Wednesday 29 January 2020

Weekend's TV: The Killing II

Neil Midgley reviews the concluding episodes of The Killing II - and reveals the killer...

Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund, on the hunt for the murderer in the conclusion of The Killing II. Photo: BBC
Sofie Gråbøl as Sarah Lund, on the hunt for the murderer in the conclusion of The Killing II. Photo: BBC

Neil Midgley

So did you guess? Eighty-five per cent of Danes who placed a bet with Ladbrokes, when The Killing II aired there in 2009, picked the right killer. At the end of the final episode, Sarah Lund’s police partner, Ulrik Strange, turned out to be the nasty murderer after all.

A shame, really, given that he was her best chance of a stable boyfriend in all the 30 episodes of The Killing that we’ve now watched. But let’s face it, he was always just too good-looking to be true.

It was a white-knuckle ride right to the end, with two serious red herrings – troubled Muslim soldier Said Bilal and bitter civil servant Carsten Plough – thrown in during episodes nine and ten. At the end, Lund tore off into the night to catch Strange (with no back-up, as is her wont). This time, at least she wore a bulletproof vest – which is all great fun until someone shoots at your head. Fortunately, though, Strange paused only briefly for a lecherous swipe at Lund’s décolleté before aiming his bullets squarely at her kidneys – leaving her alive and well to get him from behind when he was about to kill bonkers-but-handsome Jens Peter Raben.

This time around, unlike series one, the political subplot reached a proper conclusion. Heroic-but-fat justice minister Thomas Buch got what he was after – a confession from the prime minister – but it left Buch splashing around corpulently in a satisfying sea of moral ambiguity. Yes, the Prime Minister admitted to Buch that he had helped cover up the Afghanistan Incident. But no, he didn’t do it because civilians had been killed. The problem was the presence in that Afghan village of special forces officer Strange, who was on a secret mission that had not been authorised by Parliament.

“Meet the people who have all agreed that the important thing is to continue the fight,” said the PM, and with an un-Cameron-like flourish opened some grand double doors to reveal the entire cabinet. Would Buch accept a promotion and keep quiet, or heroically-but-fatly expose the whole sorry business to the world? By the time the end credits rolled, and he was exchanging meaningful glances with his secretary from the cabinet room, we still didn’t know.

Meanwhile Jens Peter Raben was bonkersly-but-handsomely vindicated by Strange’s capture, having said for several episodes that Strange was the officer who killed the civilians in Afghanistan. Or was he vindicated? Before being despatched by no fewer than 10 shots from Lund’s pistol (followed by three pulls of the trigger after she’d run out of ammo – that girl wasn’t shooting to wound), Strange accused Raben of being the one who’d killed a little girl that day in Helmand. So even poor Raben ended up plagued by a questionable guilt, which may yet blight his return to that tense wife of his and her practical hairdo.

Only Lund and her boss, police chief Lennart Brix, escaped as unsmeared heroes. Which is for the best, really, given that they’re the only two coming back for series three later this year…

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