The Killing (Danish TV series)
Series 1 Danish poster
|Also known as||'Forbrydelsen'|
|Created by||Søren Sveistrup|
|Country of origin||Denmark|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||40|
|Running time||50 minutes x 40 episodes (total, 2007-2012)|
|Original release||7 January 2007 – 25 November 2012|
|Related shows||The Killing (US)|
The Killing (Danish: Forbrydelsen [fʌˈb̥ʁyðˀəlsən], "The Crime") is a Danish police procedural three-series-long television drama created by Søren Sveistrup and produced by DR in co-production with ZDF Enterprises. It was first broadcast on the Danish national television channel DR1 on 7 January 2007, and has since been transmitted in many other countries worldwide.
The series is set in Copenhagen and revolves around Detective Inspector Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl). Each series follows a murder case day-by-day. Each fifty-minute episode covers twenty-four hours of the investigation. The series is noted for its plot twists, season-long storylines, dark tone and for giving equal emphasis to the stories of the murdered victim's family and the effect in political circles alongside the police investigation. It has also been singled out for the photography of its Danish setting, and for the acting ability of its cast.
The Killing has proved to be an international hit—garnering significant critical acclaim—particularly in the United Kingdom, Germany and The Netherlands. It has become a cult television show, and has received numerous awards and nominations including a BAFTA Award and an International Emmy, and in 2011 a US remake was produced by the American cable network AMC. Novelizations of each series have been published by Macmillan.
Søren Sveistrup, series creator and head writer, worked closely with lead actress Sofie Gråbøl throughout the writing process to successfully develop the character of Detective Inspector Sarah Lund. Gråbøl, in particular, became eager to defend her character. Gråbøl had a history of playing emotionally demonstrative characters on Danish television—she had worked with Sveistrup before on the TV-series Nikolaj og Julie—he approached her direct to play the part of Sarah Lund before work on the script began.
Despite her insistence that she wanted to play an "isolated person [who is] unable to communicate" Gråbøl initially found it difficult to strike the right balance for the emotionally distant Lund until she realised that the only people she knew who were like the character were men. As a result she began "acting like a man" until the character took shape.
During filming of the first series Sveistrup also refused to reveal the identity of the murderer or even specific plot points to members of the cast, including Sofie Gråbøl. The actors would receive the scripts only on an episode-by-episode basis just moments before shooting was scheduled to begin. Gråbøl was told only that she was not the killer.
The first series consists of 20 fifty-minutes episodes, which follow the police investigation into the murder of a young woman from its commencement on 3 November to its conclusion on 22 November.
The first ten episodes were shown on DR1 each Sunday from early January to the middle of March 2007 and the intention was to show the remaining ten episodes in January–March 2008; however it was so popular in Denmark that in early March it was announced that the final ten episodes would be brought forward to the autumn of 2007; they were shown from late September to late November 2007.
Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Lund is in her last day with the Copenhagen police force; about to move to Sweden to join her fiancé and transfer to the Swedish police. Everything changes when 19-year-old Nanna Birk Larsen is found raped and brutally murdered. Sarah heads the investigation and is teamed up with her replacement, Detective Inspector Jan Meyer. Troels Hartmann, politician, is in the midst of a hard-fought mayoral campaign when evidence links him to the murder. The girl's family and friends struggle to cope with their loss. Over a span of 20 days suspect upon suspect is sought out as violence and political pressures cast their shadows over the hunt for the killer.
- Inspector Sarah Lund: Sofie Gråbøl
- Inspector Jan Meyer: Søren Malling
- Chief Inspector Erik Buchard: Troels II Munk (episodes 1-11)
- Chief Inspector Lennart Brix: Morten Suurballe (episodes 11-20)
- Troels Hartmann: Lars Mikkelsen
- Mayor Poul Bremer: Bent Mejding
- Rie Skovgaard: Marie Askehave
- Theis Birk Larsen: Bjarne Henriksen
- Pernille Birk Larsen: Ann Eleonora Jørgensen
- Vagn Skærbæk: Nicolaj Kopernikus
- Rama: Farshad Kholghi
- Morten Weber: Michael Moritzen
- Nanna Birk Larsen: Julie Ølgaard
Episodes and ratings
Forbrydelsen II is set two years later and consists of ten episodes. It aired in Denmark between 27 September and 29 November 2009. Episodes were screened eleven days later on Thursdays on Norwegian NRK1. It was shown on German TV channel ZDF and on Swedish SVT in the autumn of 2010. In the United Kingdom, it was shown on BBC Four, starting from 19 November 2011, following the success of the first series, on the Belgian channel, Canvas, starting on 25 November 2011, and in Australia on SBS Two, starting from 21 March 2012. The Region 2 DVD with English subtitles was released on 19 December 2011.
