Before we Die (Swedish: Innan vi Dör) is a Swedish crime-thriller that aired from January to March in 2017, and is one of the most acclaimed Nordic Noir series the last ten years. The plot follows the cold and unfettered but ultimately well-intentioned police officer Hanna Svensson and her son Christian, who has gone down a criminal path and has a hatred against Hanna for arresting him for possession of drugs, earning him two years of prison.
After those two years, Christian is out again, and life carries on as usual. He has recently gotten a job at a restaurant owned by the wealthy businessman Davor Mimica as a dishwasher, and Hanna now seems to want to regain their connection. But Christian understandably isn't as tempted on that as she is, he probably won't be getting any especially advanced jobs after what she did to him, so it's fair to say that she essentially ruined his future. She nonetheless expresses that she enjoys that he's trying to change his life around, but every time they try discussing it, it ends with Christian trying to run away. In actuality, Christian is doing petty crimes for Davor who is a crime lord and the leading figure in his criminal family, consisting of his mother Dubravka, his father Zvonomir, his sister Blanka who is an aspiring lawyer, and his brothers Pawel and Jovan.
Switching to Hanna's life, she has just visited a colleague, Sven Birgersson, who quickly leaves early in the morning to meet a leak known as "Inez", but while on his way there mysteriously disappears. Considering his likeability and capability as a detective, everyone at their police station panics, and do everything that is needed to find him, and when they get the news that Sven, as well as another man who happened to be at the same place as Sven, was shot dead, they go on a long case through corruption, gangs, and informants to find the true killer, but in the process come across a complex plan made by a low-profile but extremely wealthy family, which Christian happens to have connections to.
A second season came out 2019, once again following Christian, Björn and Hanna. With the Mimica family significantly weakened, they have moved on to another organization; Kretsen (The Circle). It consists of hundreds of corrupt police officers, who take drugs from criminals during search and seizures and then sell it. Christian has been living in Costa Rica under a different identity, but returns to Sweden one day. The Mimica family still want their revenge on Christian, and will do anything to find him.
This series contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Hanna, despite being in her 50s, is quite capable at fighting and a good marksman, then again she's been an officer for a very long time, so it's probably not that surprising.
- Affably Evil:
- Davor; polite and very generous when it comes to his associates, willing to spare them and still give them a big salary despite them doing downright moronic acts that could put the entire family at risk, and he also has no emotion whatsoever while brutally interrogating and torturing witnesses or other people and killing them despite doing everything he says.
- Petter Hill, despite being an MC-Club chief and willing to kill a lot of people just to get to that position, is quite soft-spoken to the police and cares for his family. Not to mention that he isn't even guilty of any onscreen crimes, as all of his supposed victims were set up by the Mimicas to manipulate the police into arresting the wrong person.
- A Father to His Men: Every gang leader is this to their henchmen.
- Alas, Poor Villain:
- Stefan Vargic definitely had it coming after being an abusive and creepy asshole for multiple episodes, but considering his future was starting to look brighter (at least as a criminal anyway...) and he was going to become a millionaire, he was so utterly happy because of it, and it did look like he may have started to become a better person because of it as well, it is heartbreaking to see Davor and the gang lure him into the forest where he is terrorized before Davor forces Christian to kill him while Stefan begs him not to do it, meaning that he is falsely accused of being The Mole and thus killed, and it's even harder to watch seeing as Christian is desperately holding back tears as he's doing it. What could make this even sadder is the reveal that Davor was aware all along that Christian was the true leak and using that to distract the police, and him killing Stefan was just to make Christian convinced that they weren't suspecting him. So technically, they didn't even need to kill him.
- Davor is a downplayed example; he witnesses a lot of family members, including his own father, dying, which obviously shocks him. He desperately tries surviving and he ends up standing alone and helpless near the water, and it seems as if he is accepting defeat. ...Then he spends his final moments trying to shoot Hanna, despite having no chance at all. This could be interpretated as him trying to avenge his father's death or something, though it is unknown what the motivation for doing it was.
- Badass Longcoat: Davor either wears a bomber jacket or a black coat when he is out, which looks good with his white shirt.
- Big Bad: Davor Mimica.
