for a prank. Dr. Bondo wants to get his hands on a rare tumor in dying Mr. Zakariassen's liver. And when Mr. Zakariassen's family says no, the good doctor is driven to desperate action.
And there is something strange about the pregnancy of Dr. Petersen ...
The series ran for two seasons with a lengthy gap in between. It was never officially cancelled, but the deaths of the actors playing three significant characters prevented any continuation.
An American adaptation, developed by Stephen King
and called Kingdom Hospital
, was created in 2004.
This TV series contains examples of: