Tantalising glimpse of The Killing 3

The Danish broadcaster DR has released a mini-trailer for the third and apparently final series of Forbrydelsen, in which Sarah and the team investigate the death of a young sailor and dodgy dealings in the financial world.

Click here to view. No Danish required! [Update Sept 2012: link now leads through to DK Forbrydelsen website but the trailer is no longer available.]

There’s no word as yet about when the series will make it to BBC4. Still a little while, I would guess … Can’t wait!

Reflections on BBC4’s The Bridge / Bron / Broen

Following the utterly gripping and nail-biting finale of The Bridge, it’s time for a few reflections on this ground-breaking Danish-Swedish production.

In line with Mrs P. policy, there are NO FINALE SPOILERS (if that’s what you’re after, do head over to The Guardian‘s ‘Bridge blog‘).

The Bridge vs The Killing

Before The Bridge aired in the UK, a number of people who’d seen the series said they’d liked it even more than The Killing. Although I’ve enjoyed The Bridge hugely, I’m not yet prepared to go that far: the first series of The Killing remains my top crime-drama viewing experience and Sarah Lund still edges it over Saga and Martin’s (admittedly great) investigative duo.

This preference is mainly due to the depth of characterisation in The Killing. In the first series especially, the focus was on a small number of characters whom you got to know very well, whereas The Bridge had a larger cast and, with the exception of Saga and Martin, had less time to dig deep. Compare, for example, the picture we were able to build up of Nanna Birk Larsen as the murder victim in The Killing 1 and those of the politician / prostitute at the beginning of The Bridge (merely the first of many). And there were a number of interesting characters who featured heavily in early plot-lines of The Bridge, but then simply faded away. Their disappearing acts may be a reflection of the reality of investigations – people make their contribution or are ruled out as suspects and then the team moves on – but some of their stories felt incomplete and I’d liked to have known more.

Fabulous biting humour

Those minor quibbles aside, The Bridge was a top-notch Scandi treat that had me gripped throughout, and became increasingly assured as time went on. The last four episodes were absolutely cracking.

One particularly fine quality was apparent right from the start of the series: a biting and at times splendidly irreverent humour. Much of this was generated by the interplay between the odd-ball Danish-Swedish investigative couple, and also provided a way of managing the audience’s reaction to Saga as a character on the autistic spectrum (we’re invited to see her behaviour as ‘endearingly odd’ rather than ‘threateningly weird’). There’s been some debate about the suitability of this strategy, but I felt it worked extremely well, and that the writers kept the balance between the humour and the more serious elements of the drama just right. Episodes 7 and 8 were superb in this respect.

Hey Martin…was it something I said?!

In sum, The Bridge is high-quality crime drama firmly located in the tradition of socially-engaged Scandinavian crime fiction, with a wonderful pair of detectives and more twists than fusilli pasta. If you haven’t yet seen it, you’re in for a treat.

For earlier posts on The Bridge, see here and here.

And, for one last time, a link to the wonderful title sequence, featuring the sublime ‘Hollow Talk’ by the Choir of Young Believers.

SoundCloud link to the music from Forbrydelsen / The Killing

For the many of us who have wondered where to find the wonderfully atmospheric music from the Danish crime drama Forbrydelsen / The Killing, information is finally at hand – thanks to blog readers Viv and Andrew.

From Viv I’ve learned that the soundtrack is by the Danish film composer Franz Bak. In addition to Forbrydelsen I, he’s also scored the music for Forbrydelsen II, an episode of Branagh’s Wallander series (‘The Fifth Woman’), and the American version of The Killing.

A large number of his tracks are available on the Franz Bak website (see right-hand column) and on SoundCloud (Playlist 3). If you’re in search of that haunting title music, it’s the Forbrydelsen Montage…

It doesn’t look like tracks can be downloaded or purchased (if you know otherwise please let us know), but at least they can now be enjoyed in one place via computer. Andrew adds that lots of Franz Bak’s music is also available on Spotify.