Following the resolution of the Larsen case, Lund was demoted. She is a border police officer in the southern town of Gedser. Her former boss, Lennart Brix, sends Police Inspector Ulrik Strange from Copenhagen to visit Lund and ask for her help in solving the murder of Anne Dragsholm, a military legal adviser who was found murdered at the memorial for executed members of the Danish resistance in Ryvangen Memorial Park. Lund joins the investigation and suspects that the murder is not as straightforward as it seems, despite the forced confession of Dragsholm's husband. Meanwhile, Thomas Buch, the newly appointed Minister of Justice, suspects that his predecessor was involved in the cover-up of a massacre of Afghan civilians by Danish soldiers, and that this incident is connected with Dragsholm's murder.
Lund is about to be discharged from the case when a second murder, that of a Danish military veteran, leads to the conclusion that Islamic extremists are behind the killings. Jens Peter Raben, a war veteran currently incarcerated in a mental hospital, knew both victims and sticks to his story that his unit was present during the execution of an Afghan family by a special forces officer named "Perk". Raben escapes, and two other members of the unit are murdered. Suspicion falls on senior military officers, including Raben's father-in-law, Colonel Jarnvig, and Major Søgaard.
Buch and his secretarial team, Carsten Plough and Karina Munk Jørgensen, uncover further evidence of the cover-up. Buch finds it impossible to convince his cabinet colleagues of the plot, and is pressured to continue scapegoating Muslims for the murders in order to assure the passage of a strict anti-terrorism law. Raben takes refuge in a church presided over by a former army chaplain, who tries to deter him from any further investigation of the crimes and urges him to give himself up. After Raben leaves, the chaplain's dying body is discovered by Lund, who pursues the perpetrator and is relieved that he does not take an easy opportunity of killing her.
Lund arranges for the exhumation of Per K. Møller, the Danish army officer known as Perk. Her investigation leads to nothing apart from that someone is still using Møller's identity. When Lund and Strange catch up with Raben, he calls out, "Perk". Strange shoots him. An injured Raben persists in accusing Strange of being the officer responsible for the massacre, yet it is later officially confirmed that he had left Afghanistan before the time of the killings.
Lund continues to be uneasy about Strange's alibis for the murders, but takes him with her to Afghanistan to investigate a new suspect, the brother of one of the soldiers killed under Raben's command. This also proves a dead end, but Lund's persistence results in the discovery of the bones of the Afghan civilians. Upon returning to Denmark, Lund meets her mother, who has had a premonition of Lund lying dead. Following a further search of a military barracks, suspicion falls on Captain Bilal the anti-Taliban Muslim who, when plans for the soldiers' murders are found, kidnaps Louise Raben. Her father, Colonel Torsten Jarnvig, and Raben lead Lund and Strange to Bilal who blows himself up before they are able to question him.
Strange volunteers to return Raben to the mental hospital, but Lund insists on driving them. On the way, they make a stop at the scene of Dragsholm's murder, where Lund points out to Strange the reasons why Bilal is unlikely to have been involved. Strange gives himself away by revealing a detail that only the murderer could know, and confesses to the murders before shooting Lund with her own gun, which he then plants on Raben. He phones the police and is about to shoot Raben when Lund hits him over the head. When Strange tries to retrieve his gun, Lund shoots him dead. The police arrive at the scene, she walks away, removing the bullet-proof vest she had been wearing.
