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.

30 thoughts on “The end of BBC4’s The Killing: crime drama at its very best

  1. Comment from CoolUnc which was left at another post, but I would like to reproduce here (please note the masterful avoidance of spoilers!)

    CoolUnc: Interestingly I had guessed right from very early on. Mind you there were times when plot twists made me me wonder if I had guessed correctly and I was almost swayed on more than one occasion. On the whole though, I am quite pleased with myself! Although of course it was easy for me solving the crime from the comfort my sofa. Would I ever have had the cool determination and steely pluck of Sarah Lund who entered the derelict warehouses of the Copenhagen waterside without even a flashlight for company? I think not! Over the past 20 weeks though I think I have fallen a teeny weeny bit in love with Lund. Just don’t tell my wife!

  2. Pingback: Linkfest « Scandinavian Crime Fiction

  3. What a great series this was – The Killing Series 1 – and it kept me enthralled for all of the 20 episodes. It was moody, with a touch of humour, twisted plot-lines and so much more. This really was edge of the seat stuff and for those who thought it was just too long, remember that it covered the whole gambit of not only the victims’ family but also local politics, corruption in high places, the families of police investigators and so much more. I cannot wait until Series 2 starts. I think this is a great alternative to British police drama and we should embrace more of this from the continent. John

    • hi john,
      totally agree with your comments,especially regarding the number of episodes.
      and how it justified 20 gripping shows,superb stuff.
      any idea when series 2 starts?

  4. I love this programme too
    I am deaf and I love the English subtitles
    They should show this programme on BBC1
    They are the best ever to watch except I love the Prime Suspect as well
    Will there be dvds selling the programme ?
    Cant wait to watch the Second Series

  5. I also loved it!!! Lund is brilliant, funny about her jumper that she never change I think is a sort of amulet…

  6. I will miss everything about this drama – its complexity, its requirement for absolute concentration, the well developed characters, the acting and its lack of high heels make-up and cleavage! I will particularly miss the actor who played Theis – I have never seen a person who get so much emotion out of the tiniest of facial movements! I might have to knit my own Lund style jumper to comfort me on a Saturday night. Can’t wait for series two. More intelligent drama please BBC4, subtitled or otherwise.

  7. Yes there are DVDs on the Series – it must be Series One – as I did a search on the internet and found a box set. I understand BBC 4 has bought Series 2 which consisists of 10 episodes and I can’t wait for it to be shown. Yes Lund is brilliant, tenancious and does give a damn about authority, just gets on a does the job. Pity about [slight spoiler removed :)] Agree about Theis, a piece of granite but with the occasional sly smile and he said so much without saying a word. At the end I was still left wondering …………………….. Can’t wait for Series 2 to come on.

  8. I was so impressed by, and involved in, The Killing, though I nearly did not watch any more after ep 1 as I thought the attack on/terror of the teenage girl was beyond the pale to show in that much detail. I still feel that, strongly. However, the rest of the story was superb and a great example of how crime fiction can be good popular fiction, and not rubbish that has to involve an endless series of additional bodies, etc.

    I have to admit that I guessed the killer on the first entrance (and why), and I was right. Even so, the suspense was maintained well. There were quite a few loose ends but the basic plot and motivation were solid.

    I loved Lund and totally identify with her. By the end she was stripped of everything, family, friends, colleagues, job — but as someone at the Guardian blog pointed out, the last shot of her (the overhead) is of her walking out into the light.

  9. Just caught up with the shattering ending. I guessed (and it was a guess) who did it but doubted many times. Brilliant and heartbreaking when [spoiler removed!]. I loved the political plot and thought it masterly the way [spoiler removed!!]. So many ways in which it was the best. Series 2 will be up against it and I’ll try the American version of 1 if it’s available here but I just can’t imagine that it will come near.

  10. I don’t think the American version will come anywhere near this. Sadly when the Americans turn or adapt a perfectly good programme to their particular taste then it is totally spoilt. They have crass tv programmes dummed down to its lowest form. Bring on more European murder mystery/drama and of course excellent material from the BBC.

  11. What a shame that some of us missed episode 18 because someone at the BBC doesn’t know the difference between AM and PM! At 10 AM (this MORNING) Sunday 3 April, I went to download episode 18, which had been shown on the BBC website as being “Available until 12.59PM on Sunday 3 April 2011”. But it wasn’t there! Presumably it had been removed at 12.59AM, ie 12 hours before the publicised time of 12.59PM. I think it is totally unacceptable to remove this episode 12 hours early because the wrong expiry time was given, and would like to know what the BBC will do to rectify this error.

    • Oh good grief! How incredibly frustrating! I’d recommend contacting the BBC directly (this is an individual blog, with no formal connection to the BBC). There should be an email address / contact details on the BBC pages. Good luck!

    • BBC4 hasn’t announced the date yet to my knowledge – just a general statement that it’ll be shown in autumn 2011 – but I’ll post as soon as I hear.

  12. Fantastic drama. There is an english version on another channel but I much prefer to watch the one on bbc 4.
    It’s a long time since a series has had me so enthralled and looking forward to the next episode.
    I hope I see more from the writer of this drama. And well done to the bbc for bringing it to us.

    • Thanks for your comment, Maria – I’m interested to hear that you prefer the original to its US counterpart. The second Danish series will be on in this autumn. The dates should be announced soon by the BBC.

  13. Unfortunatly I have missed the last two episodes – so very frustrating; does anyone know where I might be able to download them?

  14. The first thing you think when he saw the American version (unlike what happens with other remakes) is that you have not lost anything by not having seen the original, that is, no one has the feeling of missing something.
    Both are very interesting and share many things, but there are also many differences. And, interestingly, people with a predilection for one or the other, but do not hate or despise the other.
    If we look at the scores of FilmAffinity or imdb, for example, we see that the American version vece by a few tenths, surpassing both the 7 or 7.5.
    I particularly I opted for Danish. I think the depth of the characters is somewhat higher in the European and more credible. But both are highly recommended.

    • Thanks for this really interesting comparison of the viewing experience of the two versions. I haven’t seen the American one myself (and not sure that I will do as I’m such a fan of the original), but it’s good to hear that it’s a quality production that’s been faithful to the feel of the Danish.

  15. Just watched the boxset of series one and found it thoroughly enjoyable. Suspenseful and intriguing from the word go. So many different suspects-remember the schoolboys way back?
    I did however guess who it was early on, don’t know why, just had a feeling.
    Overall though, a special show.
    Have to go though, off to by series 2.
    RIP XXX [name removed by Mrs P!!!].

  16. Have just finished watching series one in its entirety-crissy present-but am still unclear about how nanna birk larssen was in the political parties flat. How did she get there and who violated her,I knew it would be [XXX] all along but how did they get into the flat-I obviously missed something here but there were quite a few late nights involved with watching the whole thing over four night….anyone???

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