Thanks again to Viv and Andrew for passing this information on – it’s eased the pain of returning to work tomorrow considerably!

Double celebration…and wishing you a Happy 2012!

Today Mrs P. celebrates not falling over while ice-skating and reaching the milestone of 70,000 hits on the Mrs. Peabody Investigates blog 🙂

To close out the year, here are two lists: 5 popular Mrs P. posts from the 60 published in 2011, and Mrs Peabody’s top 5 reads of the year.

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5 of the most popular Mrs P. posts of 2011:

1. BBC4’s The Killing Series 1 [Danish crime TV]

This was the first of a number of Mrs P. posts on the Danish drama Forbrydelsen, whose instant popularity took everyone by surprise (not least BBC4). If you haven’t seen it yet, make doing so one of your resolutions for 2012. Outstanding.

2. BBC1’s Zen [British / Italian crime TV]

My review of the TV series based on Michael Dibdin’s ‘Aurelio Zen’ novels, starring the delectable Rufus Sewell. The BBC, somewhat oddly, decided not to commission a second series.

ZEN (high res)

3. Crime novels that make you want to rant: Philip Kerr’s Field Grey [British / German crime fiction]

This was a lament or a rant, depending on your point of view, which examined Philip Kerr’s seventh Bernie Gunther novel in the context of the previous six books in the series. The eighth, Prague Fatale, which I have yet to read, was released in October 2011.

4. Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Mercy [Danish crime fiction]

A review of one of my standout novels of the year, and the first in this Danish author’s Department Q series. The second, Disgrace, is due out with Penguin in June 2012.

jacket image for Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen - large version

5. Matsumoto’s Inspector Imanishi Investigates [Japanese crime fiction]

This was one of my early posts, and remains a favourite – a review of a Japanese classic from 1961, which still holds up extremely well today.

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Mrs Peabody’s top 5 reads of 2011 (in alphabetical order as I can’t bring myself to rank them):

1. Jussi Adler-Olsen, Mercy (2011 [first published in 2008])

Danish. A bravura start to the Department Q series: powerful, gripping and moving in equal measure. Features a strong and compelling female protagonist  5 stars

jacket image for Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen - large version

2. Jan Costin Wagner, Silence (2011 [2007])

German author / Finnish setting. The second novel in the Kimmo Joentaa series. An absorbing police procedural and a sensitive portrayal of grief  5 stars

3. Sam Hawken, The Dead Women of Juárez (2011)

American. An outstanding crime novel set in the corrupt Mexican border city of Juárez, infamous for its high rate of ‘feminicidios’ (female homicides) 5 stars  

4. Ernesto Mallo, Needle in a Haystack (2010 [2006])

Argentinian. An excellent crime novel, which paints a searing portrait of 1970s Argentina under military rule  5 stars

5. Shuichi Yoshida, Villain (2011 [2007])

Japanese. A gripping dissection of a murder and its repercussions  5 stars

*****

Many thanks to everyone for reading and – most importantly – for contributing in such an illuminating and generous way to the discussions on this blog in 2011.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year and all the very best for 2012!

She’s Got the Look: BBC4’s Forbrydelsen / The Killing Series 2

The first two episodes of Forbrydelsen / The Killing Series 2 have finally aired on BBC4. Anticipation had been building over the past week (Sarah Lund on the cover of The Radio Times!), and as I took up my position on the sofa at 8.58pm (complete with patterned Lund tribute jumper), I was practically beside myself with excitement.

Oh! What a wonderfully tense opening! Ah! The dulcet tones of that Neptun soundtrack! Ooh! It’s so good to see you, Sarah, and to hear your funky Danish again!

