Why The Killing is the best thing on television – 10 reasons

Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl), non-confrontational but very strong. Pics: BBC


The Killing is tucked away on BBC4 (Saturdays 9pm), but don’t underestimate this Danish cult hit – it’s the best series currently on TV.

1 Sarah Lund
Actress Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund (above), a deputy superintendent with Copenhagen police, has become something of an icon across Europe – and it’s not just because of her jumper, which is now a fashion must-have. She is the antithesis of most female cops on TV – no suit, no ball-busting bust-ups with male colleagues, and she’s not a dolly or glam in the mould of Anna Travis (Above Suspicion) or Marg Helgenberger (CSI). She is low-key and shrewd, and while non-confrontational she remains a very strong personality. When her colleague, the un-subtle Meyer (Søren Malling), says to her, ‘You owe me an explanation,’ she just walks away. So, that will be a no then, Meyer. The camera often simply focuses on her eyes, and we sense her mind moving way ahead of her colleagues’.

2 Better than most Brit/US shows
For depth of character and storytelling honesty, The Killing is up there with the best US shows, such as The Wire and The Sopranos. When it comes to the procedural stuff – CSI, Law & Order, Silent Witness – or the pretty postcard mysteries made in the UK – Marple, Midsomer Murders, Inspector George Gently – oh, please, let’s draw a veil over such non-comparisons.

3 Good whodunnit
Liable to spark lengthy debates on the front-room sofa – was Nanna’s killer a psychopath, her teacher, boyfriend, or part of a political conspiracy? When the series was originally shown in Denmark in 2007, large bets were placed on the perpetrator’s identity.

4 Better than a whodunnit
But it’s so much more than a whodunnit. The power of the series is the brilliantly drawn, complex characters, who can make bad choices or lie but never lose our empathy.

5 Focus on relationships

The ever-watchful Sarah Lund

Most crime dramas lack any emotional pull because the victim is treated indifferently, as a device to kick-off the plot. How often do such shows start with grumpy detectives turning up a murder scene, where the victim is showcased in all their gore, and then virtually forgotten. In The Killing the murder of student Nanna Birk Larsen reverberates through the whole series, it’s impact on her family being portrayed with respect and painful honesty. And the relationships shift – Lund and Meyer, with all the pace of a glacial thaw, gradually form an unlikely partnership.

6 No ludicrous plot shifts
No, it’s not likely that Lund’s colleague Meyer will turn out to be a bent cop turned nutty killer who frames her, or that Lund will form an alliance with a serial killer (why does the BBC’s Luther come to mind here?).

7 Multi-strand storylines brilliantly juggled 
Where most British series focus solely on the investigation and the cops, The Killing superbly interweaves Lund’s tangled relationship with her mother, son and lover, a political election and all its dirty tricks, police department power games, and the ongoing, heartbreaking trauma for Nanna’s family.

8 Atmospheric
Forest, rainy nights and sombre interiors.

9 Beautifully paced 
We’ve all seen those series that are desperate to stop us turning over, with three murders and/or several dismembered corpses before the first ad break. The Killing savours every scene, devoting one episode to each day of the 20-day investigation.

Bjarne Henriksen as Theis

10 Tremendous performances
If any actor can convey more anguish with the blink of an eye than Bjarne Henriksen as Nanna’s rough-diamond dad, Theis, then please fill out the comment box below. Theis and his wife, Pernille (Ann Eleonora Jørgensen), are the soul of the series. Lars Mikkelsen as the mayoral candidate under suspicion, Troels Hartmann, is moving. Any actor who can make us feel for a politician has to be a marvel.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Superb analysis Robin. In and amongst the entire excellent cast and superb acting, my favourite character is turning out to be Theis, Nanna’s dad. You could just see the supressed grief and rage behind the passive facade that he is putting on. I was so disappointed that Pernille finally did what I thought she would do since finding out about the “hotel rescue” episode. But hey, she might be looking for him now…

  2. You’re not wrong. For me the best thing of its kind since… well, since SPIRAL, I suppose. I’m trying to think of a British equivalent… this may be unfair to RED RIDING, which I didn’t see, but I feel I have to go back to Trevor Preston’s OUT in order to find a home-grown crime drama that I can fairly mention in the same breath.

  3. Pernille’s desperate for some kind of closure, I guess, but it is heartbreaking the way she and Theis are going in different directions.

