‘The Killing’ has a three point formula: Sarah Lund-ness, from that iconic jumper to her relentless work ethic, a vulnerable Danish family and a political scene. Series One ticked all those boxes: the Sarah Lund creation was matched by the intimacy of murder victim Nana Birk Larsen’s family and the glamour of the would-be mayor Troels and his beautiful advisor, Rie. Yet Series Two has gone slightly off-piste. Yes, Sarah Lund-ness was back in the first double bill, peaking at her mother’s engagement party when she takes off after finding a piece of plastic on the floor, a critical clue, just moments after her estranged son welcomes her back. But the new family has important links to the army, while the local, small-time politics has been replaced by counter-terrorist Acts as a visit to Afghanistan looms ahead.
For those who just jumped on ‘The Killing’ bandwagon, this series will have them hooked. But for the rest of us, the ones who swallowed the Series One DVD box set whole when it came out this summer and refused point-black to watch the American version, this series is half-baked.
I will come clean now. After watching the first two episodes, I watched episode 18 of Series One again with my cousin, another seasoned viewer. We chose that episode because it marks the loss of the first great characters from the show: Jan Myers and the height of Sarah Lund-ness when she becomes so unbalanced she persuades her side-kick to go into a warehouse late at night without informing her superiors, even though he warns her against it and wants to go home to his son who is suffering from an ear infection. Did ‘The Killing’ peak too soon?
As the saying goes, what goes up, must come down. The ending of Series One was the signal as the perpetrator kills himself, leaving unanswered questions. Now Series Two promises to lose its footing with a cast of new characters that haven’t left a strong impression so far. The new sidekick, Ulrik Strange (great name, by the way), only had one good line, complaining about sharing his desk with Lund: “At least I have some degree of tidiness…”, while the Justice Minister appeared a baffoon as he slaps his colleagues and shouts: “Come on, let’s try those canapes!”
After this disappointing start, my cousin and I are taking action. No, I’m not just talking about buying that red jumper. While we don’t have $1,200 to spend per Danish episode, we are planning our own script. Of course, Lund will be visiting London (if her boyfriend can persuade her, that is…). Watch this space.