Not perhaps the jolliest of Christmas presents: 40 hours of murder in a cold, grey landscape. But few crime drama fans would be disappointed with the complete Forbrydelsen trilogy, as the three mysteries are being sold together for the first time, in a box set handsomely patterned in the style of a Faroese jumper.
Those who have never seen the drama are in for a treat of the highest order – this is a gift to make anyone who has already lived through the adventures of Sarah Lund extremely jealous. You have all the bombshells and breakneck twists yet to come: the red herrings, the puzzles, the gasps, the chases in dark, abandoned basements, warehouses, stairwells, rooftops and docks, while Lund searches furiously for that one vital clue that will snare the perpetrator.
Faced with such a glorious prospect, I would offer this advice. Forbrydelsen was broadcast in two-hour chunks – a stroke of genius on the part of BBC4. While it will be tempting to wolf this down in one long, glorious weekend of Danish detection, it’s not the best method of consumption. You need to go to bed grappling with all the tension that comes from being left on a cliffhanger; you need space between investigative cul-de-sacs so they don’t become frustrating. Also, sustaining one mystery over so many hours, particularly with the first series, means that what seems plausible in instalments begins to look a bit ridiculous viewed back-to-back.
So pace yourselves and remember to enjoy Lund, her complexities and her increasingly estranged son as much as the plot. Because, while The Killing’s twists and turns suffer slightly from being over-examined, Lund’s development as a character does not. She has always been the show’s great strength: this odd, blinkered, determined woman devoid of social grace, brilliantly played by Sofie Gråbøl. That she must be affected by what she sees has always been central to the show – and the box set showcases that three-series-long storyline superbly. She is addicted to the job that is slowly breaking her, making her more and more isolated from her family. We watch her become increasingly worn, making The Killing as much a portrait of a brilliant, flawed woman as it is a great whodunit.
Which is why The Killing, oddly for a crime drama, also holds great appeal for those who have already seen it. A second watch, devoid of the element of surprise, will never be quite as satisfying, but there’s so much depth to these tales. The Killing is crime for people who want more than a weekly instalment of by-the-numbers procedural, with problems solved, baddies caught and victims neatly forgotten about within a tight TV hour. Lund’s adventures tackle more than who did what and when: they’re about family, identity, justice, grief – things that drive all good drama regardless of genre.
The first series is undeniably the best. The second, in trying to tackle big themes with its ill-advised trips to Afghanistan, loses its focus. The third, while gripping, doesn’t quite deliver when it comes to the political elements. Watched as one body of work, those differences become clearer – but so does the extraordinary performance of Gråbøl.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Seit 1996 bin ich freier Mitarbeiter der Salzgitter-Zeitung, als Experte für das Geschehen im hiesigen Kreisfußball. Daneben sind meine Kolumnen seit 2005 fester Bestandteil im Lokalteil der Salzgitter-Zeitung. Zusammen mit Frau und Tochter sowie zwei gefräßigen wie faulen Stubentigern versuche ich das zu meistern, was das Leben, das Universum und der ganze Rest an Absurditäten für uns bereithalten.