Five steps to becoming The Killing’s Sarah Lund

From getting the right gear to holding those calls - everything you need to transform into Denmark's No 1 detective


Think yourself into it


Stand, legs slightly apart, and stare off into the middle distance while imagining a gentle yet ominous tinkly piano playing a tune that says, “Yes. I’m thinking now.” If you can do this, then well done. You have taken your first steps to awesomeness. But there’s a long way to go.

Sofie Grabol says: “I had no idea about the piano music in series one. When I was doing those scenes I sometimes used to think about what was missing in my fridge.”

Did you know? When they shot the poster picture for the first series, Sofie had pulled the muscles in her neck and couldn’t move her head. “I hadn’t slept all night and could literally not turn my head to either side. Hence the paralysed, grave and very straight face.”

Hair apparent

If you have long hair, tie it back. If you don’t, grow it so you can. If you’re a man, then improvise by putting a lady’s petticoat on your head and fastening it with an elastic band. It’s a good look. Rock it.

Sofie says: “She ties her hair back when she’s preparing to be professional. Loose hair softens her too much.”

Get the right gear

Wear nothing but a pair of faded jeans, a jumper that may have been gifted by a distant, mildly eccentric aunt, and a pair of zip-up boots. You should care for no other clothes. If, by a terrible twist of events, you still have any clothes other than the ones you’re going to need, toss them into some boxes and send them to Sweden in a removal van.

Sofie says: “It was brilliant that all her stuff was sent away in boxes. I felt wonderful about the fact that I was in the same outfit. I found it liberating. I hate changing my outfits. I hate it. With the costume you take away all the unrelated things. You make her sharp and simple.

Did you know? For series three, they tried not giving Sarah Lund a jumper, but after two episodes they gave up and realised she needed one. She’s also in heels during the first episode but after Sofie couldn’t run in them, they returned to the trusty boots.

Sofie says: “We couldn’t escape having a jumper. Finding the jumper for the third series was traumatic. It took us ages to decide which one to have.”

Chew for your life

Chew nicotine gum endlessly. You might want to try this…

Sofie says: “I chew nicotine gum in real life. Have done for 12 years. When they stole this from me, I thought, can’t you come up with something on your own? And then I stopped and thought, hang on nicotine gum is as expensive as cigarettes, and they’re going to give it to me for free. Joy.”

Hold that call

Someone’s rung your mobile. Ascertain the facts and then hang up on them. Never say goodbye. Just never.

Sofie says: “What’s so funny about this is that I had no idea I never said goodbye until you told me. I take a lot of calls in The Killing and sometimes I do say goodbye and when I do, I feel like I’m doing something wrong because you’ve told me she never says goodbye. To be honest, the police office is very low-tech. Sarah Lund can’t even send a text.”

Did you know? Sofie actually regularly calls people by accident during scenes where she has to use the phone. “I’m having to say my lines and I’ve got strangers going ‘Hello? Who is this? What are you talking about?’”

To order your copy of The Killing Handbook by Emma Kennedy (Orion) for £11.49 (usually £12.99) including free p&p, call 01603 648176


The Killing III begins tonight at 9:00pm on BBC4