Friday, 10 February 2012

Those Who Kill, Laura Bach PREVIEW

Laura Bach as Katrine Ries Jensen and Jakob Cedergren as Thomas Schaeffer. Pics: ITV
Rating: ★★★½

ITV3, starts Thursday, 23 February, 10pm

Story: Deputy superintendent Katrine Ries Jensen is put in charge of her first big case – the discovery of the body of a Polish prostitute in the woods. She recruits forensic psychiatrist Thomas Schaeffer to assist her, and together they soon discover another four bodies buried nearby…

Comparisons between Those Who Kill and The Killing are inevitable.

They're both Danish, both are dark crime series, and both have a female protagonist. They also both feature actors Lars Mikkelsen (Troels in Killing I) and Carsten Bjørnlund (creepy Major Søgaard in Killing II).

Facing some grisly cases – Katrine and Thomas
But comparisons end there. Those Who Kill consists of six standalone 90-minute mysteries based on a special Copenhagen police unit that targets serial killers. While it doesn't have the depth of The Killing it does have quality, with interesting characters, tension and a pretty decent story.

Inner logic of dissocial individuals
Katrine Ries Jensen is given her first major case by Bisgaard (Mikkelsen), her boss. A corpse, buried six years previously, has been discovered in woods outside of the city. It is the remains of a Polish-born prostitute.

Thomas Schaeffer is a forensic psychiatrist who specialises in discerning the 'inner logic' of 'dissocial individuals'. Katrine disregards Bisgaard's fierce opposition to Schaeffer and brings him in to help  her investigation.

They immediately uncover four more female bodies buried in the woods. Schaeffer believes that the killer takes his time, has a fetish for controlling his victims, all of whom are blonde and single – like Katrine.

Katrine v Sarah Lund
Katrine is not as compellingly enigmatic The Killing's Sarah Lund, and like most TV cops she is a lonely maverick, obsessed with old cases (she keeps mugshots of murderers who eluded her on the wall of her flat). She has no social life, just a messy apartment with a dead plant in it.

Lars Mikkelsen
But Laura Bach, who plays Katrine, still wins us over with a strong performance – her character really gets put through the wringer in what is a fairly grisly opening story at times.

Those Who Kill is based on the novels of Elsebeth Egholm, and it has the wider theme of a country where social welfare is under attack and borders have opened up, allowing killers without the traditional motives of love or money to slip through the net.

Captivating and atmospheric
Danish network TV2 decided not to make any more series of Those Who Kill after this first one, the show apparently not doing well in its 8pm slot (it's a bit strong for that early in the evening), though it has done well overseas.

Despite that, viewers who are not bored by the frightening 'inner logic' of serial killers should find it  a captivating and atmospheric series with a strong heroine.

Cast: Laura Bach Katrine Ries Jensen, Jakob Cedergren Thomas Schaeffer, Lars Mikkelsen Magnus Bisgaard, Carsten Bjørnlund Adam Krogh, Laerke Winther Mia Vogelbang, Frederik Meldal Nørgaard Stig Molbeck