TV: Forbrydelsen 2 (The Killing 2)

Aside from the Sarah Lund character and her boss, this isn’t The Killing.

The original Forbrydelsen had a point: To show what goes into a police investigation and the ripple effects the murder of one person has on her family and everyone else.

In the original series, we had an emotional hook: The devastation of the family.

Here, there is no such hook and the series suffers for it.

The first five of this ten-episode series will make your will to live slowly drain away. Watching them will feel like outright punishment.

Sarah Lund is a cardboard character who is rarely shown outside of her job. We were involved with her in the original series because she had all sorts of pressures: It was her last day on the job, she was planning to move to Sweden, she had just stopped smoking, she had conflicts with her successor. All of those things gave her character depth. There’s just no depth here for her in the first five episodes. The little family that’s shown is thrown in like a careless afterthought and wouldn’t have been missed if never written in.

In this series, she’s still employed by the police, but out in the sticks.

Brix, the bastard cop bureaucrat from the first series, is now in charge of the police and asks her assistance in a murder investigation. Why she’s called in doesn’t seem to really matter. That’s never developed at all. It has the shallowness of the 1960s Batman TV series, with Gordon summoning the Caped Crusader. This is just bad, bad writing. There’s a hint of the life she’s been leading, but that’s done like a cheap throwaway too. Had they been serious, she wouldn’t have been summoned until the end of that first episode. It wouldn’t have made any difference other than to give the story and her character some damned depth.

Even after she’s called in and has started on the job, she’s given shit by Brix:

That’s as much depth as Sarah Lund gets in the first five episodes. And you feel for her, because you know she got a raw deal in the first series.

But they have Forbrydelsen down to a tired formula now: Somehow the murder is linked to the politics of Denmark. Last time it was for the Mayor of Copenhagen. This time it reaches to the very top of the national government.

The first five episodes go overboard in the political machinations with hints that are just too easy to pick up and also slavishly imitate plot points from the first series.

There’s also more than one murder. Which makes this not The Killing, but The Killings.

And we really don’t give a damn about any of the victims. The ripples they cause to family and friends are never shown. They’re just there to move the conspiratorial story along. All the emotional connections we had in the first series are gone here.

It isn’t until the sixth episode that the series starts to move. A red herring is summarily — and really summarily — dropped, as if it never happened, and things get going.

Sarah Lund finally becomes what she is: An animal who will stop at nothing to get the damn case solved.

She disobeys orders, she ignores conversations from her partner, she goes places without prior authorization or notifying anyone. She even berates another police officer:

When people get killed, it means something. What is wrong with you? … Do you have the uniform on for decoration?

And we love her for it.

But no one else does. She gets hung out to dry too many times:

And by the end of the series, she realizes she’s the only one who takes the job seriously and that she will always walk alone:

So, slog through the first half of the series so the excellent second half at least makes some sense. But don’t expect it to make absolute sense if you watch this via DVD. The subtitling is terrible!

It’s not just fractured English and misspelled words. There are entire sentences of dialogue that never get translated or wind up as just a few words that make no damn sense!

The BBC is due to air this series in the Fall. I hope they will be doing their own subtitles. Otherwise they will be facing a mob with pitchforks after every broadcast due to the “official” subtitles.

One other disappointment: The score has not changed at all. It’s used as canned music. Which leads to it being stripped over a scene or two where the beat is just inappropriate to what’s going on. I know there’s a Forbrydelsen 3 coming, so I hope they budget for a new Bak score this time.

The original Forbrydelsen just isn’t matched here. This is really The Sarah Lund Show — except she doesn’t really show up until the final half of it.

Previously here:

Holiday Weekend
Tweet Of The Day: #TheKilling
AMC-TV’s The Killing: R U FFR?
Forbrydelsen: Post-Mortem
Forbrydelsen: The Killing

8 Comments

Filed under TV, Writing

8 responses to “TV: Forbrydelsen 2 (The Killing 2)

  1. Ross

    See what you mean about the subtitles … I think they’ve lost it for you.
    Working my way through the Danish version. I think Lund is even wilder in this, can’t be many lead characters who are such outsiders? And Brix .. he’s so supportive (!!?? in his own way), surely the subtitles can’t have messed up his dialogue.

    I can’t believe those are those genuine subtitles on your site? Looks to have been translated through some other language first, especially the last example which must have been done by a computer trained on German (but never come across English or Danish!) word order.

  2. I have NEVER seen a drama part 2 (e.g. godfather) which even approached the level of a successful part 1. I really enjoyed Forbrydelsen part 1, but after watching the first broadcast of Forbrydelsen part 2, I don’t think this is likely to prove an exception to the rule. Superficial stereotypes without any character depth. The comparison to Batman was harsh, but not far off the mark!

  3. Jens Peter Raben

    The Danish DVDs do not contain English subtitles. Only Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish.

  4. After a surprising and very interesting Forbrydelsen first season with the American remake included. We have here a second with new adventures and a new complex case for Sarah Lund. Hopefully, at least maintain the level of the first delivery was simply unbeatable.

  5. Rupert17

    I don’t think No. 2 is as involving as for the reasons you have given. I labored through the first half of this series whereas with No. 1 I couldn’t stop watching it. Lund’s mother was a factor in her life in the first series whereas she’s more of a meaningless caricature in this one.
    This one is more remote with its obscure political machinations whereas the No.1 you could relate to at the personal level through the grieving of the murder victim’s family.
    Subtitles are always hit and miss with me. I try to add my own interpretation as I go but end up wishing I could speak about 30 languages to avoid their us.
    Thanks for such a good summation.

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