Den Som Dræber is a Danish TV series which only ran to one season; its English title is ‘Those Who Kill’ and it is in the same genre as ‘The Killing’ and ‘the Bridge’ and other similar Scandinavian TV shows.It stars Laura Bach as a detective on a murder squad headed up by Lars Mikkelsen who was also in series I of The Killing, and Jakob Cedergren who plays the part of a psychologist who deduces the identity of the killers by looking at their mental processes and motivation.
Unlike the other series, each episode is a separate story, so instead of taking several hours (20 in The Killing) it’s over in 90 minutes, which obviously makes a big difference to how the plot is managed. The great thing about the Killing and the Bridge is not just the superb acting, but every other aspect of the drama; music, setting, pace, filming, characters. To me, Those Who Kill does not reach the same standard at all; I hoped that it would improve as the episodes continued, thinking that maybe the first couple were not as good but once the production got going it would all bed down. I have to say, I really don’t think it is as good, and sadly I’m not surprised that there was only one series after which it was cancelled. The acting is great, the actors can’t be faulted, they weren’t the ones who wrote the script which makes them so unconvincing as people, or as police officers.
- the music; in the other series the music was subtle, sometimes barely audible, complimenting the action,heightened emotions and stayed in the viewer’s memory after the episode concluded. The beefy music in Those Who Kill reminded me more of 1980’s cop shows; even though the film is in Danish and I watch with sub-titles and therefore don’t actually need to hear the speech, the music was intrusive, distracting and annoying
- setting; the settings in the Bridge in particular became almost like characters – not just the amazing and eponymous bridge, but the strange, spooky hospital which we kept seeing, just there, lurking, for tens of seconds with nothing else happening, and also the roads and motorways, sometimes empty, sometimes with traffic speeded up or slowed down… The settings in those to kill are barely memorable – I know in shorter episodes there isn’t as much time to play with, there maybe isn’t room for long lingering views of nothing much even if it is a very threatening nothing much… but even so…
- the characters seem really inconsistent and unbelievable; yes I know Sara Lund and Saga Norén are strange creatures too, but they are consistent and believable, and you can understand why they have the positions they do in the context. Laura Bach’s character, Katrine is just not credible. No police officer however clever or good at her job would still have a job behaving as she does!
- most TV crime and police procedurals have ridiculous story-lines which could never happen in real life; we all know this. The trick is making something ludicrous believable within its own world, and make it gripping and enthralling. Sadly, Those Who Kill is not like this, I keep thinking ‘How nonsensical, no-one would be allowed to do this, behave like that, carry on in that way‘ and unfortunately as I’m now two-thirds of the way trough the box set I’m finding it less and less gripping and enthralling.
So well done actors, shame about the vehicle.