Series 2 opens a couple of years after the end of the traumatic Nanna Birk Larsen case. Lund has been demoted to an administrative job checking papers in the back of beyond -a mind-numbing exile that makes no use of her exceptional investigative skills. But following the bizarre murder of lawyer Anne Dragsholm, she is recalled to Copenhagen by former boss Lennart Brix, swaps her unflattering POLITI uniform for her traditional chunky-knit jumper, and resumes her rightful role as a police detective (‘this is what I do best’). 

In keeping with The Killing’s status as a police procedural, there’s a continued focus on Lund’s interaction (or non-interaction) with the rest of the investigative team. The wonderfully-monikered Ulrik Strange appears to be the new Meyer (I’m still devastated by the way that partnership turned out), and then there’s Lund’s granite-faced boss Brix, who played a rather ambiguous role in Series 1 (and who is one of the few characters apart from Sarah’s family returning for Series 2). We’re also re-entering the murky world of Danish politics. The (rather endearing) new Justice Minister Thomas Buch is in the midst of complex cross-party negotiations on the introduction of new anti-terrorism laws, and in another plot strand, we see Raben, a former soldier, hoping to be reunited with his wife and young son following his discharge from a psychiatric unit. The connections between the murder and the worlds of high politics and the military are soon, of course, to become the subject of Lund’s sustained investigative interest. 

Sarah Lund and Ulrik Strange (has anyone told him about Meyer?)

What I  particularly enjoyed in these opening episodes was seeing Lund back in her natural habitat – the crime scene. Initially unsure of herself and her abilities following her enforced absence, we see her gradually grow in confidence and take ownership of the investigation. And what’s striking throughout the two episodes is the repeated close-up shots of Lund simply looking, her gaze sweeping across a crime scene, suspect’s house or military office, and continually processing and storing information. As I noted in an earlier post, The Killing frequently references a trope associated with hard-boiled crime fiction – the ‘power of the investigative eye’. It’s all about ‘the look’: looking / seeing / thinking / making links and arriving at an understanding of the complex truth of the crime. Lund looks for and sees things in a way no one else does (be it a bit of cellophane, an ornament, items of furniture, a corpse or a photograph). I absolutely love this focus on the process of detection and on Lund’s intelligence. As ever, it’s a pleasure to see a supremely skilled policewoman on our screens.

So that’s it – the sofa’s now booked every Saturday at 9.00 for the next few weeks (with apologies to the footballing fans in the family). Can’t wait to see more!

Further links

The first two episodes are available on BBC iPlayer for a limited time.

Vicky Frost’s excellent episode-by-episode blog of The Killing returns. Her posts discuss each installment in minute detail and so inevitably contain spoilers. You have been warned!

Guardian Q&A with Sophie Gråbøl.

A short Radio Times piece on translating and subtitling The Killing 2 – with a focus on the particular difficulties presented by expletives. I do hope they haven’t toned down the language too much, given the progamme’s gritty style.

Radio Times: knit your own Sarah Lund jumper.

Radio Times: TV’s top women cops

AT LAST! Start date of The Killing 2 confirmed by BBC

Mrs Peabody’s review of the opening episodes of The Killing 2 is now available here

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After months of (mostly) patient waiting on our part, and a little bit of uncertainty, the start date of the second series of Forbrydelsen / The Killing has been confirmed.

Yes finally! Sarah and her jumpers are back on…

BBC4, SATURDAY 19. NOVEMBER 2011, 9.00-11.00pm

(not 12. Nov as previously reported)

This information comes via the BBC Media Centre.

It’s a 10 episode series and the first two episodes will be shown back to back (thanks to Peter for this info!), which probably means the whole series will be aired over 5 weeks. 

And here’s an excerpt from the BBC’s description of the series to set the scene: “It’s been two years since former detective Sarah Lund was divested of her investigative role and transferred to a low-key job in the country, but when the body of a female lawyer is found murdered in macabre and puzzling circumstances, Lund’s former boss at Copenhagen police HQ finds that he has no choice but to call her back in to assist with the investigation.” More here…

By the way, there’s a lovely interview with Sophie Grabol on Newsnight (31. October 2011), in which she discusses how Sarah Lund’s character challenges gender stereotypes.

