Those Who Kill – the Danes come to ITV

The murder squad with Katrine on the left and the chief, Bisgaard, in the front.

For readers outside the UK, ITV3 is the third digital channel for the main terrestrial UK broadcaster ITV. A quick glance at the BARB audience figures reveals that it is actually the sixth biggest UK TV channel, outgunning any of Sky’s channels or its sister stations ITV2 and ITV4. It achieves this by targeting ‘over 35s’ (and probably more women than men – ITV4 is ‘bloke TV’) and offering them re-runs of popular drama series. ITV chiefs have no doubt noticed the big success of Scandinavian drama series shown on BBC4 which have attracted record audiences of over 600,000 per episode. BBC4 is usually invisible to the tabloid press writers on TV but The Killing and Borgen have attracted a great deal of coverage in the broadsheets.

Now ITV3 have begun broadcasting Those Who Kill, their new Danish import, at 10pm on Thursday evenings. The big questions are: will the BBC4 audience migrate to ITV3 for their fix of ‘Nordic Noir’ and what will the existing ITV3 audience, fed on a diet of Wycliffe, Morse, Poirot etc. make of a show with murky lighting and subtitles? It’s probably thirty years or so since ITV stations (then regionally owned) put out European art films in late night slots. Can they make a success of it again?

On the basis of the first 90 minutes episode, Those Who Kill appears to be a more American-style crime series – or perhaps the grittier end of UK crime series such as Wire in the Blood. It has one of the tropes of the BBC4 Danish serials – the intelligent, fearless and strong-willed female lead. In Episode 1 Katrine (Laura Sofia Bach) takes the initiative in leading a police team investigating a serial killer of young women. She co-opts a profiler of ‘dissocial’ characters who has been previously used (and discarded) by the Copenhagen police and she has a close relationship with another young woman who is a forensic scientist. This trio solve their first case and despite his initial misgivings, the homicide chief (played by The Killing I‘s ‘Troells’, the actor Lars Mikkelsen) decides to promote Katrine. We also get to see at least two other actors from The Killing II and Borgen.

The four characters listed above (and a fifth junior police officer) are presumably going to be central in the series but so far we have learned only a little about their family backgrounds. I don’t get the impression that we are going to get the family melodrama offered by the serials nor their political narratives. The serial killer story is rather too familiar from US and UK series (even if, as we are often told, they are not in Scandinavia – though Jo Nesbø has just written one). This one was quite well done and was certainly grisly, but it didn’t have that usual Nordic Noir element of some kind of social comment on the collapse of social democracy or the impact of globalisation. It could easily have been a British or American story. Finally, there hasn’t been much sign of an overall serial narrative developing – a ‘story arc’ that will run through each episode. Still, this was the first episode. The big question is whether the audience will find the show on the schedules. The Guardian, home of blogs on The Killing and Borgen, doesn’t list ITV3 programmes, only trailed this show on the day of broadcast and hasn’t reviewed it so far.

22 responses to “Those Who Kill – the Danes come to ITV

  1. Absolutely glued to this. So glad its not just another 1 hour series.
    Loved it. More please!!

  2. danitrimujianto

    great film


  4. I’m a BBC4 convert, love these Danish shows.
    Usually takes me 3-4 episodes to really get into it but after this long 90 minute episode I can safely say I’m hooked, and really looking forward to the rest. I just wish ITV Player wasn’t a giant pile of &^*&^.

  5. I missed the first 3 episodes. Is it possible to catch up with all 3? Thanks

  6. Martine O'Shaughnessy

    i was upset when the Killing finished,thanks very much for putting on Those Who Kill, hope there will be lot,s more Danish programs to follow

  7. just discovered this last week and was instantly hooked, bit of an awkward fit in the usual ITV3 schedule but compulsive viewing

  8. Judith Davidson

    Loved them all…When is it coming back……………

    • As far as I know it won’t be coming back because it wasn’t recommissioned by the Danish broadcaster. Of course it could be commissioned by another broadcaster . . .

  9. Damn! Blast! ITV 3 was running late so my recorder missed the last five minutes of the last episode! Can some nice person tell me who died and who lived???

  10. Hi Roy, we missed it too so would really like to know what happened,vainly hoping Thomas isn’t dead…thanks,Julie

  11. Can I catch up with this, I have only seen one episode screened March 1st…’s great viewing

  12. Yes, saved the last episode until now and our recording also stopped before the end- please let us know what happened!

  13. Reblogged this on Teaching Trollope and commented:
    I confess to a love of Danish and other Norwegian crime dramas on television. They are so dark and compelling but offer a welcome change from the cookie cutter characterizations America offers in some of its programming. There is a level of intelligence and civility expected here that even shows in their scriptwriting. Love it!

  14. Pingback: Salamander (Belgium 2012/3) « The Case for Global Film

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