Series 3 The Killing – Plot Tension

If you haven’t seen Episodes 5 and 6 of Season 3 of Danish noir series The Killing– look away now.  I don’t want to spoil it for you.  If you aren’t planning on watching or have caught up – the storylines in this series, which I’ll call the A, B and C stories are: the kidnap of a little girl, a prime minister seeking re-election and the relationships within the police force.  It is the latter that I want to focus upon – particularly the relationship triangle of Sarah Lund and Mathias Borch – a former colleague and love interest when they were training at the police academy. Borch is now a senior officer with special branch in their national security division.  The third character in the triangle is newly minted CID officer Asbjørn Juncker.

In Episode 6 Lund lets her guard down and risks putting the operation in jeapordy by getting far too close to Borch.  While her heart is ruling her head, Juncker sows the seeds of doubt in Lund’s mind.  He warns her that Borch questioned a suspect earlier and pumped him for information – and Lund can’t help but question what Borch knows about the murder of a young teenage girl some years before.  The two cases are linked as the kidnapper had family ties to the murdered teenage girl.

What is Borch trying to hide?  There’s a moment in the episode where Lund seems to be asking herself whether there is any possibility that Borch may have killed that first girl – or alternatively be covering up for the killer.  Juncker calls Lund on her phone to warn her as he seems convinced that Borch does know more about the first murder than hes letting on.

Lund though faces the problem head on and demands answers from Borch – about what he does know about the first murder.  Borch turns it into a domestic and accuses Lund of being emotionally repressed – that she just won’t let anyone get close to her.  And all the while they’re bickering like an old married couple, they seem to have forgotten that what they’re meant to be doing is trying to track a serial killer on the loose.  The serial killer hasn’t suffered from the same amnesia and the end of episode hook is that he seizes the opportunity to lock Borch and Lund inside the workshop of an abandoned shipyard in the middle of nowhere.

It would be sad for Lund if Borch did turn out to be the bad guy, the way that her police partner and love interest in Series 2 did.  It’s no wonder that Lund is such an emotional cripple. Lund is damaged goods, for sure but in her line of work the men she meets aren’t exactly well-balanced either.

What this does for the plot is to create another layer of almost unbearable tension – which only adds to the cat-and-mouse game currently being played out by the killer.  And to up the ante even further, what does Lund really know about the background of Juncker, the young detective.  What if he’s lying, trying to pin the blame on Borch.  Sadly we have t wait another nail-biting week to find out.

Just in case you were wondering how to up the tension in your thriller plot, do whatever it takes to bag yourself the box set of Series 1 or 2 and marvel at the way that series creator and lead writer Søren Sveistrup manages to so grippingly hold our attention.

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