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Don't piss on my back and pretend that it's raining.
~ Seth Rydell

Seth Rydell is the overarching antagonist of the first two seasons of the Johan Falk series, and an anti-hero in the third season, where he often takes the role as the secondary protagonist rather than Frank Wagner, who Joel Kinnaman did not want to reprise.

Through Seth's actions and role in the first two seasons, he can be viewed as the central antagonist turning into a leading role in the third season. He is one of Gothenburg's most notorious gangsters and is almost always involved with the city’s criminal activities such as illegal weapons dealing. 

He was portrayed by Jens Hultén, who also played Lindström in Wallander and Janik Vinter in Mission Impossible: Fallout.

Personality

Seth's personality depends on a lot on how you watch the films. Either he's a ruthless and sociopathic gangster who kills just to get more power, or he's just a surprisingly nice criminal who has the personality of a life coach. However, Seth's personality varies a lot during the course of the three seasons.

In season one, Seth is portrayed as an arrogant and almost emotionless man who didn't care about who he killed, as long as it benefitted him. In season two, Seth seems to keep this type of personality, although he gets more human as the season goes by, for example bursting into tears when Heikki kills his brother Felix, and seemingly still liking Frank Wagner even after realizing that he has been a spy all along.

In season 3, however, most likely due to his massive popularity with fans, Seth becomes a very clear anti-hero. We get to see his relationship with his daughter, and it is shown that he is an incredibly good father who cares for her despite her not being raised in a very good environment full of violence and criminal activity.

Seth hates betrayal, and very explicitly states that he will attack anyone who he finds out is secretly working with someone else; something that can come across as hypocritical.

Seth is shown to be extremely manipulative and intelligent, such as manipulating his own handler Sophie into giving him money, manipulating her by requesting that she looks up areas with pedophiles due to his daughter, something that was a blatant lie. Him being a spy to the police, in general, can be considered hypocritical, although it is true that he didn't really have a choice.

Despite him and Sophie having a very heated rivalry, with Sophie even going as far as to shoot Seth for no real reason (although she misses), which gets her arrested, Seth seems to genuinely love her and tries being affable with her. This can go too far at times, however, with Seth randomly walking to Sophie's house and wanting to come in.

Biography

Early life

Seth Rydell was born to an abusive father and a grandfather who was a career criminal. Therefore, Seth was raised in a bad environment and was more or less doomed even as a child to be a criminal. His brother, Felix, was certain that the entire family was criminal in one way or another.

Season 1

Frank Wagner is an undercover cop cooperating with the police at G.S.I and is now infiltrating in Rydell's gang who is telling the police whatever they are planning. Seth is first introduced where he orders his henchmen to torture a gang-member to death because he had some small business aside that he didn’t share with Seth. Seth is the biggest reason Frank can't live a normal life as he wishes, because if Seth would find out that Frank has been working for the police all along, he would most likely kill him. However, Frank is an extremely charismatic spy who will do anything not to get caught, largely due to having a family he needs to care for. Wagner kills Martin Borhulth, a member of Rydell's gang, who he then frames for being an infiltrator.

Season 2

Seth keeps doing illegal business while Frank is infiltrating. However, in a failed business with Legion Gothia, Seth is caught by the policewoman Sophie, who forces him to serve her and G.S.I. Seth eventually agrees on harsh conditions but secretly keeps doing his illegal business. In the last film of the season, Codename: Lisa, Andrei Dudajev and the Russian mobsters reveal to Seth that Frank has been working for the police all along. Seth then spreads a promise all over the city: that he will reward half a million SEK to the one who kills Frank Wagner. However, Seth is betrayed and almost killed by his assistants, but Frank Wagner saves him just in time. As a result, Seth gives up on killing and seems to forgive him.

