Words: James Clarke
Mørke mord voldtægt undersøgelse. Those are just four heart-warming Danish words I haven’t been able to understand until recently. I’ve also developed an intense admiration for people with massive bags under their eyes, forgotten how much I miss smoking indoors and have a man crush on overpriced female knitwear. I’m still able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning without wanting to stab myself in the tits, though.
This has all been brought on by ‘The Killing’, and yes I’m sure you’ve probably already read about it, or watched a bit of it, or been told to watch it by one of those annoying types who loudly rue the demise of Deadwood, falsely claim they watched The Wire when it was on TV and snort in derision at anyone foolish enough to suggest that Brian Cranston in Breaking Bad isn’t the current undisputed chieftain of TV characters. People like me in fact.
For those of you who’ve been fortunate to escape having arseholes lambasting you for not watching things because you have some semblance of a life, fret no more because we’re here for you. The Killing is a crime drama currently on BBC 4. It’s managed to pick up a devoted and thoroughly rewarded fan-base out of those loyal enough to stick with it for what it is, a dark, slow paced, subtitled journey into the dark heart of a murder that reaches into the lives of all involved and causes things to curdle horribly.
I won’t lie; it’s not a particularly easy watch. It’s never sunny in Copenhagen, I’m fairly sure that nobody smiles unless they’re trying to convince someone that they’re OK when they really aren’t, and every time anybody thinks that some kind of resolution has been found, they get a door slammed in their face or receive some kind of thrashing, professionally, emotionally; sometimes physically.
Its bleakness has led me to realise that I can’t watch it in the daytime, or in fact when I want to do anything with my time other than sit transfixed to a screen with a solitary strand of saliva slowly trickling out of the corner of my mouth slopping loosely onto my lap. I attempted to watch it in a moment of boredom on a Sunday afternoon the other week, but one look at the worn face of the superb Ann Jorgensen, along with the promise of an impending bollock crushing week at work was simply too much for me. I crumbled, I broke down, I went out.
No, you must watch it at night, and preferably on your own so you can concentrate. You’ll need to. Alliances are made and broken, red herrings are tossed around like smelly confetti and questions are asked of everyone; the audience, the actors and the characters.
But that’s not to say you’re going to find The Killing too traumatic to watch. You’ll be too addicted to worry about any of that, too busy enjoying the detectives be grudgingly paired together and doggedly doing their job. You’ll be watching them continuously pull on the thread, first out of a need to prove themselves and because it’s what they do, and then, increasingly, because they find that they care.
Because that’s what this show is. It’s about plans unravelling and about how one event can cause everything to drift. The family whose plans to move onward and upward are destroyed as they’re ripped apart; the detective who watches her relationship and new life disappear, the politician building for a better Copenhagen who looks like he could lose everything. Nothing is safe.
It’s great, logical, well made TV and it doesn’t cram verbiose procedure and dialogue into your mouth like a massive fucking chocolate éclair, expecting you to swallow it whole because, you know, “you’re really intelligent and we totally respect you as a viewer” Hello David Simon, hello Aaron Sorkin. Yeah I said it, sometimes you guys can go fuck yourselves.
No, The Killing is entertainment, it’s dark and it’s unapologetic and it’s deadpan unabashed cool. And if you don’t have a crush on at least one of the characters (or a jumper) by the end of it then you’re pretty much dead inside and I’m not surprised you enjoyed it you sick bastard. It was made in 2007 so we’re all actually way behind on this so kudos to the Beeb. Watch it before the American remake wipes its arses on our beautiful pale faces. Yes.