- Inspector Sarah Lund: Sofie Gråbøl
- Chief Inspector Lennart Brix: Morten Suurballe
- Inspector Ulrik Strange: Mikael Birkkjær
- Justice Minister Thomas Buch: Nicolas Bro
- Prime Minister Gert Grue Eriksen: Kurt Ravn
- Colonel Torsten Jarnvig: Flemming Enevold
- Major Christian Søgaard: Carsten Bjørnlund
- Sergeant Jens Peter Raben: Ken Vedsegaard
- Louise Raben: Stine Prætorius
- Carsten Plough: Preben Kristensen
- Karina Munk Jørgensen: Charlotte Guldberg
- Erling Krabbe: Jens Jacob Tychsen
- Captain Said Bilal: Igor Radoslavjevic
- VPD Ruth Hedeby: Lotte Andersen
Episodes and ratings
|Episode||First broadcast Denmark (DR1)||Official TNS Gallup ratings||First broadcast UK (BBC Four)||Official BARB ratings|
|1||27 September 2009||1,702,000||19 November 2011||1,248,000|
|2||4 October 2009||1,696,000||19 November 2011||909,000|
|3||11 October 2009||1,479,000||26 November 2011||1,080,000|
|4||18 October 2009||1,677,000||26 November 2011||863,000|
|5||25 October 2009||1,658,000||3 December 2011||1,090,000|
|6||1 November 2009||1,505,000||3 December 2011||859,000|
|7||8 November 2009||1,575,000||10 December 2011||1,044,000|
|8||15 November 2009||1,609,000||10 December 2011||902,000|
|9||22 November 2009||1,561,000||17 December 2011||1,085,000|
|10||29 November 2009||1,735,000||17 December 2011||928,000|
Lund is now a Chief Inspector but has ambitions for a new lifestyle. As a parent she is struggling to repair her relationship with Mark. She has to cooperate working with a new Inspector Asbjørn Juncker and Mathias Borch of Special Branch when Emilie Zeuthen—9-year-old daughter of Robert Zeuthen—is kidnapped. Lund, Juncke and Borch hunt down the perpetrator while the government is on the verge of collapse. The Prime Minister, relying on Zeuthen's support for his economic policies, discovers that his dead son, Benjamin, may have been involved.
- Chief Inspector Sarah Lund: Sofie Gråbøl
- VPD Lennart Brix: Morten Suurballe
- Mathias Borch: Nikolaj Lie Kaas
- Inspector Asbjørn Juncker: Sigurd Holmen le Dous
- Robert Zeuthen: Anders W. Berthelsen
- Maja Zeuthen: Helle Fagralid
- Niels Reinhardt: Stig Hoffmeyer
- Prime Minister Kristian Kamper: Olaf Johannessen
- Kristoffer "Stoffer" Kamper: Jonatan Spang
- Karen Nebel: Trine Pallesen
- Birgit Eggert: Tammi Øst
- Deputy Public Prosecutor Tage Steiner: Peter Mygind
- Rosa Lebech: Sara-Marie Maltha
Episodes and ratings
|Episode||First broadcast Denmark (DR1)||Official TNS Gallup ratings||First broadcast UK (BBC Four)||Official BARB ratings|
|1||23 September 2012||1,678,000||17 November 2012||1,264,000|
|2||30 September 2012||1,746,000||17 November 2012||1,111,000|
|3||7 October 2012||1,516,000||24 November 2012||1,090,000|
|4||14 October 2012||1,463,000||24 November 2012||999,000|
|5||21 October 2012||1,644,000||1 December 2012||1,000,000|
|6||28 October 2012||1,703,000||1 December 2012||1,023,000|
|7||4 November 2012||1,706,000||8 December 2012||1,099,000|
|8||11 November 2012||1,708,000||8 December 2012||1,036,000|
|9||18 November 2012||1,773,000||15 December 2012||1,083,000 + 200,000 BBC HD|
|10||25 November 2012||1,981,000||15 December 2012||1,027,000 + 194,000 BBC HD|
Figures for the UK broadcast of episodes 1 – 8 do not include the ratings for BBC HD.
In the wake of the successful Wallander series, The Killing became another Scandinavian crime hit with British viewers when it was shown on BBC Four in the spring of 2011. Although subtitled, it attracted more viewers than Mad Men, scored audience appreciation figures of 94%, and has been described as "the best series currently on TV". The success has created an interest in all things Danish, and the female detective's Faroese jumper has been the subject of newspaper articles as well as becoming a sought after online item.