- Bittersweet Ending: Hanna is once again on good terms with her colleagues despite a lot of confusion and the true killer, Davor, is murdered, preventing the Mimica family from growing their criminal empire even more, but that doesn't mean that there aren't other family members or connections to the family that might take his position and continue their business. Petter Hill, despite the police being aware that he is innocent, is still nonetheless incarcerated and probably won't be released as there is very little proof of his innocence. It is also unclear how Christian will go on in life, as he will have a hard time getting a job and might still be hunted by some Mimica subordinate.
- British Brevity: Like many other Nordic Noir media, the first season of this series has ten episodes. The second season has only eight.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Stefan is funny and charming until someone tries remotely opposing him; then it's time to die, quite simply.
- Chekhov's Gun: Davor is obsessed with the (in-universe, not a real person) infamous crime lord Angel Velasquez, who used a submarine to deliver drugs, which caused his sales to go up an extreme amount. This is the same method that Davor is planning on using. Subverted when it's revealed that it's simply a distraction.
- Depraved Bisexual: Davor is secretly homosexual, though it's not something he'll ever be open with, considering that gay people aren't really popular in his family.
- Despair Event Horizon: Christian goes through this when he is forced by Davor to kill Stefan Vargic as he is begging him not to kill him. He feels a lot of guilt considering Stefan was falsely accused of being the leak and was killed for that reason while Christian himself was the informant all along.
- Deuteragonist: Christian, who turns out to be the police informant Inez and thus he gets a lot of screentime trying to avoid being caught by the Mimicas, though the cops don't actually realize that he's Inez until half the season.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: While Stefan's death has certainly put both of them into some trauma, Blanka and Christian end up with a happy ending, finally being able to start a relationship with each other without Stefan getting jealous and anyone who would want to kill them for being police informants are dead, so unless something goes terribly wrong somehow, they can now start a regular life for once.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Davor Mimica cares for his family and associates and will do anything to protect them. Hell, he even spares Christian despite fully knowing that he is an informant, and says to Hanna that even if he'll eventually have to kill him, it won't be painful. He also cares for his secret boyfriend and seems fully willing to marry him had his family not been against homosexuality, forcing him to keep it to himself.
- In his own very screwed up way, Stefan Vargic truly does care for Blanka despite behaving like a creep and sometimes even abusing her. As Blanka herself says, there are two sides to Vargic; a charming, likable and fun guy who everyone would want to hang out with, and then suddenly out of nowhere he's an abusive, murderous maniac.
- Petter Hill, while the leader of the notorious MC-gang Mobsters, cares for his kids and wife, despite being quite neglectful to his kids (it's unintentional though, and he still tries his best).
- Et Tu, Brute?: This is Blanka's reaction when she realizes that Christian truly is a police informant.
- Fatal Flaw: Christian is definitely too much of a Nice Guy to be a criminal and that's one his main problems. For instance, when he is forced to kill Stefan, he is traumatized over it for possibly months and feels an immense guilt over it despite not really being his fault.
- Foreshadowing: Alot of Davor's acts, in retrospect, seem stupid and unnecessary, and Christian very easily lures him. For instance, Davor doesn't check Christian's phone which would reveal whether or not he's a leak. That's because he's already aware that Christian is the leak, and is using it to his own advantage, always being a step ahead of the police, and meaning that he is able to control exactly what Christian reveals to them.
- Good Is Not Nice: Pretty much everyone who is on the good side (with the exception of Christian, Blanka and to a certain extent Petter Hill, all of which work for criminals) have moments where they are downright condescending or rude and often come across as smugger than the villains.
- The Hero: Though it may sometimes be hard to see due to her coldness, Hanna Svensson ultimately is one of the most capable cops in the series and compared to many others, comes across as caring. Then again, that probably says a lot about her colleagues.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hanna is overly harsh and is often cold to people, and it seems as if she doesn't even care about Christian, but she does and she only is like this because she thinks it's the best thing to do as a police officer. At the end when Christian is in danger she panics and does everything to help him, even offering a deal with Davor to spare him in return that they will never be arrested and will be able to perform their true plan. It is also clear that when Christian truly does as she says, she feels satisfied and won't continue being harsh.