Season 3

From the Ashes into the Fire

Now being one of the leading roles, Seth is consistently serving Sophie as a police informant. Seth is also, for the most part, a clean businessman now, but he is forced to go back to his gang activity when his former partner-in-crime Jack eventually shows up after a long time in prison. Jack becomes a threat to Seth since he is very upset with Seth's leadership and decisions, which leads to him joining the Pakistani drug-lord as well as Seth's main archenemy Vijay and is employed by him. Jack is ordered to kill Seth on Vijay and his right-hand Ali Mahmoud Hansson's orders, as they are both certain that Seth is talking with the police, though Jack is sceptical about it. Seth and his gang have a party, and after the party, Jack and henchman Björkman prepare an assassination of Seth by blowing up his car, but when they realize that his daughter Luna is in there, both of them try to stop the assassination. They succeed in stopping it, but Luna is severely traumatized by the event. Jack and Björkman tell Seth that they suspect that Vijay and his organization is behind the assassination, so they go to talk with Ali Mahmoud Hansson at his restaurant. Seth says to Ali that he wants him to pay thirty thousand dollars for what he did, but Ali says that he has no involvement in the assassination. Jack then beats Ali near-unconscious, as Ali makes no attempt at defending himself, and screams that he has to pay the debt, whether he wants to or not.

Later in the film, Jack and Seth have an argument about Jack's prison time were he didn't say anything about Seth to the cops, and that he feels he isn't respected enough. Jack and Seth eventually start physically fighting due to the argument, which then escalates into a brawl. Seth manages to lift Jack up and then smashes him down at a table, and they then brawl a bit more until Seth's right-hand Conny Lloyd breaks up the fight. Jack runs outside, and eventually, Seth follows him. They talk and Jack says Seth's a lot stronger than he initially thought, which makes them both laugh. Jack makes it clear however that even if they are going to work together, Seth still owes him for the prison time, which Seth agrees with. When Johan Falk is kidnapped and blackmailed by the Russian mob and forced to transport drugs with a truck while being followed by two hitmen, Seth is ordered by Sophie to command a robbery at the truck and in the process free Falk. The operation goes smoothly, however one of the hitmen is shot, but ultimately it turns out he's a cop too so Falk saves him. Things go bad however when Seth is shot by Jack in an attempt to assassinate him, but he recovers from it thanks to Falk, and he finds out that Jack was the shooter from Falk as well, though it's something Seth keeps to himself.

When the gang return home, everyone is sure that Seth is dead, and Jack crowns himself leader. But then, Seth comes and says that he's not dead yet. Jack looks shocked but has the keep up the act that he isn't trying to usurp Seth, so he hugs and greets him back into the gang.

Silent Diplomacy

Seth plays a smaller but pivotal role here. An Arabic rebel group decide to buy weapons which Seth Rydell happens to have, so he sells them to the group. He takes Jack with him during the business, but when Jack walks away Sophie unexpectedly comes and asks what is happening, as Seth promised he wouldn't do any more arms trade. She only walks away if he tells her about it, but once he does, Jack sees her and wonders who she is, in which Seth gives a very cryptic answer that makes Jack even more sceptical whether or not Seth is working with the police. Jack and Ali come up with an idea to have a person Seth doesn't know spy on him, and the person manages to take a photo of Sophie and Seth talking, which he shows to Jack. Jack decides to meet up with Seth at a café and wonders if he can explain why he's with a cop in the photo, which Seth obviously can't.

Blood Diamonds

The Rydell Gang is now split up into two different gangs; Seth's gang, and Jack's gang. Jack is preparing for the diamond robbery that he planned along with Vijay Khan and Ali Mahmoud Hansson. Meanwhile Seth and his gang confront Björkman at the toilet just as he's having sex with a prostitute. The prostitute runs away while the gang hold Björkman against the urinal, which ends with Seth bringing out a knife and stabbing him in the stomach. Conny takes the knife after Seth and stabs him even more while Seth washes his hands, and then cleans the knife, removing any possible traces. Jack and Seth meet and try to deal with each other, but it doesn't go very well, Jack betrays everyone and takes most of the money for himself, Vijay and Ali. After this, the Rydell Gang kidnap a member of Jack's gang known by his nickname "Bamse" and torture him with gasoline fire until he tells them where and when the transport of the diamonds is going to be, and although it takes a while he eventually tells them.

When they are there, a shootout occurs between the two gangs. Multiple people are killed, among them Rydell's long-time friend and henchman Viktor. Jack and Seth have a shootout of their own, and Jack asks if they perhaps could solve this some other way, in which Seth answers that he doesn't see that as a possibility. Seth manages to find a knife which he throws at Jack, causing him to die. Seth wants to call the ambulance, but Jack insists that he doesn't call the ambulance. Instead, Jack gives Seth the diamonds, and wishes him good luck, as long as he cares for Luna, before he dies. Ali is approaching Seth after Jack's death and is preparing on shooting him, but Seth manages to shoot him just in time.

