Waves crash against a shore of black sand. Not a soul is in sight; even the birds are eerily absent. Dark rocks tower over the scene as a woman enters your view.

The woman is a troubled police officer named Aníta. After years of policework and establishing a new life in the city, she’s forced back to her hometown when the body of a tourist is discovered there.

Despite her own misgivings, Aníta can appreciate why tourists frequent the area. Beyond the shore, black sand and rocks give way to rolling green hills. Further north, wild landscapes of glaciers and thermal pools await adventurers from around the world.

Aníta’s demons still overshadow the beauty of the town for her with the imposing task of confronting her abusive mother, all while hunting down a serial killer. This and more is told in the new crime thriller Black Sands created by Iceland’s own Baldvin Z.

Talk Around Town

Black Sands is the first thriller series by Baldvin Z since the hit show Case. Black Sands was commissioned by Channel 2 in Iceland, and the eight-part series was penned by Baldvin, Ragnar Jónsson, and Aldís Hamilton (who also plays the lead character).

The concept for this mysterious thriller was first presented at the Gothenburg Festival in early 2021. The festival kicked up immediate interest, especially with the reputation of Glassriver, Baldvin Z’s fast-growing company and a top provider of quality content for both the Icelandic market and international audiences.

Black Sands was described by Baldvin as a “dark romantic thriller.” It’s not overloaded with crime language, he says, but instead walks viewers through the trials and tribulations of real and relatable characters as they investigate a murder.

The crime-focused nature of the series lends itself to dark landscapes and evocative writing, but it’s the human element that will keep viewers enamored with the show.

Aldís Hamilton in Black Sands 

Ragnar Jónsson and Aldís Hamilton became the principal writers after Baldvin first conceptualized the show. Aldís also plays the lead role, which for her has been a “dream come true.” The young actress has gone so far to say that the opportunity came much sooner in her career than she’d imagined.

Aldís plays Aníta, the young policewoman investigating the death of the tourist. The first episode of eight kicks off with the beginning of her investigation, her character palpably weighted down by personal turmoil as she returns to her hometown.

Aldís’s role is opposite Ragnar, another policeman, played by Þór Tulinius.

Aníta is immediately thrust into uncomfortable situations at home and at work, lending a more dramatic tension to the show.

In one of the sneak-peak images from production currently underway, the audience meets Aníta in her street clothes—the Gerður turtleneck wool sweater by Icewear. As it turns out, more of the crew got Icelandic sweaters (not to mention jackets and hats to stay warm while shooting).

From cold nights and wool sweaters to unforgettable Icelandic landscapes and drama, Black Sands will no doubt be fun to watch. “There are a lot of family ties and so much that’s at stake,” says actor Þór Tulinius.

Images copyright Glassriver

The Village

Though the story starts in Aníta’s hometown (the source of so many of her character’s struggles), the series actually features a fictitious village. “Glerársandar” was created specially for the show.

The decision came after other thrillers took place in real villages around Iceland (including Ófærð—or “Trapped” in English; Siglufjörður; and Seyðisfjörður). The more crime-centric the subject, however, the more this perturbed local residents. Many people were left unsettled, so for Black Sands a new village was invented instead. “We just created a village…made up of several villages,” explained Baldvin Z.

Black Sand Beach Iceland

That said, the filming was done in several breathtaking locations around Iceland that many viewers will recognize. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, for example, makes a noteworthy appearance at the start of the show. The popular tourist destination is near Vik, Iceland (where Icewear’s flagship store is located).

With the beauty of the black sand beach itself plus surrounding attractions all along the Ring Road, it’s no wonder that the show’s murder victim—a tourist—was found there. And considering the local folklore around the beach (that trolls once pulled ships to shore there, then turned to stone at sun up, thus the enormous black stones towering over the shore), it’s just as easy to see why Baldvin elected the spot to film.

Black Sands will be shown on Station 2 at the end of 2021 or early 2022.