The Killing II – Final Review

Can the second series of the Danish murder mystery possibly live up to the beloved first one?

Deservedly acclaimed, gripping Danish crime drama The Killing (or Forbrydelsen, for purists or Danes) finished its second series on BBC4 at the weekend. So, considering the first run was beloved by millions, then badly adapted by the Americans with ludicrous haste, can the second Killing live up to it? Or will it be merely a light maiming?

The second run, bravely, lurches away from the last one, giving us a murder mystery that only resembles the first attempt in so far as it involves murder. This time, having already pissed off communities and local politicians in the previous series, the relentlessly curious Sarah Lund is sent to irritate the army and central government.

They’ve also slashed the series length from twenty episodes to ten, in a baffling example of a successful show not trying to detrimentally milk as many minutes out of its storylines as possible. Maybe the Danes need to pay a bit more attention to how the Americans do it.

The new mystery involves topical musings on the War On Terror, much more elaborate deaths and a conspiracy that seems to be largely shrouded for most of the run, before dropping rather heavily onto our heads in the final episodes.

The political aspect is still present, with ambiguous Troels Hartmann replaced by upstanding but hapless Thomas Buch, and although he is an interesting character with a compelling arc, they never connect it with Lund’s side of the story as substantially. It does feel, right up until the end, as if we’re watching two shows that happen to share a slot.

The last couple of paragraphs had negative undertones, and if pressed, I would admit that perhaps the second run of The Killing isn’t as effortlessly great as the first. But it’s still better than most other crime drama available, Sofie Grabol’s Sarah Lund is still one of the best detectives on TV, and if you liked the first series, there’s no reason not to watch this too.

Furthermore, I believe the whole second series is still up on iPlayer, though you may have to move quickly.

Nick Bryan

Updated: Dec 19, 2011

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