BBC4 starts repeat of Forbrydelsen / The Killing on Sunday 21 August 2011

For those of you who have yet to see Forbrydelsen, the original Danish production of The Killing, your moment has come! 

BBC4 starts repeating the series this Sunday at 10 o’clock. There are five two-hour episodes being shown per week (20 episodes in all), which promises to be a pretty intensive viewing experience, but if you haven’t yet sampled this superlative crime drama, I very much recommend that you do. It’s even quite a tempting prospect for those of us who caught the series the first time round…  

You can read my review of the first episodes here.

An added bonus: Sunday’s showing of The Killing is preceded at 9.00 by a repeat of Timeshift’s Nordic Noir – The Story of Scandinavian Crime Fiction.

For those of you into Italian crime drama, BBC4 is also repeating an Inspector Montalbano two-parter, Excursion to Tindari. It starts tonight, Saturday at 9pm. And there’s another chance to catch Timeshift’s Italian Noir – The Story of Italian Crime, on Tuesday at 11pm. Molto bene!

The Killing – BBC4 Series 2 Trailer

For some reason, I’m particularly missing the wondrousness that is The Killing at the moment.

BBC4 has thoughtfully supplied a glimpse of autumn’s Series 2 to allieviate my withdrawal symptoms. I never thought I’d be so happy to hear Danish! 

‘It’s good to see you again…’

Note: BBC4 rates the clip as suitable for 16+ only.

Pssst! No word from BBC4 as yet, but there was an article in The Guardian the other day (about jumpers!), which referenced Sarah Lund as a style icon and let slip a start date of mid-November for The Killing 2.

See http://www.guardian.co.uk/fashion/2011/oct/18/jumpers

 

BBC4’s The Killing – BAFTA International Winner 2011

A quick post in celebration of The Killing’s BAFTA win last night.

This low-budget Danish crime drama beat off stiff competition from Mad Men, Glee and Boardwalk Empire to take the International Prize for 2011. There couldn’t have been a more deserving winner in my view: a cracking day for quality Danish and European crime drama.

Lovely footage below of the award and a brief backstage interview with Piv Bernth (producer), Sophie Grabol (Sarah Lund), Soren Svelstrup (writer) and Birger Larsen (lead director).

(If the arrow button doesn’t take you through directly, just click on the ‘Watch on YouTube’ link that appears. Tak!)

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For other Mrs. Peabody posts on this programme, click on ‘The Killing’ tag (bottom right-hand side of page). No spoilers 🙂

The end of BBC4’s The Killing: crime drama at its very best

Mrs Peabody’s review of the first two episodes is available here.

So BBC4’s The Killing has finished. Twenty hours of superb crime drama, which had 500,000 of us gripped for two hours every single week, aired its last two episodes last night.

The Killing maintained its suspense and quality in a quite remarkable fashion over each of its 20 episodes. In Sarah Lund, it gave us a gritty, obsessive and sometimes flawed investigator, who won our hearts with her single-minded determination and her jumpers. And last night, it delivered a nail-biting and utterly gripping denouement that was Shakespearian in its tragedy and pathos. We ended, with perfect circularity, in the woods where we started Nanna’s story – one last, lovely touch. 

In line with the policy of Mrs. Peabody Investigates, no spoilers are given here. But if you would like to know whodunnit and to read some cogent analysis of the last two epiosodes, the place to go is Vicky Frost’s excellent blog at The Guardian. I might add that my guess at the murderer was completely wrong (and many others on Twitter had smugly got it right). At some point, I’ll be watching the whole 20 episodes again in the knowledge of who committed the murder – which I’m sure will be an equally rewarding viewing experience.

Lund and Meyer, we’ll miss you more than you’ll ever know. Already looking forward to Series 2 later this year.

31 March: Lund makes the cover of G2! Full article available here.