    Had to look up Out, Stephen, and my Penguin TV Companion reveals it was an acclaimed ITV drama from 1978. So, if The Killing compares favourably, that’s quite lot of TV in the intervening decades against which it stands up well (might see if Out is available on DVD).

    Thanks for that.

  4. I’m comparing recent experience with remembered experience, so I suppose the proviso is that lifting OUT from its 1978 context may not make for a fair comparison.

    Having said which, I recently rewatched all 3 seasons of THE SANDBAGGERS, and found that the quality of writing and performance required no excuses in this HD age.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it amazing how the BBC can get things wrong! A tucked-away foreign series suddenly becomes a runaway success. The first episodes were barely advertised and now they take the credit! Their Wallander proved not as good the the Swedish version. What is happening? If they can’t make better programmes they don’t deserve the license fee.

  6. Don’t remember The Sandbaggers either – makes me wonder how many other forgotten gems there are. That could be a good idea for a new thread, Great Forgotten Crime Shows and Thrillers.

    All suggestions welcome!

    Talking of the Beeb not knowing what a good show it had in The Killing, I’d bet there are loads of people there now trying to take the credit for having the nous to buy it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I cannot remember a better crime drama. A decent 20 episodes to allow for a good plot and character development, multi plot threads. British TV could learn from this with its 6 episode series which leads to the dumming down of the plot and characters to make it fit. Is there anymore of this? decent viewing at last!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I watched 14 episodes in two days having read about it in the Independent newspaper. High quality, subtle, intelligent, elegant, it is thrilling drama. More from Denmark please!

  9. caroline says:

    I am loving this series.

    I would go back to The Edge of Darkness to find something as compelling on British TV.

  10. Charles Buckley says:

    This really is a series that has kept me on my toes and my cardio up a few notches, I’m absolutely loving it. Very intelligent and the excellent unknown actors, to the UK viewer, just add to it. I read that there has been a second season shown a couple of years ago with a new story and a third planned for 2012. Lets hope BBC4 show it and keep us watching Lunds ever changing knit wear.

  11. The second 10-episode series will be shown by the Beeb later this year. A third has also been commissioned for 2012.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love this programme. I think your analysis of Lund is spot on and probably why I, as a female, respond to her character. The pain of the victim’s family is excellently handled and has moved me to tears with the truthfulness of their reactions. I agree with Caroline that The Edge of Darkness was probably the last time I was this gripped. I have been watching it on iplayer and was devastated when I watched episode 14 and realised I’m going to have to wait a week between fixes from now on!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I recorded the first 8 episodes without really knowing what the series was, and ended up watching them all in two days – they were so compelling. This is without doubt the best series I have seen on TV for may years, and is up there with ‘the wire’. The characters are so real and a million miles away from the vast majority of super slick, totally unreal US crime dramas we usually have to put up with. Already looking forward to the next series.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant and intriguing! Dont even notice im watching sub titles!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I watched the first 14 episodes when I was sick last weekend. 3 days of pure bliss. Cant wait to see the episodes tonight. I think the character and actor who plays Theis is fantastic – beautifully observed. The whole series is clever, well paced, not too obvious, gripping and beautifully shot.
    I hear the US are already making a remake of it! Why can’t the British Commissioning Editors/Producers ever be strong and commit to this kind of script writing! It drives me mad. I am a script writer! lol.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I totally agree about how amazing this is. It is addictive in the way each episode builds towards a sort of cliff hanger. I actually think the subtitles improve the tension as well since it means that it is impossible to do anything else whist watching it (cook, knit, read a magazine etc)so you really focus on every aspect.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Counting down the hours all day,what is there not to like about The Killing.I agree with all the above !

  18. Sorry, up to episode 15 and its doing my head in. Would’nt even be looking here except I got into it on the back of the superior (in my view) Wallander. I’ll stay with it because I’m a completist. no, that was’nt complete w***er – I do love slick foreign detectives, but sombre and depressing does not a fine detective make!
    BTW my mum wants to knit Sarah another sweater so she can change the one she never has off her back (apparently)!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic series, it has everything. Compelling, nail biting, real edge of the seat viewing. Must be the first time I have watched any series only in sub-titles. Even my speed reading has improved. My only question is when will it all end? I thought there were only two episodes and 14 later I am still hooked.

  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s a wonder the BBC got around to airing something as good as “The Killing.” Those were referencing “The Sandbaggers” will recall that wasn’t BBC at all. It was ITV. Also the iconic “Callan” now out on DVD, another in the vein of Sandbaggers, was ITV as well. Many if not most of the historic greats were all ITV! “The Sandbaggers” was so accurate and historic that one episode was pulled because it contravened the State Secrets Act! (The writer was always suspected to be a spy.)

