Tag Archives: The Killing

Kick Ass Women: Sarah Lund

Kick Ass and very warm

I’m officially nominating Sarah Lund  (Sofie Grabol) from The Killing as a Kick Ass Woman. Not that I’d ever call any woman ‘kick ass’ in reality, you understand, but that’s the category I’m working with, and Lund definitely qualifies. I must admit that I missed the first series of The Killing when it was shown a few months back, and by the time it was repeated, I’d already just seen the American version (which I quite enjoyed) and didn’t want to start all over again. For series 2 of the Danish original though, I was there from the start. I know that the series finished before Christmas, but in these days of boxed sets and Sky Plus, who cares about such minor details?

Lund starts off the series in some back of beyond post due to some previous unpleasantness, I’m guessing at the end of the first series two years before. She seems miserable but accepting of her fate. Before long she’s dragged back into investigating a series of murders of a lawyer and the team of soldiers that the lawyer was representing. It’s all something to do with a murder of a family in Afghanistan by a mysterious Danish officer. I won’t go into details, as it’s all very complicated. Suffice to say, Lund doesn’t really cheer up throughout the whole investigation.

Lund & Strange in happier times

She’s very single-minded, is Lund. She would win a single-minded competition even if put up against some very single-minded people indeed. She sees a suspect and then goes for him/her like a terrier after a rat. She reminds me a bit of that bloke from Taggart who’s approach to investigating a murder is to say “It was him – he definitely did it, without a doubt”, until someone points out that said suspect has a watertight alibi, when he then switches to the next ne’er do well in line as the murderer. Lund exhibits this approach to her colleague Strange, convinced one minute that he was the mystery special forces officer, Perk, then accepting that he was back in Denmark when the atrocity in question happened. This despite the fact that she quite fancies Strange, even going so far as to smile at him once, and, very daringly, hold his hand in the back of a Land Rover in Afghanistan.

I’d be very happy for Lund to investigate something on my behalf. I’d be less keen on going shopping with her, and the chances of any bloke sustaining a relationship with her long term are, I would suggest, slim. She doesn’t take no for an answer. You can imagine her suggesting the house would be better for an extension, and before you have the chance to say it’d be very expensive but perhaps you could think about it in a few years time, she’d have dug some footings and knocked a wall down.

In Afghanistan (just going there seems pretty kick ass to me), she persuades their army driver to divert to a village to look for evidence. She gets pissed off with the uncooperative attitude of a local and starts shouting at him, up close. He had a shifty look and an obvious gun, and it never occurred to her that she might need to rein in the attitude a bit.  Somehow though, she gets away with it. That same disregard for her own safety and the consequences of her actions are displayed when she chases the killer into a deserted building, with no back up, and against specific orders to the contrary. It doesn’t go well.

SPOILER ALERT – KILLER REVEALED:

Her ‘did he, didn’t he?’ suspicions as far as Strange was concerned were ultimately resolved when she realised that when he was supposed to have been back in Denmark behaving himself, he was, in fact, in Afghanistan, murdering civilians. It was him all along! Her realisation of this, and of the fact that it was Strange who’d been carrying out all the recent killings, prompted a classic Lundism; did she call back Strange, with back up, and take him in for questioning? Did she raise her suspicions with her superior officer, Brix? Nope on both counts. Instead, she finds Strange and insists on driving him and the soldier he’d been trying to kill, back to the hospital, stopping off in the park where the first murder took place, to confront him. When he realises that Lund knows he’s guilty, he grabs her gun and shoots her. Luckily, she’d put on a bullet proof jumper (thankfully, no head shots), so all was well, and after a brief lie down, she managed to sneak up behind him while he was about to carry out another murder, knock him flat on his back and grab his gun. She tells Strange not to move. He moves. She shoots him – lots of times. That’s why we like Lund. No nonsense.

So, if any woman is ‘kick ass’, it’s Sarah Lund. Tenacious, focussed, ruthless and fearless, with a deep sense of social justice, and a nice line in knit-wear. Magnificent.

Posted by Our Man In The South

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Rubicon: Ciphers, chills and conspiracy

I’m so excited by this I don’t know where to begin. I can only say I’m glad I’ve been practising watching TV (as opposed to listening while fiddling with the laptop and occasionally glancing up to take in the action) with The Killing and Spiral  – where you have to watch or you have no idea what’s going on.

Rubicon is in English, but it is totally absorbing and littered with visual clues and cues – it doesn’t just command your attention, it demands it too. This is atmospheric and engaging in a way that is reminiscent of The X-Files at its best.

I  will now attempt to convince you to watch this on iPlayer at your earliest convenience, without spoilering along the way. Sincerest apologies in advance if I fail in a major way…

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The Killing: Slow TV can be good – but not if it’s Midsomer Murders

Don’t ask me why I ended up watching Midsomer Murders last night. I managed about twenty minutes (to give Neil Dudgeon a fair chance) before I could bear it no longer and went off to read a book instead. But I was moved to put fingers to keyboard not by the race row that’s blown up around Midsomer’s Brian True-May, but by the startling contrast between Midsomer and my new favourite thing, The Killing.

Well, durr, you say, the two have nothing in common beyond both being crime fiction. But I’m looking beyond the subtitles, strong female lead, low body count (although it’s risen rapidly in the last few episodes). What strikes me is that both The Killing and Midsomer move at a pace so laid back they would have Jeremy Clarkson accusing them of being lentil-munching, sandal-wearing Grauniad readers, but one has all the tension of an episode of Cash in the Attic, while the other has been keeping me awake at night turning over countless theories as to whodunnit.

If you don’t know what The Killing is, I will attempt to condense 18 hours (yes, one story told in 20 hours, AMAZING, as Popjustice would say) without spoilering for those still catching up on iPlayer. Forbrydelsen (to give it its original Danish title, which actually means The Crime, fact fans) has followed the efforts of Faroe Isle jumper-wearing DI Sarah Lund as she tries to find the person responsible for raping and murdering teenager Nanna Birk-Larsen. It is set against (and within) the election campaign for mayor of Copenhagen and although it has plenty of dark warehouses for Lund to wander around in, there is no sexual tension with her partner DI Jan Meyer, car chases or sensationalism. Instead fans of The Killing are hooked on the small details that have emerged so tantalisingly over the past few weeks and wait with bated breath for the conclusion this weekend.

How can it be that two hours of subtitled Danish crime drama that reveals little of the detectives’ private lives and barely more of the unfolding story can zip past, while two hours in Midsomer drags by like some kind of cruel and unusual punishment?

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