The Killing and The Bridge. That was where it all began, wasn’t it? The modern day obsession with Scandi noir; all the foreign language dramas on Walter Presents. And, perhaps it was because I knew that those two behemoths featured so large in the oeuvre, that I had studiously avoided watching either of them. Until I finally succumbed during lockdown and started watching The Killing on BBC iPlayer.
Now, when I say The Killing, what I actually mean is Forbrydelsen, the original Danish series featuring Sofie Gråbøl as detective Sarah Lund, not its American remake. Forbrydelsen runs to forty episodes spread over three series, roughly one-hour in length each. And each one is gripping entertainment.
The series benefits from maintaining the same writer, Søren Sveistrup, throughout and, although this can mean at some points the stories become a little formulaic, like Dan Brown, it is a formula that works. The combination of police procedural and political intrigue; the multiple suspects and episode cliff-hangers; the trials and tribulations of Lund’s personal life; the breakthroughs and the setbacks in the investigation; the machinations and in-fighting behind the politicians’ public personas; the dilemmas and the conundrums; and, at the conclusion, Lund’s perspicacity triumphing against the odds. It has all the ingredients of the finest Norse epic sagas.
But now it is over. I have watched all forty episodes. In vain, I searched the internet to see if there might be a secret fourth series, which I had overlooked and, although the American remake runs to a fourth series, the Danish original, perhaps wisely, knew when to stop.
So, what do I watch now? This is what I feared all along: watch the best, and nothing else quite matches up. Have I spoiled all the foreign language dramas that follow because I will be forever making a comparison with The Killing?
It’s a possibility. But, then again, there is a new French thriller set in Corsica with Thierry Godard and Grégory Fitoussi just uploaded to Walter Presents, which looks quite good. No harm in giving that a whirl.
© Stephanie Snifter
Stephanie Snifter is already over The Killing.