Tak for minderne, Sarah Lund*

I’ve been in denial about the end of Forbrydelsen/The Killing, the ground-breaking Danish crime drama that’s enthralled millions of Brits over the course of three series (and got impressively large numbers of us over our foreign-language/subtitling phobias).

But now it’s over: the last ever episodes have aired and Sarah Lund has made her final foray into those those dark, subterranean places with just her trusty torch and woolly jumper for back-up. I will greatly miss her brave, tenacious presence on our screens, not to mention the human flaws that have made her so very interesting and real.

As ever, there will be no spoilers about the denouement here – but I will say the following:

  • I thought the final two episodes absolutely made this series.
  • In particular, they brought its central themes beautifully to fruition:                                   – the limitations of Old Testament-style justice on the one hand, and of the police      and judicial system on the other                                                                                                    – the corrosive influence of money and power                                                                             – the ways in which parents and society repeatedly fail their children
  • The ending is incredibly rich and powerful, and felt surprising in some ways and very fitting in others.

Series 1 of The Killing remains the gold-standard in crime drama for me. This 20-episode investigation, which movingly explored the impact of a single murder on an ordinary family, set a benchmark for excellence that’s very hard to beat. But series 3 has come close, because it allows us to see all three series as one entity, and to recognise that above all, it is Lund’s story that they tell. I will think of them as the ‘Lund trilogy’ from now on.

Vicky Frost’s excellent Guardian blog remains the place to go for an in-depth discussion of the plot (with LOTS of spoilers). There are also new interviews with Sofie Gråbøl in The Telegraph about her feelings on leaving the show and with Søren Sveistrup in Scotland’s Sunday Mail about why it had to end when it did. For all Mrs. Peabody posts on The Killingclick here or on link in the menu above.

*Thanks for the memories, Sarah Lund.


19 thoughts on “Tak for minderne, Sarah Lund*

  1. I have not seen the third series but hope to in the near future. You have delivered a fine tribute and obituary here, Mrs P. I look forward to watching it when I can. All the more now I also think of it as Lund’s trilogy. Thank you!

  2. I wasn’t expecting that. Not the outcome, Ms Lund has more than proven her tenacity with those jumpers. No I wasn’t expecting my visceral reaction toward the two final shows. I think I am more embroiled in US farce than I thought I was, as this was just dark till the end. No misty escapism from life for me.

    I am both gutted and pleased that this series has come to the end, whilst it never once insulted our intelligence. Long live forbyl-whatever-its-called.

    Thanks Mrs P for your posts.

    J x

    • Thanks, Jo! It took me a long, long time to get to sleep last night, as I kept replaying the last few minutes in my head and examining the fallout from all angles. It’ll stay with with us for a good long while, I imagine.

      I feel like you: gutted and pleased that the series went out when it did, and that it was intelligent and spirited right until the end.

  3. Bereft! What are we to do without The Killing on a Saturday night? I thought the ending was superb. A few words and some well chosen, beautifully filmed images was enough to keep me awake pondering power, corruption, gender politics and families. Bring on the next series of The Bridge, can’t wait!

    • Thanks, Tracey. Bereft is right. I’m starting to feel it more and more as the day goes on 😦 And yes – very interesting minimalist approach to dialogue at the end (often one character speaking and the other largely silent). I’ve just been on iPlayer and checked – Sarah says nothing for the final five minutes: everything conveyed with looks. What a fantastic actress she is.

  4. It was a brilliant series, (as were the first two) with a great ending. I think there will always be the never ending question though. ‘Whatever happened to Sarah Lund’?

  5. Wonderful and terrible and Sarah as always pressing her own self destruct button to prevent her from committing to intimacy and/or happiness. Was the ending the result of some horrific experience in her own childhood? Ok I know she is just a character

    • Thanks, Pamela. Self-destruct, but an element of self-sacrifice here too? It felt like something had shifted in terms of her own ability to connect, but was then overtaken by larger events and concerns.

  6. I agree completely with your review.

    For me Series 1 was an incomparable story about the effects of one crime on a family and on wider society; I think it would have stood as good drama even without Lund, but her character elevated the whole thing to the highest level.

    Series 2 was a disappointment, but that’s not surprising, it was still worth watching.

    At first I thought Series 3 was just treading previously well worn paths, but in it’s exploration of Sarah Lund’s character it became fascinating. I was afraid she would die at the end because I’ve grown to love and admire her through series 3 so when she went off into the night to fight on I was greatly relieved.

    It was then I realised that she has become a classic hero, fated to travel alone through life righting wrongs and even if she never makes a re-appearance I’m sort of comforted just knowing she’s out there!!

    • Thanks, fadedglories! Absolutely agree, although perhaps she’s even a tragic hero, with those convincingly depicted flaws.

      What I’d like to do at some point is see the whole lot again, back to back, just to watch Lund’s development and get a fuller sense of her whole story. I don’t think I’m quite ready yet, but it’s a definite project for the future.

  7. The Killing has been a delight throughout, with its intelligent script and believable characters. Unfortunately, I felt the end was a letdown. It was so unexpected, and my wife and I kept coming back to it being out of character, and therefore, ultimately, unbelievable.

    • Thanks, Mike. I had slightly mixed feelings about the ending myself for the reasons you give, but perhaps we are to understand it as a kind of no-going-back ‘tipping point’? Perhaps the conventional way of doing things wasn’t viable any more…?

  8. Hi Mrs. Peabody,

    I thought Mark’s “loss and gain”, so to speak, was in beautiful synchronicity, almost a round ending. Great minimalist approach to the last 5 minutes, as you noticed, and I was as shocked to see both the PM and Zeuthen’s final reactions.

    “Was the ending the result of some horrific experience in her own childhood?”. I thought about this too, more so when the victim’s father asked her why she had such interest in the case. I’ve always had a gut feeling Sarah’s deepest motives root back to her own childhood. Maybe not as a victim, but as someone close to one, someone who wants to set things right in her adulthood, when she has the means.

    Anyway, we have a character whose history will be completed in our minds for many years to come, and that’s one of the shows greatest achievements. Can’t wait to get hold of the BluRay box set.

    *Giving into Forbrydelsen’s withdrawal syndrome*.

  9. Thanks, chinchillas. You and Pamela have really got me thinking about Sarah’s motive and its origins. When it comes right down to it, we know next to nothing about Sarah’s early years, and we’re not helped by Sarah’s disinclination to talk about herself and her feelings in the present. That’s quite a clever move on the part of the creators – they have left a great deal open for us to ponder and fill in with our own thoughts and theories.

    I saw Sarah’s actions as being related more to her disillusionment with the system and the state, but you could very well be right too – perhaps it was a heady combination of factors that led to *that* moment.

    Mark’s ‘loss and gain’ – agree with you totally – and beautifully put!

    *Forbrydelsen withdrawal syndrome raging*

  10. Pingback: Mrs Peabody’s 2012 review | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

  11. Hi, I too am a huge fan of this series. I have watched both season 1&2 (with english subtitles), it was outstanding. I am desperately trying to find season 3 with subtitles. If anyone can tell me where I can watch this it would be greatly appreciated…Thanks D

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