  21. Scandaddict says:

    This is superb television, I agree about the way subtitles enhance the attention level. We watch the episodes on different nights, 2 endings on 1 night would probably require a defibrillator…

  22. Anonymous says:

    It is very atmospheric, and addictive. I record it Saturday night(other half isn’t into police dramas), then watch them straight afterwards, and cannot wait for next weeks or the end . There are so many red herrings to stop you working it out before the end without being obvious. This and Wallender have have really raised the stakes. One thing I have noticed is, that, because of the subtitles I pay far more attention to the program, therefore get into it more, follow it better and enjoy it more. Because ours are in.English, I don’t pay so much attention. I don’t think our programs are any less good. Just different. We have got the best that they produce, there are probably not so good ones we won’t see. And we get some pretty awful American stuff along with the good. But as with Wallender I will be bereft when it finishes!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    We have postponed our Eagle watching trip to Scotland…I am worried that someone will let the cat out the bag.Seriously…one of the best ever on TV.
    And to think I used to watch Casualty on Saturday night….

  24. Anonymous says:

    I’m really loving this, though I’m a bit behind as I watch it recorded to be able to rewind for subtitles I may miss, plus it’s so good you want to watch bits again! I’m a big fan of the Swedish “Wallanders”. All so much better than much of what we do in the UK or what comes from the US. [apart from “The Sopranos” and “The Shield”] “Spiral” was good too and I’m looking forward season 3 which may be some help when “The Killing” ends! I read a comment on Lund being comparable to Jane Tennison for those who recall classic “Prime Suspect”. I think that it’s a worthy comparison both to the characters and the performances. High praise to be compared to Dame Helen, but just. I hope the Beeb will continue to bring us such excellent drama from Europe.

  25. I completely agree that this is the best thing on TV – probably the best crime drama I’ve ever seen. (I remember Heart of Darkness well, but sorry – it was nowhere near as well done as The Killing).
    If I’m unable to watch it on Saturday night, I record it and intend to pace the two episodes during the week. So far I’ve failed to do that – the most I can wait is 24 hours after watching the first of the two. Now I’m dreading not having new episodes to look forward to, as we near the end!

  26. Point 8 Atmospheric

    I love the cinematography of this series. In episode 1 when they pulled the car out of tha canel was just stunning. The whole thing is so dark and broody.

    Does the fact that it’s subtitled make for a more intense story? Or is the script so well written? Either way, it’s two hours on a Sat of superb drama.

  27. Anonymous says:

    We turn down invites on Saturdays so as not to miss this wonderful series. Could catch up later but can’t wait. The best series of its kind I have ever watched and I am 63. Brilliant acting truly sympathetic characters and the most wonderful,baffling plot. Sophie Grabol, best actress awards should be flooding in.

  28. BrunoGosse says:

    Definitively different from mainstream TV fiction; and it’s not only the country or language: it’s the what’s happening between people, probably closer to us than usual. Family is not the alpha & omega of human life: Sarah must pay a dear price to cope with her superior duty: protecting the living & respecting the dead. Our western societies are not up to the challenge; pretending individualism and money will solve all problems. Sarah’s role is to watch and get lost people back (criminals and victims). Great job ; no wonder we also follow teachers and politicians as they are supposed to do the same (but do they?). So get ready for season 2 when this is over and thanks to our Danish cousins and BBC4.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hurry up Saturday, only two more week’s..
    Then what? so hooked on this series,

  30. Anonymous says:

    Agree with all the above – I’m in my 50s and this is simply the best drama I’ve ever watched. Just surprised no one has mentioned the fantastic music – the opening notes as each episode closes sends shivers up my spine!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Reasons I like it:

    1. Sofie Gråbøl’s eyes.

    2. The music at the end and the way it gathers volume through the final scenes.

    3. The Lundt character’s utterly unsupported self-assuredness.

    4. The drippingly vile Mayor; seriously the apotheosis of political corruption.

    5. The desperate flounderings of ‘Twolls’ – I love it every time someone says his name. I wander round after the show saying ‘Twolls’ to myself in increasingly strange tones.

    6. The relationship between Lundt and Meyer has a rare verisimilitude. Without compromise the two journey towards a refreshingly asexual professional entente.

