The Killing 2 – Another Twisting Turning Tale

Late though it was, I was immediately on the phone after the end of the final episode of the second season of The Killing on Saturday night.  I simply had to share the post watch analysis with a friend.  She’d already correctly predicted the identity of the killer, but, as with the first series of the programme, the identity of the perpetrator is by the by, it’s all about the twists and turns along the way, about the questions of trust and morality, about the grey areas between expediency and truth.

Even when we were fairly sure we had identified the killer, there remained plenty of tension over how he would be revealed and what he might do before that happened.  In our conversation we agreed on the moment certain things became clear, and then recapped on all the little clues and questions along the way.  There may have been a couple of points which stretched credibility to the limit, but that, in a way, is a signal of all of the complexity of the plot and characterisation; and that’s the fin of it.

Brought out of a dead end job at a border crossing to which she was consigned at the end of Series 1, Sarah Lund is temporarily reassigned to a murder enquiry by Brix, her old boss.  He’s asked her to come back because of the unusual nature of the circumstances of the murder.  At the same time, Buch, a young member of Parliament is the surprise new appointment as Justice Minister.

As more murders are committed by the same perpetrator, Buch begins to suspect that there is some kind of mystery being covered up by his Cabinet colleagues.  The army is involved because it is clear that both the murders and the political manoeuvring have something to do with a disputed incident in Afghanistan in which Danish soldiers may have been responsible for the death of a family of civilians.

At every step of the way through the plot both Lund and Buch have to decide whom to trust, who is misleading them and who is trying to manipulate them.  The question of trust is key, especially as each has to decide if they are being undermined by someone close to them, in their team.  Lund stares at them closely, and we try to discern what decision she has reached; Buch shambles about, shouting and eating, or in the final episode, brushing his teeth.  Both rush headlong up blind alleys, and only at the end understand the extent to which they have been betrayed.

Once again, the quality of the acting made me believe that I could understand Danish.  In fact, a couple of times, when Lund was interviewing Raben, a disturbed veteran of the war whose story of the massacre has been officially discredited, I was so concentrating on her face and the intensity in her eyes that I forgot to read the subtitles, but I’d like to think I didn’t miss any of the substance of the scene.

Once again Lund is the only one to emerge from the story with any integrity, but at what a cost.  The politicians seem to be the most venous of all the characters, and even Buch is compromised into capitulation by the end.  Lund looked as if she had lost everything at the end of Series 1, her career, her boyfriend, her son. Then in Series 2 she may have the chance to recoup something of her career and maybe do something with the spark that develops between her and her new partner Strange, but even that is taken from her.

I’ve heard there’s to be a third series, so maybe her career will survive.  Can’t wait.

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