• The Killing (Danish: Forbrydelsen, meaning The Crime) is a BAFTA Award winning and Emmy nominated Danish crime TV series produced by Danmarks Radio. Each series follows the police investigation of one specific case, day by day, with a one-hour episode covering 24 hours of the investigation. As of 2012, there have been two series, with a third in production. There has been an American remake of the first series.
• The first series consists of 20 one-hour episodes that follow the police investigation into the murder of a young woman, from its commencement on 3 November through to its conclusion on 22 November.
• Detective Inspector Sarah Lund is looking forward to her last day with the Copenhagen police department. She is due to move to Sweden with her fiancé and transfer to the Swedish police, but everything changes when a 19-year-old woman, Nanna Birk Larsen, disappears only to be found raped and brutally murdered. Along with her colleague, Detective Inspector Jan Meyer, Sarah is forced to head the investigation as it soon becomes clear that she and Meyer are chasing a very intelligent and dangerous murderer.
• Over twenty days, the complex plot interweaves the story of the actual investigation; the pressures on the family suffering their loss; a hard-fought, vicious mayoral election campaign involving a crusading candidate who seems to be linked to the murder; the strong whiff of political corruption; the changing dynamics of the relationships between Lund and several characters she works with, including her boss, who is removed from duty, to be replaced by a new man who, at first, doesn’t trust her, but who then puts his faith in her; the fragile state of the relationship between Lund and her son and Lund and her fiancee.
• Sarah Lund is Deputy Superintendent at Police Headquarters in Copenhagen. Her level head and strong sense of intuition have earned her the esteem of her colleagues, who will be sad to see her leave when she moves from Denmark to remote Sigtuna, outside Stockholm, with Swedish boyfriend Bengt and young son Mark (from a previous relationship). Sarah, Bengt and Mark are in the process of moving when the murder investigation forces Sarah to postpone her plans and stay in Copenhagen to deal with the case. Her obsessive nature leads to the break-up of her relationship, the harassment of several innocent suspects, her removal from the investigation (and reinstatement later), the murder of her partner and, at the end, it appears she has lost her job – although her new boss, recognising her investigative ability and the value of her intuition, brings her on board for another investigation for series two…
• Mise-en-scene – the warm colours seem to have been desaturated to give the show a bleak look to reflect the brutal nature of the crime; this is heightened by the often gloomy, wet weather and the darkened buildings that a lot of the action takes place in – the scene where Meyer is killed, for example. The opening scene, pre- titles sequence à la CSI features a scantily clad young woman being pursued through the woods at night.
• Many of the typical tropes of police shows are present: colleagues arguing; colleagues being supportive; conflict with superiors; interviews with suspects; suspecting the wrong person – several times, to keep the plot’s momentum going; dead ends and red herrings, such as the arrest of the politician and the schoolteacher, foot and car chases, shootings and killings; a maverick cop whose private life and family suffer; colleagues weighing up the evidence; use of forensics; revelation of the actual killer at the end – and it turns out that it is someone the audience is familiar with and a former suspect.