Making A Killing
Tripwire continues its list of its Top 30 Crime and Police shows, selected by its editor-in-chief and senior editor. Counting down to its first choice at the end, here’s its 8th entry, DR’s The Killing…
8. The Killing
Creator: Søren Sveistrup
Stars: Sofie Gråbøl, Morten Suurballe, Lars Mikkelsen
2007, 2009, 2012
Wallander preceded The Killing (known as Forbrydelsen) but it was this show that really brought Scandi Noir to the masses. Created by Søren Sveistrup, it introduced us to Sarah Lund ( Gråbøl), an unglamorous Danish police officer with a speciality in gruesome murder cases. The Killing built on the work that Wallander had done in making Nordic noir shows seem appealing but it is even more downbeat and bleak than its Swedish predecessor.
Lund’s trademark cheesy Christmas sweaters and complicated personal life captured viewers’ imaginations for three series. The first season saw Lund investigate the brutal rape and murder of a young girl which was tied in with the machinations of Copenhagen’s political elite, particularly Troels Hartmann (Lars Mikkelsen). Shot in a pacey and understated fashion, it portrayed a city shrouded in intrigue, and Lund was the perfect guide to this noir, off-kilter journey. The rest of the cast are well-chosen too, offering a dramatis personae that bring their own baggage and hang-ups to the rich tapestry of each tale.
Lund’s character grows as the series progresses and while its script never quite matches the quality of its first run, The Killing manages to hold our attention through 40 episodes. With each season a self-contained story, The Killing is ambitious, epic crime television, tackling subjects like immigration, terrorism and kidnapping. By channelling current events it always felt like it had its finger on the dramatic pulse.
Gråbøl stands at the heart of the show, a passionate and empathetic figure crusading for justice to be done. The Killing felt like the antithesis of a US police show with ordinary people and law and order officers who didn’t look as if they were being followed around by a team of hairdressers and make-up artists. It spawned a US remake, but that was never as effective as the original (part of the point was that it was set in Denmark) and almost a decade after it ended, The Killing continues to be one of the high water marks in crime television.
The Killing is on BBC4 in the UK and on Hulu in the US now