Current Magazine

The Killing II: Sarah Lund (and Her Fairisle Jumper) is Back

Posted on the 21 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

The Killing II: Sarah Lund (and her fairisle jumper) is back

The Killing II

Slow-burning Danish detective series The Killing (Forbrydelsen) was a surprise hit around the world and prompted a bigger budgeted US remake. The Danish police procedural has developed an almost cult-like following who insist the show is right up there with The Wire and The Sopranos in the all-time TV greats list. Playing the lead role of detective Sarah Lund has catapulted actress Sofie Gråbøl to stardom and even made dorky fairisle jumpers (as sported incessantly by Lund) achingly hip.

Given the stunning success of series one, it’s no surprise that British fans were glued to their TV sets on Saturday night for The Killing II, which opened with a double-bill of episodes on BBC Four. But did it deliver on the tremendous hype? And will series two ever be able to match up to the award-winning first series?

The zeal of a late convert. The Guardian assigned The Killing virgin Tim Dowling to review the show and he was blown away. “Oh God, I’m hooked”, exclaimed Dowling, who asked “Why didn’t I jump on this bandwagon sooner? What was I waiting for, an invitation? Two episodes in and I’m already beginning to exhibit symptoms of abject fandom, including the delusion that I have at some level been able to speak Danish all along.” “As a melodrama it’s extraordinarily spare, and as a tour of Danish soft furnishings it’s an education”, purred Dowling, who took time to praise the lead: “As a protagonist, Lund is an innovation – reluctant, unassuming and partly broken, with nothing but a sharp eye and a covert tenacity to sustain her.” The reviewer argued that “much of its appeal, of course, is down to the foreign setting. It makes the whole thing that much more unsettling, because you can’t tell whether a character is behaving oddly, or whether he’s just being Danish.”

Lonely, lovely Lund. Andrew Billen of The Times (£) welcomed back the show and particularly Lund who “promises to be great company in the dark nights until Christmas.” In fact, Billen demonstrated an almost creepy fandom for “lonely, lovely Lund” played by the superbly naturalistic Sofie Gråbøl.” Besides his fondness for the Lund character, Billen found time to praise writer Søren Sveistrup for having the bravery to tear up his own rule book: “For most of Season 1 the police had only the one murder to investigate, but the first episode here featured two … Structurally, too, there is innovation. The new episodes are much more a jigsaw that the viewer must assemble. Their pace is faster: Lund finds a clue in a cellophane wrapper that turns out to be relevant within 20 minutes.”

The Killing II is not as good as The Killing I. Serena Davies at The Daily Telegraph swam against the tide of critical opinion: “It may be too early to call. In fact, I hope it’s too early to call. But I’m going to do so anyway: The Killing II is not as good as The Killing I … Let’s not get this wrong: the opening double bill of The Killing II was still excellent. It had understated performances, it had a sophisticated script.” But Davies suggested the show, with its subplot about national rather than local (first series) politics, “has got too big for its boots. The last Killing brought in politics but nothing as big as the War on Terror.” Davies even dared to have a pop at Lund, who she said comes across as an unempathetic “eccentric loner with no emotional ‘journey’ left to make” in The Killing II. In her final dig, Davies questioned  the faster pacing of the second series and wondered whether the filmmakers “have sacrificed its uniqueness for fast thrills.”


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog