The Killing II

After season one’s twenty episodes, Forbrydelsen returned to BBC4 with half as much airtime, but still many of its favourite features: there is running in the woods, video tapes from beyond the grave, the chasing of hooded characters in dark disused buildings, exhumations, camera shots against the sun, the tinkle of the piano whenever a penny drops in Lund’s head, and best of all, the climactic action-packed wrap to the pulsating score that ends each episode.

Also, there is the combination of City Hall politics entwined with a murder investigation, but this time also taking in the Army, and the complexities of democracy in the war against terror. The new storyline allows for the introduction of several new excellent characters, with arguably the star of the second season being politician Thomas Buch.

In Buch’s first scene he is seen bouncing a ball against a wall while thinking, surely shorthand for West Wing viewers of an intellectual and persuasive performer, in reference to the strategist Toby Zieglar. Buch is indeed that, although at times more clumsy than a communications expert, and in common with Lund, his hunches are sometimes so wrong, they border on the catastrophic. Nearly always eating, he revels in standing alone as a man of principle in what turns out to be a hectic first few days in office, as he is unwittingly embroiled in an extending murder investigation.

While Buch senses a cover-up at the heart of Government, Lund believes there is one in the Army, as she suspects the first violent murder that starts Season Two is more than the result of pre-meditated domestic revenge the detectives leading the case say it is.

As with season one, the plot is events led and things move quickly; within the space of a few episodes we see successive murders, a wedding, explosions, and a prison break via a sewer so swift it has a touch of the escape in Jim Jarmush film ‘Down By Law’, as it happens within seconds and without any planning the viewer is made aware of.

Lennart Brix, shady when introduced in Season One, continues to be mysterious, somewhere between enigmatic and indecisive; this time round though, we do see at least one of the people pulling his strings, although a strength of any conspiracy story are hidden figures in the shadows, of which there in all the bodies of authority in The Killing II.

As well as the element of conspiracy, the real staples of The Killing continue to be Lund, and the numerous garden paths the viewer is led down by the direction and storyline. Of course some of the paths do eventually lead somewhere, and on this occasion do seem more consistent with the story we were told than the outcome of Season One, which on instinct had an unlikely perpetrator.

Lund is the same independent single-minded character of the first season, although now more isolated and vulnerable; still resilient, she is refreshingly for any character on prime-time television, led primarily by intellect and reason.

The programme titles itself as a thriller though, and it doesn’t disappoint. The chilling ending to the penultimate episode in Season One was a classic television reveal, and the last half-an-hour of the final episode in Season Two is up there with the climaxes of The Shadow Line and Season Four of Dexter from recent years. It is high class television with a couple of scenes at the end in particular, that capture the imagination.

MG

With echoes of Glory from American Cinema to Bruce Springsteen, and full of the flavour of Escape European Travel brings, The Substantive TV Columnist Mel Gomes’ e-book ‘Glory Nights: From Wankdorf to Wembley’ is available  from Amazon and Smashwords. New, independent writing on popular culture, it is being backed by The Substantive.