Lockdown

Now that Seth has the diamonds for himself, he can efficiently negotiate with Vijay Khan. Seth watches Vijay's trial while Vijay is imprisoned and during a trial pause, they both enter two restrooms next to each other where they discuss in order to do business without anyone hearing anything. Vijay's offer is that he gets 90% and Seth 10% of the diamonds while insulting Seth by calling it "the bargain of your life" and the most money he'll ever earn. Seth wants more percentage, but Vijay stands firm in his offer. After a while, Vijay says as a final offer "90/10, take it or leave it. When I'm out I'll deal with you, with or without a deal, that's your choice", before preparing on walking away. Before he can walk away, Seth responds by saying that he just has to think about the offer before loudly farting as a sign of how little he cares, which just makes Vijay even angrier.

Later in the film, when Vijay is playing cards with other inmates, it is revealed that Seth hired an inmate in Vijay's prison to murder Vijay, which he does while cleaning, stating "greetings from Seth Rydell", right in front of the other inmates who were friends to Vijay.

The End

Seth's new girlfriend, Madeleine Wiik, has an ex-boyfriend named Milo who is known as one of Europe's most notorious criminals and Madeleine is sure he will kill her once he's out of prison. Milo turns out to be the Swedish main contact of a global criminal network that deals with mostly human trafficking that has its roots in Russia, and when a high-ranking member of the organization is arrested, Milo is tasked with freeing her. In the process, he kills two cops. Madeleine and Milo meet while Seth is there to protect her if Milo does anything. Milo gets to meet his son Michael there, who he genuinely loves, and tries convincing Seth that Madeleine is only manipulating him just as he did to himself. However, Seth manages to message Sophie that he's in a sticky situation, so eventually, the police come and arrest both Seth and Milo. While taken to interrogation, Seth talks about how in the future, Michael will absolutely hate Milo, and how Milo only wants to boost his own ego, causing him to snap. Milo beats the security guards and starts physically fighting with Seth. The security guards try breaking it up, but Seth manages to get rid of all of them. After a while, every security guard is gone, and the two fight alone. The fight stops when Milo brings out a gun, preparing to kill Seth while maniacally smiling. However, this time the security guards come in time to kill Milo before he can kill Seth.

When Seth walks away from interrogation, Johan Falk asks Seth to do him a favor: Johan Falk knows that a Russian assassin will interrogate him with extremely cruel methods, and in case Johan loses patience completely and starts talking, he asks Seth to kill the Russian if that happens and Seth agrees to do it. During the moment Johan is interrogated and tortured, he never starts talking. The Russian eventually gives up and decides to kill him, but Seth, hiding in the bathroom next to them, sees a message from Falk's son Ola at his phone and decides to run towards the hitman and shoot him anyway, saving Johan Falk. Seth and his daughter Luna celebrate a final christmas together, as there is an ongoing trial going on about custody over Seth's daughter in which he's sure he'll lose custody over her. He walks with Luna to Sophie, dressed up in a black wool coat, and tells Sophie about what really happened to Johan Falk, as she still believes he's dead. The film ends with the window of the apartment where Falk's supposed murder took place blinking and a shadowy figure walking by, and the film never makes it fully clear whether or not Falk survived.

Gallery

Navigation

           Johan Falk Villains

Original Trilogy
Leo Gaut | Nicolaus Lehman | Phoenix Kane | Leblanc

The Rydell Gang
Seth Rydell | Conny Lloyd | Martin Borhulth | Jack | Björkman

Russian Mob
Valdo | The Woman | Milo | Andrei Dudajev | Edgars | Mikahel Stukalov | Oleg | Kaie Saar | Zanco Zajkov | Ramzan | Lasse Karlsson

The Khan Clan
Vijay Khan | Avram Khan | Ali Mahmoud Hansson | Pramit Khan

Legion Gothia
Dan Hammar | Harald

Other Individuals
Hassan | Anton Montay | Heikki Nieminen | Ricky Morén | Göran Svensson | Tomas Elooma | Asim Popov | Eric Davoda | Maxim Morosov

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