Directed by: Various (TV)
Countries & Regions: Denmark, Norway, Sweden
Length: 1100 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 4 April 2011
Cat No: FCD534
Screen ratio 1:1.78
Dolby Digital 2.0
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The Killing: Season 1
All 20 episodes of the Emmy-nominated Danish crime drama. Detective Sarah Lund (Sofie Grabol) is all set to emigrate to Sweden, but her... Read More
On the surface of things, Danish TV show The Killing is something of an anomaly – a subtitled police procedural that has raked in over 500,000 viewers an episode during its recent BBC4 run – generating much in the way of semi-bemused column inches (of the ‘why are all of these people watching a foreign show?’ variety) along the way.
Some people see a connection between the success of The Killing and the success of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo et al. It may be that there is some truth in that, just as there is some truth in the fact that Scandinavian crime fiction is something of a big deal at the moment (connoisseurs of the genre point out that The Killing’s principal detective Sarah Lund is far closer to Henning Mankell’s hangdog Wallander than Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander).
But there is a third theory as to the popularity of The Killing: BBC4 are very carefully building a following for good TV from other countries, a following that started with the excellent French police drama, Spiral.
For the uninitiated, The Killing concerns the murder of a teenage school girl called Nanna Birk Larsen. Detective Lund, on her last week on the job and set to leave Denmark for a new life, swiftly finds herself caught up in a murder mystery that seems to involve up and coming politician Troels Hartmann, himself busy trying to rid City Hall of corruption.
There is much to like about the show, from the fact that it is as slow burning as David Simon’s Treme to the fact that The Killing demands you sit and watch and pay attention, tiny details having pivotal significance as the show proceeds.
Episode to episode, small revelations stand shoulder to shoulder with larger questions of what the programme says about Danish culture and, for that matter, police procedurals in general (the show is as much about the failure of not recognising the big picture as it is about some police trying to track down a villain).
If you’ve yet to be bit by The Killing bug, all you need to know is that this is Cracker by way of Paul Abbot’s excellent State of Play. Essential TV in other words.