The problem with sequels is that bigger is not necessarily better. It’s alas a problem that the second outing for Sarah Lund, the jumper-clad Danish detective has. The body count here (not counting [spoiler]) is seven in ten episodes, whereas the original had three in twenty. However, it does not stop The Killing II living up to its prequel.
So, it’s two years since the ending of the previous story. Sarah Lund has been basically sacked and sent off to do passport control at an obscure Danish port. Troels Hartmann, one assumes, is busy being Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, but we hear nothing of him.
When a lawyer is found murdered in Memorial Park in Copenhagen, the police initially suspect her husband – until a video apparently from Islamic extremists turns up on the internet. The only person who can solve the case (which says something about the Danish police if it does) is none other than Sarah Lund, especially when former Danish soldiers start being killed, half of a dog tag left by their body. Meanwhile, new Justice Minister Thomas Buch (who does some great comic relief at times, especially when drunk) tries to find out just what was going on with his predecessor and Afghanistan veteran Jens Peter Raben escapes from prison…
Basically, we’ve got a serial killer drama. I am starting to find serial killers more than a little clichéd and frequently find myself wishing that a moratorium on them in TV dramas would be implemented. I doubt that’ll happen though. A number of the old tropes get trotted out here – including the climax, where it was pretty obvious that [spoiler] was not actually [spoiler] (but it’ll sting in the morning). I spotted the Afghanistan connection nearly straight off and also that Sarah was right about [spoiler] (although I didn’t see she was wrong about [spoiler]).
The political ducking-and-diving as Buch discovers that something is rotten… no, that’s so bad a gag I’m not going to use it… is enjoyable and very twisty, particularly the very downbeat ending – like the first season, justice is not fully done. The main crime itself is well plotted and has plenty of neat twists and turns too. Mind you, the contraction from 20 episodes to ten and the ramping up of the body count means that we lose a lot of the family stuff that worked well in the previous season – it seems like the families of the victims get completely ignored. In a way, I actually wish it was a couple of episodes longer as it feels a little rushed at times.
All in all, though, The Killing II is a superb crime drama and I look forward to seeing the third and final season on BBC4 sometime next year (so pull your finger out, people).
One last question, where can I get the theme music from? It’s great.
PS The title is Danish for “There’s been a murder”. With the body count, things did get a bit Taggart at times.