    7. Theiss is a delight, I agree. The actor has to do so little but LOOM every now and then. ‘OK Theiss, just loom and look sleepy’. Must be the easiest job he ever had!

    8. Copenhagen looks so pretty, but so cold and dark. It looks like Denmark has been shifted over the arctic circle, or is in the midst of a nuclear winter!

    9. The language. I am endlessly fascinated by Danish. It’s not guttural – it’s very pretty, but sometimes seems to consist of little more than sniffles, snuffles and confused vowel sounds. ‘Twoolls…’

    10. Did I mention the eyes thing? God I would go over to Denmark right now, and I would do such bloody business as day would pale to look on, if I could sit across an interview table and letch at Sofie Gråbøl afterwards…

  32. I think you’re right – the eyes have it.

    As for the Danish language, after 14 weeks of watching, I can still barely pick out one word – apart from ‘OK’. Fascinating, but incomprehensible.

  33. Wathing this series increasingly makes me feel similar to slowing down reading the last 50 pages or so of Stieg Larsson’s books: I can’t wait to find out who did it but don’t want it all to end either. A Dane who has spent half my life in the UK and without any idea whatsoever of The Killing’s existence before accidently watching the first episodes (and therefore hooked) on BBC4 I state with some confidence that the subtitles do not detract one bit from the overall experience.

    In fact, the subtitling has been done supremely well and in some cases paper over occasional wooden dialogue which appeared a bit like the actors reciting straight from the page primarily during a few of the earlier episodes.

    Nesbo, Larsson, Mankell and now The Killing: It’s a golden age for glacial, sinister and intelligent story telling….and rich pickings for tourist guides taking us along the streets of Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen in search of the real-life locations of all this bloodshed 🙂

  34. Ha! I do exactly the same as the contibutor above and wander around going “Tak Troels” in increasingly strange accents.
    I like the fact that they are always eating and that the decor is so real – not too styled or glam.
    Nobody has commented on the Troels shirt-changing scene which was a bit of a heart stopper!
    Other than that, criticising the BBC seems a bit unfair when not only did they buy the series in the first place but they put it on a Saturday night at prime time – what more can you ask? They’re not going to put something with post watershed language and subtitles on BBC1.
    Love it!

  35. Simon Wigg says:

    This was a huge hit in Denmark too. The Danes had this as two season series so had to wait a while for the finale. Another good series I am hoping will be imported as well is ‘Livvagterne’ – the Bodyguards.


    Enjoy the rest of the series.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Best crime drama I have seen for some time,intelligent plot, focus on the family and their reactions. The Political drama playing alongside without taking the attention from the search for the murderer excellent. I thought the sub-titles would detract from my understanding of the dialogue,they actually enhance my concentration,I usually watch on a lap top which makes it more personal/ Should be more widely advertised and on a mainstream channel

  37. Anonymous says:

    Beginning to quake at the knees with excitement. Episode 17 & 18 only 10 hours away. How will we cope when it ends next week? Is there a help group or support line?

  38. Anonymous says:


  39. OK, my theory is – may not be original, but Rie and Brix are involved. I’ve thought since episode 1 that she was suspicious. And surely, the crime and the election (therefore the police) must tie in together. This is either brilliantly clever or very silly – I’m still stuck on it.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I though Rie was involved really early on when she started showing an interest in what happened in the car park when “Can’t remember his name” approached Bremer about being on the payroll!!! Then she seemed to be another red herring. Brix is responsible for Meyer’s end…. has to be, same walk, shoes, gloves… But why – how – why? I’m wondering if Rie’s father has any influence in this, he was very high up politically and could have a guiding hand over all the misdeeds. Who else is having a Killing party next week! And yes, jumpers will be compulsory.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I don’t want this series to end. Haven’t a clue now whodunnit, but I reckon Sarah will turn to Troels (who wouldn’t?) and the big man will catch the bad guy, or guys, or girl?
    Rivetting stuff!

  42. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant series. However I would like to say that if Lund were not so obsessed, got some sleep and tried to co-operate with her fellow officers, she might be solving the case faster. Why did she think it was a smart move to enter the warehouse on her own… and she rarely lets her fellow officers know what she is about to do. She has to get a grip! As Meyer said – she has lost her boyfriend, her son, her mother, now Meyer and still not solved the case…

  43. Anonymous says:

    The Killing, OMG how brilliant is this very clever Danish crime drama, im totally hooked with its twists,turns, highs and lows im constantly on the edge of me seat, Sarah Lund and her jumpers…lol, the acting is superb and Troels is such a babe, im so glad we get two episode every saturday night, next week will be the climax and saturday night veiwing will be mundane once more lets hope we get more gems like this…..

