Review: The Swingers

Grace Dean reviews the Dutch crime drama The Swingers (De Nieuwe Buren).

Grace Dean
11th March 2019
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Described by the Guardian as a “camp Dutch export”, The Swingers is proof that the Netherlands has more to offer than just cheese, windmills and space cakes.

The Swingers is a Dutch crime drama series which is available on Channel 4 through their Walter Presents collection of foreign-language television series, known throughout the Netherlands as De Nieuwe Buren (The New Neighbours). The series encompasses an incredibly broad range of topics including love, affairs, perverts, miscarriages, drugs, lies, IVF, and, obviously, swinging. Young couple Eva and Peter have moved to a cosy Dutch suburb to settle down and start their family, when Eva is soon struck by tragedy and suffers an abortion, casting her into deep misery as she realises that her dream of a fairy-tale family life is just a fantasy. Desperate for comfort, Eva and Peter seek solace in their neighbours Rebecca and Steef, who embody everything Eva and Peter aspire to be. Rebecca works as a fitness instructor and Steef works as a cop; they have a loving young son and an apparently perfect family life; and their sex life puts Eva and Peter’s to great shame. Their sex life is however somewhat unorthodox, with Rebecca and Steef ultimately admitting to being swingers and inviting their new neighbours to join them in a desperate bid to save Eva and Peter’s crumbling relationship.

Against this backdrop are a series of subplots. Despite working for the police anti-drug squad, Steef is working in liaison with a drug cartel, putting not just his job but also his life as a free civilian at risk. Rebecca is being spied on by her perverse elderly neighbour, who goes to extreme measures to elicit sexual relief from a woman who has never expressed romantic interest in him. Eva battles with her religious family who argues that she deserved her abortion because the baby was conceived through IVF. Peter is ashamed by his lazy sperm, indeed the reason that the couple sought IVF, and seeks revenge on the sperm donor with whom he believes Eva is having an affair.

What justifies the show’s genre as crime is the one-minute segment prior to the show’s introductory sequence. Each episode begins by showing police detectives questioning an alternating member of the series about a murder they are solving, followed by footage of Rebecca and Steef’s son walking hand-in-hand with a clown through a forest and stumbling across a bloody murder scene. The Swingers is a gripping show that continues to surprise in each episode. Its unpredictable plot combined with incredible production make this an intriguing, thought-provoking series that I would not hesitate to recommend.

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AUTHOR: Grace Dean
Editor-in-Chief of the Courier 2019/20, News Editor 2018/19, writer since 2016 and German & Business graduate. I've written for all of our sections, but particularly enjoy writing breaking news and data-based investigative pieces. Best known in the office for making tea and blasting out James Blunt. Twitter: @graceldean

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  1. Eva doesn’t have an abortion. She has a premature baby who dies from a kidney infection. That’s in the first few seconds of episode one.

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