So, it ends… With a bang in an airport parking area rather than a whimper. The third and final season of Forbrydelsen (there was a deliberate decision by creator Soren Sveistrup to end the show here) frustrated, moved and thrilled, as Sarah Lund faced her final case.
When three sailors are found dead on a cargo ship due for scrapping, Detective Sarah Lund, who is about to move to a desk job, investigates. However, the case takes a dangerous turn as Emilie Zeuthen, the 9-year-old daughter of the CEO of Zeeland, the powerful company who owned the ship, is abducted. To find the young girl, she must solve an old case where a girl was murdered and the prosecutor (who the perpetrator murders in dramatic fashion) covered it up.
Lund doesn’t just have this difficult case to deal with… PET are involved as well, including her old flame Mathias Borch. Also, she finds that she’s going to become a grandmother.
As this is going on, Denmark is in the midst of a general election with the incumbent Prime Minister in trouble due to the poor economy. Politics runs deep through a tale that will take Lund to Jutland and ultimately Norway.
This season has a superbly twisty case with a lot of red herrings (a notebook plays a big role here) – I wasn’t sure of the killer of the old case until about 15 minutes from the end. The ever present warehouse turned up a good deal and had some great moments. Frans Bak’s music (I got the soundtrack off Amazon) was again great.
I’m going to focus on a few elements worthy of further discussion.
· Lund: A superb acting job by Sofie Gråbøl, who can do more with her face than some actors with their entire body. The ultimate conclusion of the series, which sees her take a step that a number of other great detectives have taken themselves in response to a situation they see no other way to solve, will certainly frustrate many people. There is also a superb moment with a dripping wet Lund rescuing Borch from one of the killers.
· The other coppers: Borch certainly learns the hard way that it is not a good idea to partner Lund (her last two ended up dead after all) and his relationship with Lund is a key part of Season 3. Lennart Brix is superb as always.
· The family: Again, we get a focus on the family (father, estranged wife and her boyfriend, brother), as they have to deal with their missing daughter. The lengths that people will go to protect their family (also demonstrated with Kamper) are made very clear and Robert Zeuthen’s actions are reminiscent of Theis Birk Larsen from Season 1. Emilie didn’t appear much, but contrary to trailer appearances, was not creepy despite her general blondness.
· The politics: We get a return to the alliance building of Season 1, only on a national scale, with PM Kristian Kamper being both slimy and broken after the death of his son. I’m not entirely convinced by the focus on this girl being so central to an election campaign and one or two final twists, but the actors here are pretty great. Mogens Rank, the Justice Minister, who comes across as a toady for much of the time has a dramatic shift near the end.
· The killers: I can’t go into too much detail, but there is a strong resonance of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo here – and again a feeling that justice isn’t fully done, although Lund might well be setting off to do some. In fact, justice is a big theme of this one.
· Pacing: 55-minute episodes again this time, which dragged a little, but not too much.
The final decision on what to do this one is difficult. It can’t be a 10; I don’t tend to award those to professional productions and there were a number of flaws here. However, when it was great it was superb and a great ending to this run. Sarah Lund, you’ll be missed.
Roll on Borgen 2.