  44. I agree that Sarah seems to have lost the plot of her life – was she in shock at the end of last night’s second episode after Meyer’s murder, or still obsessing about the case?

    I also agree with the suggestion that everyone should have a party next Saturday night for the finale. Otherwise, withdrawal blues might set in when it’s all over.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I make a point of having everything done, dinner,washing up done and bathed in time for The Killing. This fantastic Crime drama is so addictive i never know whats coming next from one episode to the next, its beautifully shot, the actors are amazing and the story line is second to none, red herring after red herring adds to the suspence im at the edge of my seat…what with the dashing Troels and Lunds jumpers what more could we ask for on a saturday night, lets hope the BBC has another good drama to compensate when we reach the climax of this amazing drama next week.

  46. Mmm I also think Rix has been acting strange ( did he kill Meyer ? ) and Rie knows more than she lets on…….otherwise after 18 episodes Im in the dark. Before last night i was convinced it was the taxi driver/removal man…..but dont think he shot Meyer so WHO ??
    Saturday nights wont be the same after next week.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait until next Saturday to find out who did it! It must have been some-one with access to Jan in hospital (I presume he was bumped off to prevent him naming the killer) which kind of points the finger at Blix… and Leon’s behaviour would suggest that he was Nanna’s biological father.. does Theis know?

    I remember the Sand Baggers well .. Roy Marsden at his laconic best.. and going ever further back, in B&W days, I remember a superb series called The Guardians (!!) that I found really gripping.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Can’t be Blix – he plays a leading part in Series 2 …

  49. Anonymous says:

    I still think there’s an outstanding issue in the light on Lund’s landing having its wire cut. And I suspect that someone was snooping on her laptop’s wireless connection from the stairs of her building.

  50. For those viewers in crisis when The Killing finishes next weekend, the DVD of series 1 is out on 4 April

  51. William Penn says:

    I don’t usually watch these things but I am totally addicted to Sarah and the Killing. I can barely manage to get through the week, and only cope by watching the repeats on iPlayer, to make sure I haven’t missed anything. I don’t know what I am going to do after next Saturday? The only thing I have ever seen that compares with the intrigue, with the seemly endless plots and sub-plots, acting and casting was Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy. I might try other suggestions like Callan, Sandbaggers, Edge of Darkness, Wallinder (Swedish version) but there never going to last to Killing series 2!

  52. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait for Saturday night’s episodes, I really have no idea who the culprit(s) is/are. Rie definitely has a bigger part in it. Theis is outstanding, rarely do you see such calibre of acting on TV. Life is going to be a little emptier without The Killing. Luckily I have The Wire Series 2 to ease the pain, bit of a latecomer to McNulty.

  53. Anonymous says:

    it’s the police chief who is always trying to stop the investigation with tips from the removal man.
    so I’ve been led to believe this week.

    really, really good series.

  54. Anonymous says:

    I live in Thailand, and my Dad in the UK told me about this. I’m afraid to say I immediately broke several copyright laws and downloaded the entire series (I don’t have a TV), and watched it all in ten days. It doesn’t let up for an instant, and episode 18 is a real shocker.

    To compound my crimes, I also downloaded series 2, which I’ve started to watch. Just breathtaking, addictive TV. The last time I got this “into” a series was The Wire.

  55. Anonymous says:

    only 4 sleeps to go!C’mon Troels, help her!
    Troels Doll

  56. Anonymous says:

    I agree with everything said- especially re; Lund’s character- at last a real woman on TV- with depth, emotion, professionalism, flaws and intelligence. I wish we could see this kind of quality produced in the UK- maybe this will stimulate something! There has been some excellent European tv series on the BBC of late, as well as some first rate world cinema- I look forward to seeing more.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I really love this programme. I got into it because Sue Perkins mentioned it on Twitter. I am counting down the days until the finale. I will miss that Jumper (or two if you notice she alternates the two) Does anyone else think that Sarah and Pernille look alike. It has fooled me a couple of times. I got slightly lost and had to rewind. I also love Theiss. The actor who plays him obviously smokes for real. (Stained fingers and everything.) Every time he stubs out a cigarette the hurt in his eyes is superb. I heard the second series will be aired later this year. I can’t wait.

