Five reasons to watch The Killing II

Cancel all engagements: the return of Sarah Lund means Saturday nights are no longer your own

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Five reasons to watch The Killing II
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In Copenhagen, a woman has been stabbed to death and left tied to a post in Memorial Park. Meanwhile, a new justice minister is sworn in as Denmark fears terrorist reprisals for its involvement in Afghanistan, while a soldier with mental health problems hopes to be released from a psychiatric facility. Sarah Lund, however, is keeping a low profile at a remote cargo ferry port – but not for long. Just remember that:

1. It’s a marathon not a sprint: Most police procedurals are happy to tie loose ends together and offer tidy, pat conclusions in 60 minutes. Not The Killing. Here we have a drama that takes a single case and spreads the mystery over 10 episodes. However, the tone and twists ensure that it never feels like a slow death.

2. There are no winners, only losers: As we saw in the original Killing, these are events that leave everyone bloodied: victims, families and law enforcers. And this time the stakes are even higher: the focus has shifted from the mayoralty of Copenhagen to the corridors of high power. There’s talk of Afghanistan and a whiff of the military, too. The Killing II steps up from the local to the national, and maybe even the global.

3. Brains go before beauty: Untidy, uncommunicative Sarah Lund (Sofie Grabol) is a world away from the lip-glossed cops on Law & Order and CSI, but she’s a smart, tenacious operator. As series two begins, she’s working the night shift in a remote corner of Denmark but is soon lured back to Copenhagen for a case involving the murder of a female lawyer.

4. You must read between the lines: Thanks to Wallander, Spiral and The Killing, Saturday night on BBC4 means subtitles. Yet The Killing’s power to grip shows that added text needn’t be a distraction. A bit of translation trivia for you here: ‘Forbrydelsen’ (to give the series its Danish title) can actually be translated as ‘The Crime’. In Danish, the word “killing” actually means “kitten”. So we’re actually watching a crime drama called “The Kitten”.

5. It’s dark, very dark: It’s a word filled with rain, Stygian gloom, torches and more rain. Why they’re not all in police-issue pac-a-macs is the big, unsolved mystery. In the first episode of the new series, it looks like we could just be in for a drip-free opening hour and then comes a downpour that coincides with an atmospheric chase. Gimlet-eyed viewers can have a go at spotting what is real water and what’s artificial: that particular scene necessitated a reshoot – only the rain was too expensive to reintroduce and so was added afterwards.