Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Killing: Compelling Danish crime thriller on BBC4

Have you been watching The Killing on BBC4 on Saturday nights? If not, you have been missing a cracking new series! Last night, episodes 5 and 6 were aired.

There are twenty episodes in total (spanning the course of a 20-day murder investigation) but the BBC is showing two episodes every Saturday. And the good news is that it's not too late to start watching the series, thanks to the BBC iPlayer (if you are in the UK). The series also helps viewers catch-up by showing clips from previous episodes at the beginning of each episode.

The Killing is an intense Danish crime thriller about Inspector Sarah Lund with the Copenhagen Police department. On the day Sarah is working her last shift before a planned move to Sweden with her boyfriend, Bengt, she is forced to lead a high-profile investigation, along with detective Jan Meyer (Søren Malling), into the murder of 19-year old Nanna Birk Larsen.

The series makes for very compelling viewing. Each episode is another day in the investigation and there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot as well as numerous suspects. It's a very powerful drama. Yes, the theme of murder is dark and depressing, however the storyline advances little by little just as in a real investigation and it hooks the viewer into wanting to know more. The characters are all very believable so it's easy to get wrapped up in the story.

All the actors in this brilliant series are superb. Sofie Grabol is outstanding as Detective Sarah Lund. She's amazing to watch as she portrays the detective with an obsession for her work. It's almost possible to see her mind working as she examines each detail in the case. She's a fantastic actress!

The acting by Ann Eleonora Jørgensen as Pernille Birk Larsen, the mother of the murdered teenager, is simply astounding. The raw emotion she shows in every scene is mesmerizing. I forget she's acting because every nuance of her performance is so realistic. Bjarne Henriksen as her husband, Theis, is also excellent. Together, they create a very believable married couple who are coping with the grief of losing a daughter.

The political intrigue is yet another fascinating element to this story. Lars Mikkelsen as Troels Hartmann who is campaigning to be the mayor of Copenhagen, is very watchable indeed.

I love the way all the different threads of the story weave together, and the way it makes the viewer think about the clues and ponder about each possible suspect. And there are so many suspects!

The Killing was originally released in Denmark as "Forbrydelsen" ("The Crime") and was aired in Denmark in 2007. A second series was aired in Denmark in 2009, and a third series is being made which is due to be aired in Denmark in 2012. I'm hoping the BBC will decide to broadcast the second and third series too! [Edited to add: The BBC has confirmed that it has bought the second series and will show it later this year!]

An American remake is being produced but I really don't know why it's necessary. This drama has everything and the original is perfect as it is.

Highly recommended.

The Killing BBC 4, Saturday, 9:00 - 10:55pm
In Danish with English subtitles
(repeated on Wednesdays at 11pm)

The Killing 2007 - English Trailer Season One


Full cast list (via IMDb)

27 March, 2011
Edited to add:I have started another post about this brilliant series now that it has ended. We can discuss the show there and analyze the plot.Please post your thoughts about the ending to the series on this post:

The Killing: Did you watch the whole series? Discuss here

43 comments:

  1. I can't get BBC4 so I hope that it'll be shown on BBC2 in the near future! Flighty xx

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  2. That's a shame, Flighty. I have Freeview so I can get BBC4. Alternatively, you can watch it via iPlayer.

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  3. Another American expat here. I've been watching The Killing on iPlayer and I must say I'm astounded. It's absolutely incredibly good. In fact I'm hopelessly addicted at this point, so much so that I'm giving serious consideration to importing the box set from Australia (with subtitles, of course) just so don't have to wait for Saturday to keep coming round!

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  4. Hello Andrew. Yes, it's very addictive viewing! I like the way there are so many possible suspects and the way the suspense builds in each episode.

    I can just about tolerate waiting to see it every Saturday, as long as we get to see two episodes every week. I think I'd go crazy if we only saw one a week!

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  5. I am watching this and think ut us brilliant. Off to Australia for a month now so setting my digital box to record while I am away. Thank goodness I bought this recently and am able to do this!

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  6. Hi Elaine. Thank goodness you can record it while you're away. I bet you will be very eager to sit down and watch it when you get back home!

    Have a great time in Australia!

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  7. The series is absolutely addictive. Iwatch on iplayer Sunday morning - weirdly I don't even notice the sub titles and even find my self turning up the volume..what's that about!?

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  8. Its million times better than prime suspect ..a master class in direction and lighting the script is as taut as the skin on a snare drum and the twists and turns are brilliantly crafted and delivered with expert aplomb..in short this series is utterly fantasic filmic masterclass in how a drama should be done ! james ..wrexham .nwales uk

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  9. I agree wholeheartedly about how addictive the series is. I've even started watching the first few episodes again (via iPlayer) to see if I missed a vital clue pointing to the identitiy of the murderer!

    Yes, reading the subtitles just becomes second-nature and I turn up the volume too. Too funny!

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  10. Hello James. I totally agree with your spot-on assesment of the series: "...in short this series is utterly fantasic filmic masterclass in how a drama should be done!"

    It has everything a good drama should have - and more!

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  11. What a wonderful series!! So glad we found it. It is totally riveting, the grief/unravelling of the victim's family is heart wrenching! and rare to see that side too. Can't wait for next week.

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  12. I agree! It is totally riveting - and the actors portray the grief-stricken parents so realistically that it's almost hard to watch. It adds so much more depth to the drama to include that side of the murder fall-out. The whole series shows the ripples caused by the murder.

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  13. The Killing 2. is much better.
    graetings from Denmark

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  14. Greetings! Oh my, that's incredible to think that The Killing 2 is even better than this first brilliant series. Thanks for the info. I look forward to watching it when it's screened on the BBC here.

