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. ♦