Everything’s just piggedy pissing marvellous for Deputy Superintendent Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl). Soon to swap the stressful life of coppering in busy vibrant Copenhagen for remote Sigtuna in her gimp shitsack Swedish borefriend Bengt‘s homeland she can hardly wait. It’ll be a wonderful new start for Sarah and her nausey teenage skateboarding son Mark. Just get this last uneventful day of the job out of the way and she can enter her future Love Paradise with safe old reliable, no alarms and no surprises Bengt. But wait. Just as Lund is about to depart, 19-year-old hottie Nanna Birk Larsen is dragged out of the boot of the car submerged in a lake. In the civil indications are it doesn’t look good for Nanna. Expert police work confirms the suspicion. She’s actually no longer live having been raped and murdered. What the figgedy hell is going on and just who is doing The Killing?
“Sarah isn’t cocking about. ‘I can’t just piss off to Sweden after you pull some dead tart out of a motor’ she barks at her terrified colleagues.’Put your knickers on and make me a cup of tea’ Don’t call it a comeback – homegirl never left.”
That’s what we’re here to find out. 20 episodes covering 20 days of the investigation – that’s Forbrydelsen, the acclaimed Danish crime thriller imported by the BBC like it was a crate of premium smoked herring. Once Nanna’s body is found Sarah isn’t cocking about. “I can’t just piss off to Sweden after you pull some dead tart out of a motor” she barks at her terrified colleagues.”Put your knickers on and make me a cup of tea” Don’t call it a comeback – homegirl never left.
So Sarah’s sticking around to see the case through and this makes things pretty awkward with her replacement Jan Meyer (Søren Malling). Meyer is a bluff, gruff linear thinker, contrasting with Lund’s puff, gruff holistic thinking. Conflict and tension abound but there is no suggestion of sex between them – this isn’t Vexed.
“Sarah finds solace in fashion. She has fused boho Scandinavian chic and knitwear into a sartorial combo I like to call ‘Shitwear'”A good job really as Lund already has enough on her plate. Apart from finding the killer she has to liaise with the dead girl’s parents. Theis (Bjarne Henriksen) is a removals man with a violent temper (you don’t suppose…?) and Pernille (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen) his placid wife. Constantly poring over the details of the last year of their eldest child’s life, head spun and motion sick from every lurch and U-turn the investigation takes, they’ve had better months.
Then Sarah has to put some manners on Copenhagen’s centrist politicians. The car they fished the girl out of was registered to The Liberal Party which means that handsome, charismatic mayoral candidate Troels Hartmann (Lars Mikkelsen) and his crew of flunkies all come under suspicion. Liberals! Am I right guys? Hm?
“Much like Scandinavian footballers raised on a diet of English soccer effortlessly adapt to the English premiership, this Danish import is doing a better job of British drama than we are.”
It’s all a gigantic bind for Sarah who finds solace in fashion. She has fused boho Scandinavian chic and knitwear into a sartorial combo I like to call “Shitwear”. She looks like she was dressed by her mom (who, incidentally, really hates her arse and rides her like a bucking bronco at every opportunity). Sarah just takes it and glazes over. She’s got her eyes on the prize and she’s currently so bored with her cock of a boyfriend she will personally kill a teenager a fortnight to stop from going to Sweden. Real talk.
But enough of that shit. From the outset, The Killing is moody, tense and gripping viewing. Comparisons to Prime Suspect and State of Play are on the money and much like Scandinavian footballers raised on a diet of English soccer effortlessly adapt to the English premiership, this Danish import is doing a better job of British drama than we are. Gråbøl is great as the perma stressed Lund and Malling provides an excellent foil as Meyer. The cover-ups, fakeouts, twists and shock reveals are really smartly handled and you can never really trust anything you see. Murky lighting, claustrophobic direction and Frans Bak‘s gorgeous edgy score keep you on the edge of your futon, forever expecting the very worst. Stieg Larsson may be dead but the public thirst for Nordic noir is hard to quench, particularly when it comes as hard-boiled and taut as this.
The verdict on The Killing: The Killing Poon will come too soon.
Marks out of 10: 8