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This is the entry for the Danish-language TV series known in English as The Killing. If you're looking for the American remake, go here.
A tale of murder, politics and knitwear, Forbrydelsen (first season 2007, second 2009, third and final scheduled for 2012) is the best Danish TV series you'll probably ever see. While this may seem like damning with faint praise, it's genuinely brilliant. It was a massive hit in Denmark (a third of the population turned in for the first season finale and the second half of the season was brought forward) and when shown in the UK on BBC 4, got rave reviews, huge audiences for the channel and won the 2011 International BAFTA.
The first season, set in Copenhagen, Denmark focuses on the murder of Nanna Birk Larsen, a 19-year-old Danish schoolgirl. Each episode of twenty focusses on one day in the investigation, from three different perspectives:
Detective Inspector Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl), a dour moody woman who likes wearing Faroese sweaters, is about to move to Sweden with her boyfriend, but decides to stick around and work with her replacement, Jan Meyer, to solve the crime.
Troels Hartmann is trying to become Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, when his campaign gets connected to the murder and his own activities come under scrutiny.
Theis and Pernille Birk Larsen, Nanna's parents, have to come to terms with the murder of their daughter... Their decisions will shape their lives and those of others.
The second season is set two years later and revolves around the Danish military. Lund, having been exiled to a passport control job, is called back to Copenhagen when Afghanistan veterans start getting bumped off in gruesome ways, creating a panic over Islamist terrorism. Meanwhile, new Justice Minister Thomas Buch is trying to get a new anti-terror bill through parliament, while trying to find out just what was going on with his ill predecessor.
This show contains examples of:
- Alas, Poor Yorick: The scene where Sarah holds a skull in an Afghan house. It is clearly that of a child and has a prominent bullet hole in it
- Big Bad Friend: Vagn. And Strange. The show likes this.
- Bluffing the Murderer
- Bulletproof Vest
- Cold-Blooded Torture: the main killers in both seasons are into this.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The closing music, which combines high-paced and moody to such great effect the Americans used it themselves.
- Crusading Widower: deconstructed with Theis - his attempts to avenge Nanna's death are depicted as catastrophic mistakes
- Da Chief
- Detective Mole
- The Determinator: Lund will do pretty much anything to solve a case, often putting herself in a lot of danger to do so.
- Exposition Victim: Not really
- External Combustion: with a boat, rather than a car
- Gunman with Three Names: There are a lot of people with three names although none of them are the murderers
- Hot for Teacher
- I Never Said It Was Poison
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Turns up in both seasons, but by amateurs, not the cops.
- Last-Name Basis: Lund and Meyer. Lampshaded by Lund herself.
- Limited Wardrobe: Lund often wears the same clothes three or four days straight.
- Man On Fire
- Married to the Job: Lund doesn't have much time for romance or family.
- Memetic Outfit: Lund's Faroese sweater in the first season. The Radio Times promoted the second season in the UK with a knitting pattern.
- No Badass to His Valet: The scene when Lund meets Meyer's wife for the first time says it all, really.
- No Hero to His Valet
- Poisonous Friend: Morten
- Reassigned to Antarctica: After the foul-up of the first season, Lund is demoted and packed off to do passport control in a remote Danish port.
- Riddle for the Ages: Whether Vagn was really a Serial Killer, or whether he was only guilty of the first murder linked to him in addition to those in the main action.
- Sacrificial Lion: Meyer
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Raben in the second season.
- Sociopathic Soldier
- Spice Up the Subtitles: Danish people complained that the official English subtitles for the first season had too much, and too strong, swearing in them.
- Sweater Girl: Lund is usually seen wearing a distinctive striped Faroese sweater.
- Turn in Your Badge: Happens a lot to Lund.
- Vasquez Always Dies: The second season introduces a tough survivalist ex-soldier woman, who gets murdered the following episode.
- Wild Teen Party: An out-of-control high school party causes some confusion in the investigation of the first season.
- Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Averted to a degree with Raben in the second season.