  58. Anonymous says:

    I watch all the cop programmes all of the time and NOTHING comes anywhere near this.
    I have absolutely no idea who the killer is, although now I am leaning towards some sort of evil serial killer ring. I don’t know, something the cab driver said to Lund on the phone. “You have no idea what you’re dealing with”

    This is the quickest two hours I have ever come across in my life. Well done for showing two eps at a time…

  59. MeldM says:

    My family and I are absolutely transfixed when it gets to 9pm on Saturday night. We can’t wait for Forbrydelsen! Theis is amazing – you just want to give him a huge cuddle to stop his pain. We adore Sarah – she’s so strong and intelligent, and hate it when her rotten cow of a mother is so unsupportive. I think what I love most about the programme is how real everyone is, not amazing Hollywood super glams, but real, down to earth, proper people. The Killing is the best thing on TV that I’ve seen for a very, very long time. I had to laugh reading other people’s comments – I too go around muttering Troels, Theis, Troels, Theis. Have just about figured out Tak, Nye, OK, but the rest is just like they’ve got a mouthful of chocolate and don’t want any to fall out. Still I’d love to go to Denmark and sightsee. I hope the second season is as good as the first. Be still my beating heart!!

  60. Anonymous says:

    Superb, watched 4-18 since last Saturday, love the accents and brilliant earthy acting. Hope they don’t spoil it with a Hollywood version. Think it was suicide.

  61. Anonymous says:

    Makes me really proud to be Danish. Women like Lund really do exist! Maybe it’s true that the subtitles make it more spellbinding; generally it’s very well translated, but what doesn’t come across is the amount of swearing that everyone engages in. Colloquial Danish is peppered with swear words!! Also, Meyer (RIP) is from Jutland, usually considered very provincial by Copenhageners like Lund, and Bremer’s accent is very old school, unlike the gorgeous Troels who is much more 21st century in accent and mannerisms – just another layer of detail, sadly lost on all you Brits!

  62. Anonymous says:

    “The Killing” has the true metal – alongside “Tinker, Tailor”, “The Jewel In The Crown” and “Edge of Darkness”. Wouldn’t it be great if today’s BBC could come up with something of such quality!

  63. Anonymous says:

    The greatest crime drama I’ve ever seen,just when i was losing faith in the ever dumbing down Beeb they find this jewel in their very shaky crown.The characters are really three dimensional you can almost feel what they are feeling.Lets have more of this kind of quality and less,much less of the reality band wagon pap that the beeb seem desperate to jump on.Programs like this are worth the T.V. license fee.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Simply the best show on TV-ever!With each passing episode I find I am fantasing more and more with the notion of travelling to Copenhagen and committing a crime (short of murder)that might result in my being questioned by the delightful Sarah Lund!-and I will only confess to same on condition that I can go back to her pad and share with her a ready cooked meal and a bottle of Carslberg!PS-my wife is in bed!!!

  65. Anonymous says:

    Best series ever. I would like to thank the writer,director,actors and the technical staff for this amazing storyline.The subtitles feel like I’m reading a book and at the same time the images/acting on the screen enhance the quality of the story,it’s like watching 10 good films in a row.

  66. Danish details much appreciated. The Killing has made us all curious about Danish culture and language.

    Perhaps this site should offer a Danish language primer before series 2 goes out in the autumn.

    But thanks again for the insights into the character’s accents. Sounds like the casting was very cleverly done.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Won’t be the same without the lovely Meyer , but still the best thing on T.V. Ever!

  68. Anonymous says:

    What a masterpiece. The best crime drama i have ever watched on TV. Inspector Lund she could teach us all a thing or two in CID (Masterfully played by the very unstated Sofie Grabol) Thank you Denmark.

  69. Each of the foreign cop shows that have been shown on beeb 4 have been excellent in their own ways. The Killing has been well and truly covered in this post.
    Both Swedish version of Wallander have captured the spirit of the books much better than Branagh’s overly stylised and brooding interpretation. The two Spiral series have shown the dirty urban side of France that we are not usually exposed to and given some insight into the pecularities – to British eyes – of their judicial system.
    The few episodes of Montalbano that have been shown are much lighter but give an equally valid insight into the moral ambiguities of life as a cop in Sicily and of course the Sicilian obsession with fantastic food. There are many more episodes in the can but English subtitled DVDs of Montalbano seem to be available only in Australia on Region 4 discs – try eBay.