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  15. when i learned that the killing was to be remade by american tv, i for one will not be watching it. this utterly brilliant crime drama is so watchable simply because its danish with or without subtitles. an american/hollywood version would be a watered down third rate effort and a wast of money. to use an american expression, if its not broken don't fix it.

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  16. It does seem like an American version of The Killing will be superfluous. The Danish series is fabulous and perfect as it is.

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  17. was so upset when meyer was killed.thought the murderer was sarahs boss brix then read that he is in the second series so it cant be him.now im wondering if it is the murdered girls father.to be honest i don't have a clue which is really unusual for me as i usually suss out the bad guy early on.can't wait for final episodes.

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  18. I suspected Brix too. I don't think it's Theis. Perhaps it's Dessau. I'm just not sure. There are too many suspects!

    Same here - I can't wait to see the final two episodes! This series is so incredibly good.

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  19. Phew. That was an amazing series! What did everyone think of the ending?

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  20. I've decided to start another post about the series now that it has ended. We can discuss the show there and analyze the plot.

    Please post your thoughts about the ending to the series on this post:

    http://brilliantbritain.blogspot.com/2011/03/killing-did-you-watch-whole-series.html

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  21. Loved this series! We suspected the family friend initially but then changed our minds.
    Love Sarah Lund: she is mesmerising and so obsessed with the case. Poor Theis and family! How long will the poor guy get inside?

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  22. Hi Alicia, I loved the series too. I decided to start another post to discuss the series and moved your comment there:

    http://brilliantbritain.blogspot.com/2011/03/killing-did-you-watch-whole-series.html

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  23. Is there any way of watching this in the US?
    I really don't understand why do they have to do a remake!!!!

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  24. It's coming out on DVD here soon (4 April) so maybe it will be on sale in the USA too.

    I've heard that the remake is because they don't think Americans will watch a series with subtitles. It's so insulting if that's the reason.

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  25. If you want to discuss the ending of the series, please leave comments on this post:

    The Killing: Did you watch the whole series? Discuss here:
    http://brilliantbritain.blogspot.com/2011/03/killing-did-you-watch-whole-series.html

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  26. I heard recently that this show will be coming to the US! I hope it's true and not just a rumor. I can hardly wait!

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  27. Just fantastic. When does series two begin?

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  28. Hi Brit Fancy, yes but the series coming out in the States is a different version - with American actors and set in an American city.

    I think it's a shame that the original version of The Killing isn't being broadcast in the States because it was a brilliant series. The Danish actors are outstanding and the whole series is the best tv series I've ever seen.

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  29. Anon, I don't know when series two starts. I hope it will be soon!

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  30. I have loved watching this series. I has had me gripped right from the start. I am thrilled to discover that the second series will be shown on BBC4. Can't wait!

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  31. I'm looking forward to the second series too!

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  32. quite honestly one of the best crime thrillers i have ever watched -can wait to watch the second season

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  33. Hi David, I'm hoping the second series will be good too but it has a lot to live up to!

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  34. can u post links to the danish version.

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  35. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Killing_(Danish_TV_series)

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  36. I tuned in late to this in Australia so bought the DVD of the first series, then bought the 2nd as well. So addictive - I watched a DVD of 3-4 episodes each night. A 3rd Series planned for 2012. Can't wait - and can't imagine a US version.

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  37. I agree about the series being very addictive. I'm looking forward to watching series two when it's aired on the BBC later this year. I hope the BBC plans to buy the rights to show the third series too.

    I heard that the American version of The Killing is coming to Channel 4. I might watch it out of curiousity but I'm sure it isn't nearly as brilliant as the Danish version.

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  38. I've just finished watching series 2.... and it is fantastic. Very different to series 1, no family to emote with, a lot more political shenanigans, but it still grips like a vice. Only 10 episodes so it feels a lot more intense. And, not to give too much away, but the sight of Sarah Lund walking about Afghanistan in her pullover amused me. Mange tak, Denmark!

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  39. Thanks for the info! I'm so pleased to hear that series 2 is fantastic too. I'm really looking forward to watching it.

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  40. I cannot really add more more about this utterly enthralling thriller.

    The intensity, the silences loaded with doubt, fear, hate, grief, relief and in the final scene with Theis and Pernille as Theis is taken to prison, hope faith and love.

    Wonderful, I can't wait for series 2. Thank you Denmark!

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  41. I sometimes had to remember to breathe this thriller was so enthralling and addictive. I watched 20 epidoes (Danish with sub titles) over two weekends and I ever hardly watch the TV. It was brilliant!

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  42. Could someone please explain the timing of the visits to the flat? Holk met nanna at the town hall and gave her the keys to the flat? Troels then went to the flat and left his computer on when he left to do himself in in his cottage? Then Holk arrives at the flat and sends a Faust email to Nanna in revenge? (For what? And surely Troels should know all these people have access to his party's flat and his own computer?) The Holk goes. Then nanna arrives and is beaten up and kidnapped by Vagn? Then he takes her away in campaign car. Then Mortens sees the flat is covered in blood and smashed glass and someone has obviously been attacked there but just cleans the outside of the flat and the door so no-one will look inside but shoves the cleaning sponges down the loo? And what was significance of heart necklace? Was mette the only other girl killed by Vagn and why?

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  43. At the beginning we knew that Nanna was dead and subsequently learned that she had been held captive in the basement of her father's house. However, a bit later on in the first episode we saw Vagn and Theis standing in the road outside the house holding the conversation when Theis told Vagn that he had bought the house. It was news to Vagn. So Vagn couldn't have known that the house was available as a place to imprison Nanna.

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