Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Killing ... on Channel 4

So the first two episodes of the American version of The Killing have just aired on Channel 4. Now, being a die-hard fan of the original Danish version I was more than a little sceptical of what the Yanks would have done to such a splendid piece of world drama. The original Forbrydelsen (The Crime) was so well produced and acted that after a very short while it almost didn't matter that it was subtitled. As Wallander has done before, the story carried the weight.

Based on previous US 'remakes' of foreign (by which I mean non English-speaking) TV and film, I had low expectations. I know that the 13-part series when it was aired in the US got pretty good reviews (apart from the series I climax which provoked a barrage of abuse) so maybe it wouldn't be too bad.

On first view Mireille Enos - who takes on the central role of Sarah Linden (Lund, in the Danish version) - seems to play the character with a similar low-key tone as Sofie Grabol did in the original, so maybe there's hope there. It would have killed  the whole tone (no pun intended) if they'd had her be a typically brash US detective.

The landscape chosen (supposedly Seattle, but apparently filmed in Vancouver) also looked similar in many aspects to the original Copenhagen, which is good because the landscape was as much of a character in the original drama as any of the actors. One other high-point in the US version is the casting of Michelle Forbes as Mitch, the murdered Rosie Larsen's mother. Forbes carries a gravitas that few other TV actresses can offer - and following in the footsteps of Ann Eleonora Jorgensen as Pernille Birk Larsen is no mean ask. Ann Eleonora gave a stellar performance as a distressed mother but Forbes - I'm sure - will be her equal.

It's no secret that the BBC have bought the broadcast rights to the second series of the Danish The Killing, which is due to be shown on BBC4 soon, and - according to the BBC4 website - it'll be re-running the original series this month. Coincidence, perhaps? From what I've read there is a third series of The Killing due to be aired in Denmark next year, so hopefully we'll get that over here before too long.

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