A masked man arrives at a chain-linked fence under cover of night. Breaking through it with large bolt cutters, he approaches a transformer station and carefully places timed charges all around the area. Synchronizing them to blow after 20 minutes, he makes his exit. A large, unified explosion follows as scheduled, plunging the small, coastal Swedish town of Ystad into darkness.

Later that same evening, a man is escorted home by a police officer. He is the curator of the gallery at which a controversial new exhibit on Muhammad is opening. After the officer confirms the secure nature of the man’s lodgings, he retreats to his vehicle to keep watch. With the power out, the man goes to bed with the aid of a flashlight. He hears something. Is someone in the room? A quick survey reveals nothing. Then, the noise again. Was that coming from under the bed? He bends down to investigate. No one is there, but to his horror, he sees the boots of a man on the other side. He looks up and is shot twice in the head. Another 15 shots are poured into his corpse.

As Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander and the police force of Ystad investigate the following morning, five car bombs go off within a few minutes of each other. Later, a woman is shot in her home in the same manner as the first victim, this time with her invalid husband as a witness. As the chaos in Ystad intensifies and the army is summoned, Wallander is presented with a central question. Are the acts of terror and murders linked? If so, is the same perpetrator to blame?

Such is the setup for the new film Wallander: The Revenge, the 91-minute first episode of the second season of the Swedish TV series “Wallander,” which aired from 2009-10 and is now finding its way to American theaters. The star of a series of crime novels by Henning Mankell, melancholy detective Kurt Wallander is the modern-day Swedish version of a Sherlock Holmes or a Hercule Poirot, and has has been essayed by several actors in several European movies and TV programs — including Kenneth Branagh in an ongoing series for the BBC.

Americans may find it a little difficult to embrace or understand the character, as little time is spent on character development. This is only natural, of course, since Wallander — played here by Krister Henriksson, reprising the role — is already well known to many audiences internationally. That said, it’s still enjoyable to see Wallander and his charges — which includes his dependable No. 2 Nyberg (Mats Bergman), the loyal veteran Svartman (Fredrik Gunnarsson) and the plucky rookie Isabelle (Nina Zanjani) — conduct their investigation.

As a mystery thriller, Wallander: The Revenge can hardly be credited for reinventing the genre or really bringing much of anything new to the table. When the “whodunit” is revealed, there’s no potential for the viewer to reconstruct the method by which the crimes were committed or even a clever “aha!” moment. Stripped down, the by-the-numbers plot is fairly unremarkable. And while Americans may be able to relate to some of the political and social commentary on display — both the police and defense ministry engage in racial profiling of the Arabic community — they probably won’t be able to place it into the same societal context in which a Swede would.

That being said, the film — whose producers also made the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — is dark and foreboding, successfully blending its atmosphere with expressive actors playing — for the most part — believable characters. That’s a rarity for a police procedural. Viewers may also appreciate the absence of the gimmicky Hollywood conventions that one usually finds in movies like this. Director Charlotte Brandstrom keeps things on point and gets down to brass tacks, which, when combined with the fine acting, helps elevate matters beyond the pedestrian plotting.

Though not innovative, Wallander: The Revenge is still a worthwhile choice for the fan of the mystery thriller, offering a fresh Swedish sensibility to what’s become a decidedly hackneyed genre in the States.