As well as the UK, DR also sold the series to a number of other broadcasters worldwide, and The Killing was eventually shown in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Russia and Spain with varying degrees of success. Producer Piv Bernth described the broad appeal of the show as "groundbreaking", and explained what she believed to be the root of its popularity:
"It's the first time you have a detective drama over 20 episodes – other series had one killing per episode. And we also have this three-plot structure – what does it [a murder] mean for a police investigator, what does it mean for the parents, what does it mean for the politicians. It's not just about finding the murderer. That's important, but it's not all."
- 2007: Norway on NRK1 (as Forbrytelsen)
- 2007: Finland on Yle Fem (as Brottet) and AVA (as Rikos)
- 2007: Faroe Islands on SvF (as Brotsgerðin)
- 2008: Sweden on SVT1 (as Brottet)
- 2008: Iceland on RÚV
- 2008: Germany on ZDF (as Kommissarin Lund: Das Verbrechen)
- 2009: Austria on ORF
- 2010: Belgium, France, Germany on ARTE (as The Killing)
- 2010: Australia on SBS One
- 2010: Belgium on Canvas
- 2011: United Kingdom on BBC Four (as The Killing)
- 2011: Russia on Channel One (as Убийство)
- 2011: Spain on AXN (as The Killing: Crónica de un asesinato)
- 2011: Portugal on AXN Black (as The Killing: Crónica de um assassinato)
- 2011: Poland on Ale Kino+ (as The Killing)
- 2012: Japan on Super! drama TV (as The Killing)
- 2012: Brazil on Globosat HD (as The Killing: História de Um Assassinato)
- 2012: Netherlands on Nederland 2 by the KRO (as The Killing)
- 2012: Hungary
- 2012: New Zealand on SoHo TV (as Forbrydelsen)
- 2012: Belgium, France, Germany on ARTE (as The Killing)
- 2012: Italy on RAI4 (as Killing)
- 2012: Croatia on HRT3 (as Ubojstvo)
- 2013: Estonia on ETV (as Kuritegu)
- 2013: Czech Republic on ČT2 (as Zločin)
- 2013: Greece on Mega Channel (as The Killing)
- 2013: Turkey on Dizimax Vice (as Forbrydelsen)
- 2013: Serbia on RTS1 (as Ubistvo)
- 2013: Taiwan on PTS (as The Killing)
- 2013: Latin America on AXN Central & South America (as The Killing: Crónica de un asesinato)
- 2013: Republic of Ireland on TG4 (as The Killing)
- 2014: Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan on BBC Persian (as Ghatl dar Kopenhag [Murder in Copenhagen])
- 2015: Slovenia on TV3 Medias (as Investigation)
Awards and nominations
The Killing has been awarded a number of awards and recognitions from various festivals and organisations from around the globe since it began in 2007. Because of the time lapse in air dates between countries, honours awarded to the first two series are spread out over an unusual number of years.
In the UK, the first series won the 2011 BAFTA award in the "Best International" category. It was also nominated for the Audience Award but lost to reality show The Only Way is Essex. The second series was again nominated for "Best International" in 2012, but lost out to fellow Danish programme Borgen.