  70. Anonymous says:

    TOTALLY agree. Anyone who hasnt seen it just laughs at you, but it is now my fav series. So depressing yet watchable! Theis is an amazing character and i have a lot of respect for the actor. Just… wow!


    RIP Jan Meyer 🙁

  71. Anonymous says:

    Recently, a journalist suggested the BBC close BBC4 to save money and wondered what BBC4 was for. Well, Mr. Journalist, THIS is what it’s for. The Killing is the most must see series on TV and Sofie Gråbøl is mesmerising as Sarah (yes, it’s the eyes). Roll on series 2.
    Along with the Swedish Wallanders and the French Spiral it’s great to have such quality, intelligent detective drama on TV, so a big thank you to the BBC for showing them. But please, please don’t throw them away like Mad Men!

  72. Anonymous says:

    Apparently the actors had no knowledge of how this series would end either, so it was ‘raw’ for them too.
    What intrigued me was, – why was it that Vagn turned up at the Hotel to rescue Pernille from that slightly drunk, mesmerised Norwegian guy?
    (I know he was Norwegian – I understand the Scandinavian languages). Might they have been in a relationship at some time? Is Vagn the father to either the boys, or even Nanna?
    Did Theis find out, and killed the girl in revenge? Well, tomorrow night we shall find out who’s behind this. And it may not be what we think – it could still be linked to the politicians.

  73. Anonymous says:

    best tv show for years, only one to compare was TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, why not show that again, mustn’t forget Wallander (Swedish Version) another brilliant show, thx BBC4.

  74. Anonymous says:

    Seems thoroughly mean to pick holes when the whole is stunningly brilliant, but:
    Why has the cutting of the cctv cable covering outside the flat of the head investigator of a murder/political scandal passed as if it never happened?
    Why has successful political operator and generally switched-on, savvy type Troels got away with claiming he used the same password, his birthday, everywhere?

  75. I just watched the final episode. Great series. Intelligent, cool, well shot, edited and scripted. I liked the the score too, the haunting signature was perfect. I bumped into this series by accident whilst looking for something to watch on the brilliant BBC iPlayer. I found the first four episodes and was hooked. A proper meaty portion of quality drama to a level that I have not seen before I will make no comparisons because I do not know of anything worth comparing. It is superb television. I told my wife, she watched and was hooked too.

    Anyone out there have an opinion about the ending? There is plenty to say. I was mildly disappointed that it was not as emphatic as I hoped it would be. I wonder if the Nanna Birk Larsen case will be picked up in the next series. I have questions and want answers just like Troels.

    I liked the themes, the institution and the individual, the public and the private, the notion of moral credibility played out through the drama was as compelling as the plot.

  76. All great stuff in the post.
    Sorry – I’ve skipped over the comments because I still have to watch episodes 19 & 20 on iPlayer, and I don’t want to see any spoilers.
    Apart from all the good points mentioned above, I also like the way that there’s not a single cliched location shot. No equivalent of a mini driving over Tower Bridge past a red post box in the shadow of the Clock Tower to establish that a scene is set in Britain. So no Little Mermaid of royal guard of honour.
    Looking forward to the last two episodes.

  77. No other TV detective series has got me so involved in the real and imperfect lives of the detectives, the people whose lives intersect with the investigation and, above all, the crime victims. Add political intrigues, departmental intrigues, many herrings of the type the Danes dont eat – the red ones, excellent lighting, sets, acting and the careful use of music – this series stands so far above anything else that I can think of.

  78. Anonymous says:

    This show had just about everybody stuck in front of their tv’s in Denmark every sunday at 8pm when it was broadcast first time. Massive bets were put on who you thought it was, and it was conceiled until the end. Great watching the series again on BBCiplayer, and even though I knew who the killer was there were a lot of details that had been forgotten.
    Another crime series BBC should think about is “Rejseholdet” from about 10 years ago. It portrayed real crimes from Denmark and first series won an Emmy!

  79. Anonymous says:

    Well, having watched the last episode last night, I just can’t get this brilliant series out of my head. After every 2 hours we have been left emotionally wrung out and completely wrong about all our theories as to who dunnit. In the end we gave up trying to figure it out and just went with the flow. The acting has been suberb throughout, I can’t think of a duff performance but what strikes me the most is how the killing of one young woman has destroyed the lives of so many of the characters. I too loved the Edge of Darkness and having recently re-watched it on DVD, I still think that this amazing series just tops that one. We caught the start of the series quite by chance and many of our friends didn’t, so by the time we were telling them that it was brilliant it was too late, they didn’t watch it. So thanks to the BBC for buying the series but shame on them for not advertising it more. We are awaiting the next series with great anticipation but can it be as good?

