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JULY 10-AUGUST 30
Martin Beck is sort of the Swedish Columbo, an earthy, working-class homicide detective, as sharp as his stateside counterpart but not nearly so garrulous. The 10 Maj Sjîwall and Per Wahlîî novels recounting his low-key exploits were all filmed, and they made for a popular series at the American Film Institute in 1994. Now there are eight more cases for Beck to solve, written for European TV by Rolf Bîrjland with the approval of Sjîwall, the surviving member of the team that created the character in 1964. Peter Haber (pictured) plays Beck in these 90-minute movies, which can be seen independently but ideally should be watched in sequence to fully appreciate Beck’s evolving relationships with the supporting cast. This weekend brings the first two, The Decoy Boy (July 10-12) and The Man With the Icons (July 11 & 12). In the former, Beck pursues an upscale pederast who cruises the Internet; in the latter, Beck is sure that Sweden’s equivalent of the CIA is trying to frame a Russian diplomat. In upcoming films, Beck explores Stockholm’s rave scene (White Nights, July 17-19), uncovers a rape victim’s revenge plans (Serial Killer, July 24-26), connects ferry-terminal explosions and a smuggling ring (The Pearl Hotel, Aug. 7-9), juggles two brutal mysteries at once (The Monster, Aug. 8 & 9), faces a conspiracy between a closeted cop and an underworld boss (The Money Man, Aug. 28-30), and investigates a series of subway killings (Night Vision, Aug. 29 & 30). At the American Film Institute Theater, Kennedy Center. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)