We Recommend: The Killing II

The acclaimed Danish crime series returns – and here’s some more acclaim from us.

We are not the first people to recommend Danish crime thriller Forbrydelsen, better known here as The Killing. It’s been a darling of TV critics since the first series was broadcast on BBC4 last year, picking up more viewers during a recent repeat. And that, of course, was in advance of the second run starting tomorrow.

In a TV landscape full of ADD visuals and quickfire banter, not to mention a crime genre full of melodramatic mavericks, The Killing managed to seem fresh by taking its drama deadly seriously. So, yes, some of the characters are clichés, some dialogue achingly straight, but who cares? Not when it’s this wretchedly compelling.

Sarah Lund, star cop, is another big component. Played brilliantly by Sofie Grabol, she’s like a child’s idea of a police detective: always curious, always driven, never aggressive or smug, just so damn inquisitive. You just wish she’d notice how much damage it does to her own adult life.

Oh, and the pacing helps too. Not many crime shows could string a single mystery over ten or twenty episodes without it dragging. The American adaptation of The Killing started to get dull after about four. Seriously, guys, I know it’s subtitled and requires proper concentration, but watch Forbrydelsen. It’s great.

I saw the first couple of series two episodes, and they’re daringly leaping into a different kind of murder, rather than a case that closely resembles the last one. It’s a risk, and I’m not sure if it’s going to pay off yet. I miss the fiddly emotional complications of last year, as opposed to all this terrorism.

So, the second series debuts tomorrow on BBC4, and it’s perfectly easy to follow for newcomers. There’s more information and a trailer on the official BBC site. For those of you with spoiler-terror (because there are a few references to last year’s ending in the new series), the first one is also out on DVD, and if you like good drama, I urge you to watch The Killing.

Nick Bryan

Updated: Nov 18, 2011

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