Friday, 8 February 2013

The Killing II

The Killing II, the sequel to The Killing - not unnaturally given its title - offers us further insights into how dark and difficult it is to be Scandinavian.

Only two of the original cast return for this series of ten programmes (half the length of the original): Sarah Lund, the heroine, and her boss, Brix, who is improbably tall and is having a decidedly unpassionate fling with his boss, a woman who bears a startling resemblance to Carina Trimingham, Chris Huhne's AC/DC attention whore on the side.

The writers decided to make up for the shorter length of the piece by cramming more bodies into it. I lost count of how many snuff it, but it's enough to get the characters puffing away like a steam locomotive. One of the things I liked about the first series was its edginess. The main male character was as morose as your average Hong Kong teenager, and like his Asian counterpart he smoked 40 a day. This time round it took the producers until Episode 7 to shake off the shackles of political correctness, something which in general the Danes do well, after which they make up for lost time as nearly everybody starts lighting up.

Speaking of political correctness, I don't know if it had anything to do with the palaver over the cartoons of Mohammed a few years back, but this series was hamstrung from the start by the fact that the writers had decided to spice up their tried-and-tested formula of two main stories (one homicidal, the other political) running side by side by giving the murders an Islamic connection, including the almost obligatory trip to Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

This decision seriously weakened the drama because you just knew from the start that, whatever the weight of the circumstantial evidence, the towel-heads couldn't have done it. Imagine an Agatha Christie where half the characters can be ruled out ab initio and you get an idea of the deleterious effect on the suspense front.

So, come on you Vikings. When you come round to making Killing IV, give us a surprise: let the murderer be the black lesbian convert to Islam. Or even Carina Trimingham...

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