  80. Anonymous says:

    Morten=martin? Sara – Sarah … but i cant stop wondering what Troels, or Thiess may ‘translate’ as!! Porl.

  81. What a brilliant story its had me hooked,watched the last one tonight on BBCiplayer and am left wanting more the performances were excellent and as the story went on you could really feel the empathy with all the characters involved,the storyline was excellent it was a masterpiece of crime drama, along with the 2 Swedish version of Wallander it was exciting to watch.

  82. Anonymous says:

    I was instantly hooked when I caught up with The Killing around episode 12.

    It was the characters, done so well and believably, but the addiction the viewer feels is Lund’s. We have to know the solution, and we know it will take time, especially after the first few red herrings.

    I agree with all the poster’s who comment on Lund’s eyes – compelling in ‘tunnel vision’ intensity.

    After I watched the final two episodes tonight I was left thinking what made it so good. Everything came together, bit there was a facet here which I think has been more fully explored than in anything I’ve seen before.

    Each character has their own notion of good and bad. Everyone in the storyline is prepared to compromise good to a greater or lesser degree, and in different ways. Except Lund, who compromises her whole life instead.

    But you only sympathise fully with Lund if you believe finding the killer is above other considerations (I believe the viewer is led to do this, but not wholly).

    One of the marvellous things about this show for me is the way we as viewers are encouraged to see how people view good and bad differently. Without more judgement than we would show in everyday life. But with the suspicions we sometimes hold exaggerated.

    Fantastically realised by the actors and crew, but great writing.

    I suspect the edits would show Morten’s involvement more fully.

  83. Anonymous says:

    Heard from my German friend that they’ve had Series 2 but it’s dubbed. Oh please let’s always have subtitles on the Beeb, we’re all gripped by the language. Same with the Wallander series, the Swedish version was terrific and it makes it more exotic.

  84. Anonymous says:

    No more Theis, Pernille, Troels and above all no more Sarah. I am desolate that it has finished, now it’s back to going out and doing all the normal Saturday Night things. The best ever series on British TV with absolutely brilliant actors and a fantastic story. I have never been a supporter of award shows but if this doesn’t sweep the board then they are more irrelevant than I already think they are.

  85. Anonymous says:

    Help me out here. We watched this programme every week & were totally hooked. Agree with all the praise above, but what was the link between the 2 storylines? Were we ever told that Vagn took Nanna to the flat? How did he end up there with her? Had he followed her to have “the conversation” & it got out of hand? With Vagn everything seems so controlled & premeditated I’m struggling with just how it happened. Looks like the dvd might be required to go through it again.

  86. This plot summary by The Guardian should help – it certainly cleared up a few points for me.


  87. Anonymous says:

    I missed the first two episodes, so I too am left confused about the ending. Vagn was doing up Theis’s flat right? And the police find the blood stains of the daughter in the basement. So whose blood was all over Troels’ flat if Vagn did not take her there? Or did he? The Grauniad blog does not help!

  88. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a few choice phrases from the series for Danish lovers. My favourite phrase of the series has to be Rie saying “Det er fullstendig lige meget!!”

    Jed er ked af (everyone!) I am sorry
    drengene (Theis, Pernille, Vagn, teacher) the boys – most used word in the series?
    forkerte (Lund) wrong
    dæknavn (Lund) alias/covername
    Hvornår? (Meyer) When?
    Det er lige meget It doesn’t matter
    Det er fullstendig lige meget! (Rie) That is totally irrelevant!/I don’t give a sh** etc
    fifleriene (Bremer) fiddling the books
    Det er forby (Troels) It’s over
    med de bakspejle (Troels) in hindsight (literally “with rearview mirrors”)

  89. patricia says:

    just read killing 2 will be on our screens this autumn, i have never ever in all my 66 years watched such an excellent series, the acting was brilliant, the storyline also, nearly didnt watch it cos of subtitles, i am so very pleased i did,i can honestly say, it is the best ever, cant wait for number 2, they also in process of filming no 3 which will be aired in denmark autumn 2012, so got loads to look forward to, saturday nights not the same anymore, feel like i got withdrawel symptoms, i love it, love it love it

  90. Brian Morant says:

    …The Kingdom

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