The ProtectorsMy love affair with Canadian TV has now extended to Danish TV. Everyone has heard of The
which ranks among my all time favourite shows. You can read my reviews here and here (hanging out for season 3!).

Recently, another Danish show that’s just come to my attention is The Protectors. I’m nearly finished series two and it’s just getting better and better. I love the way the Danish screenwriters create dialogue – such a happy lack of cliche! Often times characters don’t reply to each other in conversation, or if they do, it’s so awkward that it seems completely realistic. Less is often more and this show is a perfect example.

For those who’ve never heard of the series, here is the premise:  In today’s violent world, the lives of many politicians, industrialists, heads of state and other VIPs are often endangered. To counteract these threats, the Danish Intelligence Bureau established the elite Personal Protection Unit – a force of competent, quick-thinking and dedicated bodyguards. This Emmy award winning Danish crime series centres around the lives and missions of these specialists, the people they protect and their enemies. 

The Protectors_CecilieAs each episode is fairly plot heavy, it takes until the second series for the characters in the PET protection unit to fully develop. This is the pay-off that attracts me to television over film; the reward for an investment. I’m particularly enjoying the often volatile camaraderie between the three main bodyguards, Jasmina, Rasmus and Jonas. Having graduated through a tough selection process together, they maintain a sibling-like rivalry and a bond that is as close as family.

The stories are what you would expect; misbehaving politicians, international espionage, terrorism. The tone of the show is unpretentious and almost as gritty as The Killing (though it lacks The Killing’s unparalleled slow intensity and creepiness). It spends a fait bit of time exploring racism and gives a clear view into the racial tensions in Northern Europe. I’ve slowly accustomed to the Danish language and I’m starting to pick up nuances that the translation ignores – another enjoyable part of the experience. It’s very hard to go back to normal TV fodder after watching Danish TV. Highly recommended!

Well crime drama doesn’t get much better than The Killing aka by its Danish title Fobrydelsen. I started watching it a while back with my husband and he found it slow, so I never even got to finish episode one. When I sat down with it the second time, I watched it alone and didn’t have to worry about anyone else enjoying it!

It is a slowly told story but the power of the series is in that drawn-out pacing. Each of the twenty episodes depicts 24 hrs in the investigation of the murder of a young woman named Nanna Birk Larsen.

Without excpetion, it is incredibly well cast. However, my favourite performances were from Sofie GråbølSøren MallingLars Mikkelsen and Ann Eleonora Jørgensen. Sofie (obsessed and clever Detective Sarah Lund) and Lars (obsessed and clever politican Troels Hartman) are outstanding.

Set in Copenhagen in winter, the backdrop to the story is relentlessly grey and miserable.The city’s mood combines with the detailed, complex narrative to draw the viewer deep into Lund’s gloomy hunt. After watching each episode, I had that sensation of really having to shake off the fictional world to re-enter the real one.

I was thrilled by the brilliantly portrayed character of detective Sarah Lund who becomes so immersed in the chase that her personal life totally unravels. Her obsession makes her unpredictable and she risks everything to find the answer. There was something very realistic about the dialogue and the dynamics of the relationships (even taking into account that some of the translation was obviously a bit naf).

The Killing also brings an added dimension to TV crime by the fact that it gives weight to the lives of the victim’s family after the crime, as well as the actual investigation. This works to invest the viewer in their loss and makes the journey even more immersive. Several false leads are pursued, and each one of them feels totally credible. The story cleverly circles back on itself, and details are rehashed. A second layer of story is splashed across the top as Lund tries to tie in a previous murder, and Troels, negotiates the dirty world of politics, while trying to maintain some personal integrity and minimise the damage Nanna’s murder has had on him and his election campaign.

Engrossing, believable and grim. Lund triumphs but at what cost?

Highly Recommended (and thanks to Peri Wilson for suggesting it while we were on book tour together). I have series 2 ready to go, (which I’ve heard is even better) but I’m holding off until I can settle in and enjoy it without interruption.



davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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