The Killing III – Episodes 1-6

The final year of The Killing is here – can Sarah Lund change that jumper and solve some crime?

We’re now three weeks into The Killing III, or Forbrydelsen III if you’re straight edge Danish hardcore (not that kind of Danish hardcore). Thanks to BBC Four’s bizarre insistence on banging Denmark drama out two episodes at a time, that means six gruelling hours of subtitles and misery have flown past. We are more than halfway to the truth already.

Still, that does mean I have plenty to talk about in this belated review. Beware SPOILERS if you’re not up to date, make sure you catch the most recent episodes on iPlayer. Seriously, do it – there are good twists this week, and I’d hate for you to read them about them here first.

What’s “The Kidnapping” In Danish?

In the opening four episodes, we established a very back-to-basics set-up for this final series of The Killing, albeit with one crucial difference. Last time, we had a military-based mystery which, although gripping, wasn’t quite as emotive as the dead young girl material from year one.

Since this is their last outing, they’re taking no chances. Once again, we have:
* a young girl as prime victim
* family of victim try to deal with their loss

* Sarah Lund obsesses over the case while ignoring her family

* a pleasant but short-sighted politician tries to help and gets himself in a mess

All very series one so far, and since this is Sarah Lund’s last outing you can see why the writers are keeping things “classic” – albeit with the background of the murder being corporate rather than small-town. But the crucial difference I mentioned: the girl isn’t dead. Well. Maybe. That’s probably the biggest question hanging over the two episodes this week.

Because, yes, murder of young kids is grim, even though this show is called The Killing, not The Kidnapping – I was surprised they even went there. But they still left themselves wiggle room in her execution scene, which at first seemed an obvious bluff. And they’ve now teased us so hard about her mortality, you start to wonder if it was a double bluff, because having her survive thanks to being briefly out of sight would’ve been too easy.

Which just reminds us why we loved this show in the first place – the writing leads you to think they’re going towards an obvious conclusion, tease you with it and swerve away with almost telepathic grace. By now, it would seem an equally expert twist if she was alive.

Sidekicks – What’s Up With Them?

And all that doesn’t even get into the multi-layered mystery they’ve established elsewhere, as Lund simultaneously investigates a past murder and the current murder/kidnapping thing, whilst other characters dance aroud. We’ve finally reached the point in the series where meaty hints are dropped, once more appearing on screen just as we think of them. Is Borch corrupt, or would that be too remniscent of previous years? Is Juncker as naive and useless as he seems?

I will say that, compared to the main investigation, the fallout storylines concerning the Zeuthern family and Prime Minister are not quite as captivating, but they have their own twists and turns, are well-acted and, if previous years are anything to go by, will probably become relevant to the uber-plot when we least expect it.

With only two double bills to go, of course, it won’t take that long. Can’t believe that it’ll all be over in two weeks time. But still, join me after next week’s double bill, when I might have enough intel to take a punt at whodunnit! Do you have any early theories? Has Forbrydelsen III lived up to previous years? Comments welcome.

The Killing III airs at 9PM Saturdays on BBC Four. More info on the BBC official site, some recent episodes are available on iPlayer too, although sadly not all of them due to rights issues.

Nick Bryan

Updated: Dec 02, 2012

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