I have started watching the Danish television crime series Forbrydelsen (The Killing). Not that I speak a word of Danish, but reading the subtitles keeps me glued to the unfolding drama. Forbrydelsen tells the story of the rape and murder of a teenage girl and the hunt for the killer. Entwined with the main story is a tale of political machinations and manoeuvring for office, the strain that the job is putting on the life of police investigator Sarah Lund, played by Sofie Grabol (above), a good cop bad cop face off with her unwilling junior partner Jan Meyer played by Soren Malling, and the taught, poignant and harrowing story of the girl's family as their lives unfold in the wake of their daughter's murder.
I see quite a few bits of US crime dramas, and the women in those always have to be ridiculously sexy, their hair, designer clothing and make-up perfect, as you would be when wakened in the middle of the night to traipse around a gruesome murder site in the middle of nowhere. Sofie Grabol has taken a much more realistic view of how a detective might dress and behave, largely free of cosmetics, hair loosely pulled back and in place of wardrobes filled with designer suits she wears a small array of chunky knit jumpers of the sort you'd pull on at the last moment because you are about to walk the dog and the weather is a bit colder than you thought.
Sarah Lund is sexy as hell though, she exudes quite and calm confidence, she is intelligent and empathic, alert to the emotions and needs of the people she interacts with without losing her professional distance. Lund seems to transcend whatever is going on around her, she takes the lead with partner Jan Meyer, calm and controlled as he rages and hits out, and she speaks as a normal person might, well done Søren Sveistrup and his writing team for creating a character who does not speak in hyperbole and cliché.
I am only on episode 3, so as normal, spoiler writers will be marched to the stocks and forced to watch endless repeats of Hollyoaks, but so far I would highly recommend Forbrydelsen, well scripted, well acted, intelligent and very human, it is easily the best crime series I have seen for ages.