The Killing: Season 1 DVD
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Directed by Various (TV)
Produced in 2007
Main Language - Danish / Swedish with English subtitles
Contemporary Crime • Contemporary Drama • Contemporary Thrillers • Contemporary Mystery Film • World Cinema Television • Crime Television • Television Drama • European Film • Scandinavian Film • Crime - Drama • Crime - Thriller • Crime - Mystery
A huge hit for BBC4 - and a staple of recent Sunday newspaper columns - this superb Danish detective thriller has taken everyone by surprise. Peter Wild explains the success, and why you really need to watch it.
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.
Peter Wild on 25th March 2011
Author of 99 reviews
Acclaimed as one of the finest murder investigation series ever produced, The Killing is a riveting Danish TV thriller that tries to answer the question, 'who killed Nanna Birk Larsen?'
The murder of a young girl launches Detective Sarah Lund into an extended police investigation. Lund’s plans for a new life in Sweden are put on hold as she can't bring herself to leave the case behind. As the parents of the dead girl's parents and friends struggle to cope with their loss, a link is revealed between city hall and the murder, causing a dilemma for one of Copenhagen’s mayoral candidates. Over the course of twenty episodes, one for every day of the investigation, Copenhagen’s secret corruption and power struggles are intriguingly unravelled as the hunt for the killer intensifies and the truth becomes ever harder to find.
Publisher: Arrow E1
Length: 1100 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: FCD534
Format: DVD Colour
- 5 discs
- 20 hour-long episodes