|2008||International Emmys||Best Drama Series||The Killing||Nominated|
|Best Performance by an Actress||Sofie Gråbøl||Nominated|
|2010||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Outstanding International Producer for a Drama Series||Piv Bernth||Nominated|
|Outstanding European Producer for a Drama Series||Piv Bernth||Won|
|Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series||Nicolas Bro||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series||Sofie Gråbøl||Nominated|
|International Emmys||Best Drama Series||The Killing II||Nominated|
|2011||BAFTA Television Awards||Best International TV Series||The Killing||Won|
|Audience Award||The Killing||Nominated|
|Crime Thriller Awards UK||Best International TV Series||The Killing||Won|
|Best Actor||Lars Mikkelsen||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Sofie Gråbøl||Won|
|Best Supporting Actor||Bjarne Henriksen||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Ann Eleonora Jørgensen||Won|
|2012||Royal Television Society Programme Awards||International Award||The Killing||Nominated|
|BAFTA Television Awards||Best International||The Killing II||Nominated|
|Crime Thriller Awards UK||Best International TV Series||The Killing II||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Sofie Gråbøl||Nominated|
|2013||Monte-Carlo Television Festival||Outstanding European TV Drama Series||The Killing III||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actress in a TV Drama Series||Sofie Gråbøl||Won|
|Crime Thriller Awards UK||Best International TV Series||The Killing III||Won|
|Best Actress||Sofie Gråbøl||Nominated|
Subtitled programmes in the UK
Following both its critical and ratings success in the United Kingdom, the BBC began importing and broadcasting more subtitled programmes from a number of different countries. In 2012 the popular Danish drama Borgen and the more popular joint Swedish-Danish venture The Bridge both aired on BBC Four with similarly high viewing figures, while in the same year ITV3 also acquired the original TV2 series Those Who Kill. In late 2011 digital channel Sky Arts also broadcast the Italian series Romanzo Criminale, while FX bought the rights to popular French cop show Braquo.
Although BBC Four had shown subtitled dramas before, notably the Swedish version of Wallander and French police procedural Spiral, controller of the channel Richard Klein described The Killing as "a game-changer". Vicky Frost of The Guardian noted how it was The Killing which "paved the way for a wave of subtitled European crime dramas" appearing on UK television, while head of programming at FX Toby Etheridge also confirmed his belief that "The Killing proved it was possible [to successfully show subtitled drama]".
Instead of broadcasting the original series, a US remake of The Killing was produced by Fox Television Studios for the American cable network AMC. It premiered on 3 April 2011 and ran for two seasons before being cancelled on 27 July 2012. However, On 8 November 2012, it was confirmed that Fox Television Studios were in final negotiations with Netflix in order to continue the series for a third season. AMC, who had originally cancelled the show, was also included in part of the deal. The deal in question gives the network the privilege of airing the new episodes before they are hosted by Netflix in return for sharing any associated production costs with Netflix. The original US production team are expected to return. A fourth season, consisting of 6 episodes, was produced by and is available on Netflix.
On 8 Apr 2011, Sofie Gråbøl, the star of the Danish series, was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 programme Woman's Hour, when she explained the American remake was necessary because Americans "for some reason cannot read subtitles, or they don't want to." Gråbøl herself has made a guest appearance in one episode of the American show playing a minor role.
A remake of the series, titled Cinayet ("Murder"), was produced by Adam Film and Akbel Film for the Turkish TV network Kanal D. It premiered on 7 January 2014. Although 13 episodes were ordered, the show was cancelled after 5 episodes.
A novelization based on the first series and titled The Killing: Book One was published by Macmillan in 2012. The book was written by British author David Hewson. This was followed by The Killing: Book Two in January 2013, and The Killing: Book Three in February 2014.
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- This refers to the original date of broadcast on DR1 and DR HD.
- As collected by TNS Gallup. See TNS Gallup TV-Meter, TNS Gallup (Last visited 15 October 2012). (Danish)
- This refers to the original date of broadcast on BBC Four.
- As collected by BARB. See BARB, Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (last visited 1 July 2012).
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- Crimetimepreview: "Why The Killing is the best thing on television – 10 reasons" Retrieved 2011-03-21
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- Retrieved 2011-02-28
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- Andreeva, Nellie. "AMC And Netflix Near Deal To Resurrect 'The Killing'". Deadline. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
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- Esser, Andrea; Smith, Iain Robert; Bernal-Merino, Miguel Á., eds. (2016). Media Across Borders: Localising TV, Film and Video Games. London: Routledge. p. 226. ISBN 978-1-138-80945-1.
- "Cinayet Dizisi Yayından Kaldırıldı (Turkish)". 17 February 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
- Book Reviews (5 May 2012). "The Killing by David Hewson: review". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- The Killing 2 by David Hewson (ISBN 9781447208426)
- The Killing 3 by David Hewson (ISBN 9781447246237)
- The Killing at the Internet Movie Database
- The Killing on the BBC website Retrieved 2011-02-28
- Official Danish website of Forbrydelsen II Retrieved 2011-02-28