🇩🇰 DARKNESS: THOSE WHO KILL 🇩🇰
DARKNESS: THOSE WHO KILL S1 (2019-) aka Den som dræber is a Danish crime-thriller series. 8 x 40-49 min episodes. 18 Cert U.K. Originally shown on BBC4 it is available on Amazon Prime U.K., Acorn US & Can, SBS Aus
“17-year old Julie has been missing for six months without a trace and police investigator Jan is desperate to give her mother answers. When Jan finds the remains of a girl of a similar age and suddenly another girl is kidnapped, he calls in profiler Louise to help understand the mind of the killer. Under… pressure to save the two kidnapped girls, Jan and Louise must predict the killer’s next move, while every decision they make escalates the manhunt which has severe consequences for the fate of the two girls. In order to save the girls, they must embark on a journey into the darkest and most extreme part of the human mind and face the consequences that arise. Jan and Louise constantly move around in the thrilling periphery of the murderer’s view, but as the case progresses the murderer’s mind and actions become more and more desperate, and it becomes unclear if there is only one killer out there.” Miso Film
Natalie Madueño as Louise Bergstein
Kenneth M. Christensen as Jan Michelsen
Signe Egholm Olsen as Stine Velin
Mads Riisom as Andres Kjeldsen
Peter Mygind as Møller Thomsen ‘MT’
Tessa Hoder as Emma Holst
Regitze Estrup as Gitte Hermansen
Uffe Rørbæk Madsen as Dennis Højbjerg
Maibritt Saerens as Anette Karlslund
Director: Carsten Myllerup
Writers: Ina Bruhn, Per Daumiller & Tine Krull Petersen
Cinematographer: Eric Kress
Composer: Jeppe Kaas
Darkness: Those Who Kill is a spin-off from Those Who Kill (2011) a one-season show (plus a feature film in Denmark) which is based upon the novels by Elsebeth Egholm who also created the show.
⚠️ This review contains mild spoilers ⚠️
This was a rewatch for me and I was surprised at which parts stood out in my mind from the first viewing.
Louise the profiler (not a cop!) is an interesting character and we see that initially at least, she is rather hamstrung by fear and guilt. She is a counsellor for a group of women who have been raped, having returned from working in London and is reluctant to become involved in the case presented to her. Later we do find out why. Although keen to apprehend the culprit she can seem rather distanced. Her story arc in this is to learn to deal with errors and not to blame herself entirely for what happens. Natalie Madueño plays Louise with subtlety and emotional rebate.
The main cop in this, Jan, has issues that mostly revolve around promises made and broken, of one sort or another. He has violent tendencies and poor judgment at times. Well played by Kenneth M. Christensen as a bottled-up potential powder keg. He is “stuck” due to the breakdown in his marriage. His story arc is one of a drowning man grasping at the edges of a cause to keep himself afloat.
Great performances all around here, especially from Tessa Holder as Emma. Signe Egholm Olsen is superb as the manipulative, sadistic, tragic Stine with whom we can sympathise (perhaps more so had one short scene not been included…) I thought Mads Riisom portrayed the character of Andres Kjeldsen fantastically and although vile we see the pathway he has taken to where he is now. Here once more we see the effects of severe childhood neglect, abuse and trauma. He is easily manipulated by Stine but is also a loose cannon completely driven by his “needs”. All the supporting cast are solid in this showing varying degrees of the impact of these cases upon them.
The use of the counselling group is a clever one, drawing attention to the effects of trauma upon the women who attend, and not only from sexual abuse. This directly links to what we see happening to the abducted girls. When Louise is asked by Jan at the end whether the victim will ever get over it the answer “No, but she will learn to love with it” relates back to these therapy sessions. This in turn also links to the damage done to a vulnerable, already troubled Stine when she was 16 and thereafter. The repercussions of not believing and not helping are horrendous!
The opening credit sequence is reminiscent of others in this genre and is eye-catching and rather beautiful. One aspect I did really like was the locations chosen which felt “real” and embedded into the story. This is a beautifully filmed show even if the subject matter is often horrendous.
This is certainly a dark and very disturbing show. The story is layered and throughout there are traumas, neglect, guilt, vengeance, abuse and failures. We see how people can combine either for doing good or plunging into the extremely bad. We get to see how stressors can trigger those who will then commit the most horrendous acts with no remorse. This psychological angle is a strong point of the series. However, I did feel that the decisive conclusion that the investigators reached, that there are two perpetrators working together, took too long to reach. That may of course be partly because we, as the audience, know things that they do not.
Watching Darkness: Those Who Kill you can see exactly why it is an 18 in the U.K. It is violent and as a viewer, we see graphic content of multiple rapes and beatings etc. There is a lot of violence against women shown and discussed. The warnings are attached to it on Prime.
Overall I enjoyed watching Darkness: Those Who Kill. It is certainly not for the faint of heart and parts are genuinely upsetting. I look forward to the next instalment, styled Blinded: Those Who Kill in the U.K. This is as noir as it gets.
Awards: 2 nominations ~
Robert Award (2020) Best TV Series
Zulu (2020) Best Actor ~ Tessa Hoder
Trailer Acorn TV: