Dear Diary

November 30, 2011

Growing up, not growing up, obsessing over TV, and the mean reds.


Sarah Lund

Forbrydelsen–in English, The Killing—is a Danish TV series that has been written about a lot in the UK media in the past year. I don’t know how much I can add to the discussion except to say YOU MUST WATCH IT. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES. It is the only TV show, along with Twin Peaks, that sends shivers down my spine. Watching it, I have had tears in my eyes, gripped the edge of my bed/the arms of chairs/my dad’s actual arms with a force usually unknown to me, and often exclaimed out loud to an empty room.

So it’s a Danish drama, with English subtitles, that was finally shown on BBC4 here in Britain last year, three years after it originally came out in Denmark. I admit, at first it wasn’t on my radar. It was only a couple of months ago, when it was repeated, that I finally caught up. Most of my memories of September are tied up with the Rookie launch and watching The Killing on my laptop, which was quite a good way to start the fall. Right now the second series is playing and I get a two-hour block every Saturday (lasting only a few more weeks unfortunately). (And apparently there’s a U.S. version, which I know nothing about! Have any of you watched it?)

Now to try and explain what makes it so amazingly good. It revolves around Sarah Lund—the best female detective I have ever seen anywhere! Not only does she seem to be the only competent person in the police force, she also gives really good bitchface. She may neglect her personal life completely in the process, but it is so easy to sympathise with her, because we know that if Lund doesn’t solve a crime, no one can, even if that means slowing drifting away from every member of her family. She may not have much affection for her fellow human beings, but you can’t help having huge amounts of affection for her. And it’s no small thing that she is a woman on TV who is career driven and totally validated by her work, who has flaws and strengths like all of the great characters in fiction. She is fully formed.

In the first series, the victim is an effervescent teenage girl, who on the surface seems perfect. So the crime captures the attention of Copenhagen’s government and its people. Three angles on the story—the police, the politicians, and the victim’s grieving family—are woven together seemingly effortlessly. The lines of right and wrong are continually blurred, which makes each and every character so human.

Copenhagen is portrayed as dark and murky and constantly rainy, but I LOVE IT. (Probably reminds me of Birmingham.) At the same time, Denmark seems so sophisticated and civilised. I’m enticed by its rounded language and its stylish architecture and sparse forests. Instead of New York tonight, I am dreaming of slinking down Copenhagen’s dark streets.

When something as good as The Killing comes along, I want to proclaim my love from the rooftops. I’m happy that I can still find things to truly have a moment about, to unashamedly obsess about. Sometimes you have to search quite hard to find something that captures you like that, but it is so so worth it. Definitely going through a phase, and I will relish it. ♦


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  • Marguerite November 30th, 2011 7:38 PM

    O MAH GAWD!! That looks just like my sheep! I have a sheep, a shetland sheep, she’s black with a white tail and white feet and white nose. She is the cutest thing in the world and I haven’t seen her in 3 months because she lives at my grandmother’s farm! ahhhh…ok…

  • Nomi November 30th, 2011 8:14 PM

    Katherine–that sounds like fun! i always wanted to do the mall thing, but alas, no malls in Manhattan. Just have to wander around 5t avenue and try on all the expensive dresses like the obnoxious teens me and my friends are ;)

  • maira November 30th, 2011 8:59 PM

    Oh Dylan. I am 21 and read the last three paragraphs and I don’t even know what to say because it resounded so deeply with how I spent my Thanksgiving weekend. I was so happy to see my parents that I spent the whole weekend relaxing and it felt so good. I felt like I really, really needed it. But I also think I was somehow paralyzed by how much I had to do. Reading your post made me feel like I wasn’t alone in feeling this way and that alone made me feel loads better. The best thing I can think to do in these situations is to let myself freak out, cry, feel bad, etc for a little bit. But after that I think to myself, there’s nothing left to do but soldier on. And I try to take all of that energy and put it towards being proactive. It’s obviously easier said than done, but I think the key is not to repress everything you feel, but not completely dwell on it either.

  • fizzingwhizbees November 30th, 2011 9:55 PM

    Dylan, I know EXACTLY how you feel. Thanksgiving-break breakdown and all. I was so excited to come to college, and now that I’m here all I can think about is how terrified I am to graduate and become an adult with responsibilities.

  • moonchild November 30th, 2011 10:18 PM

    Wow, Dylan, that was so beautiful. Sigh… expectations are hard.

  • Sunshine November 30th, 2011 10:19 PM

    You mentioned 1-2-3 he’s yours. Gilmore Girls reference? I think I’m in love with you.

  • cherrycola27 November 30th, 2011 11:34 PM

    I play 1-2-3 he’s yours ALL the time! I almost got a date out if once, but that’s a long story. :)
    And Dylan, I can totally relate to your feelings. I’m 20 and suddenly realizing I have to “get it together” even more and that’s so scary. Good to know other people feel the same way.

  • Narnie December 1st, 2011 3:14 AM

    Dylan, you consistently write so beautifully and honestly. Somehow everything you say just resonates so deeply…

  • Billy December 1st, 2011 8:12 AM

    Dylan, I know exactly how you feel. I feel the exact same. Im turning 19 soon and EVERYONE expects this huge change from kid to mature adult. I too have always been considered “a mature child” and now that I’m having trouble transitioning into a SUPER MATURE RESPONSIBLE ADULT everyone seems pissed about it. ugh. I dont know what people expect from a 19 year old either. I cry as well.

  • giov December 1st, 2011 11:21 AM

    Oh Dylan, how I understand your pains (every week actually, and we don’t even share the same star sign). I am 22 but my life is still kind of the same of when I was 19, maturity wise. Okay, my cooking skills have improved! And I have better clothes! But I am still very, extremely far from having my shit together. But, hey, I don’t know a single person who has their shit completely together! And I am sure you don’t, either.

  • Pauletta December 1st, 2011 12:16 PM

    Naomi.- I will definitely check ‘The Killing’, sounds like my kind of show.

    I also wanted to tell you that you write amazingly well. I never miss your submissions. Keep it up!!

  • tallulahpond December 1st, 2011 1:27 PM

    I watch The Killing! It’s so good, and no-one else I know watches it. Now finally I find another lost soul, haha!

  • Morgan December 1st, 2011 4:20 PM

    Dylan- I am 22 and I can relate to everything you wrote 100%, I’m having a really hard time figuring out how to be the person that I want to grow up to be and the person that everyone else (my mother) wants me to be and its awful.

    I feel like my choices (more now than ever before) are really laying
    out the path for my future, and its terrifying. If I decide to leave an awesome paying job that I hate in order to do something that might not work out at all, will I look back in 3 years and
    hate myself for it? if I don’t take a chance will I look back and REALLY hate myself for it?

    Don’t let other peoples expectations of where you should be in life or how you should act at this certain point affect how you are choosing to live your life. It sounds easy but honestly, its pretty hard.

  • Birger December 4th, 2011 1:50 PM

    OMG! Love that show, I’m from Denmark so it’s been a whale since it was on TV here:)
    Had no idea I was watched in other countries!