The first thing to say about Sofie Grabol is that she is NOTHING like her alter ego Sarah Lund to talk to.
Lund, the detective at the heart of Danish hit The Killing, keeps her emotions firmly in check. She is a cool, wary customer, unwilling to share the tiniest of small talk with her colleagues, instead focusing on the brutal murder case at the heart of both series so far.
Actress Grabol, hard at work on the third, and apparently final, series when we speak, is the opposite - laughing more in ten minutes on the phone than in the ten hours I've spent with Lund in preparation for our chat. So what does Grabol think of her character, having spent more time in her company than even the many die-hard fans of the series?
"I really like her, she tells me. "She's much smarter than me. I admire her integrity, the way she never compromises even though it makes her lonely and isolated, I wish I could learn something from that.
"It dawned on me recently that when we finish this final season, I'll have played this character on and off for seven years, which feels almost biblical.
"I still have this strange feeling of knowing her really well and, at the same time, she's totally mysterious. I feel almost married to her."
This seems to be as near marriage as poor Lund will get, after experiencing what can, in oblique, non-plot-spoiling terms, be called... a romantic disaster during Season Two. Would Grabol agree with this description, and is there any romantic redemption to be had for our heroine?
She laughs. "I think that covers it - a romantic disaster. As for future romance, I'm in our writers' hands, and I enjoy that.
"But if you ask me personally, I don't really wish that for her, to be happily married. I think her greatest relationship, the one she stays true to, is her current case. I think there's a great beauty in that. I don't wish for her to be sitting in a house with a nice husband.
"Do you want that?" she finishes by asking, forcing me to admit, not really, no fun there.
If Lund's closest relationship is with her job, a close second must be the jumper, the iconic woolly that has transformed Faroesque knits from charity shop bargains into designer must-haves across the globe. Season 2 saw Lund flirt with a little red number for a few episodes, before the old faithful returned. What happened there?
"We were about to start the second Killing, and we thought we can't carry on with the jumper, it's going to be a joke," Grabol explains patiently, for what must be the umpteenth time.
"We thought, 'we can't put her in a shirt, we can't change her completely' so we thought we'd make it red so it stands out, especially in the dark scenes, that's why the old one worked so well.
"So I tried to wear the red, but I kept thinking something was missing. It's something about that jumper, that has almost a uniform quality. The red one made me feel like a child in kindergarten, you don't really have authority in it. The thing about the real Lund jumper is that, to me, it has authority."
So will Grabol be back in her uniform for the third season? "Yes, but it's not the same. We had to do something to keep ourselves awake, so we changed it, but it's the same theme."
Where has the jumper come from, along with Lund's reclusiveness, obsession with justice - will we ever get a back-story to explain Lund's unusual manner?
"We just finished reading the fourth episode of the last ten, and so far, she's still a mystery," reveals Grabol.
"I don't really feel a great longing to know. If they write some monologue where she suddenly sits down and admits she was bullied at school or hit as a child, I don't really think I would be satisfied with that. I don't need a box to put her in."
What about the box Grabol herself might have gone into since being so closely associated with this particular character? It seems she has no fears there:
"I can only say that, in Denmark, I have worked since I was 17, more than 25 years, and I've always moved on," she reflects.
"Of course, every time you have a big success, there will always be a while you are associated with it, and then you play something else, so I don't make that calculation, how people perceive me. I just focus on the work, that's where my satisfaction is. But I really enjoy this one, I must say."
Despite her pleasure at the role, Grabol is with the production team in thinking three is the right time to hang up the jumper:
"All of us involved thought, 'let's do a last one.' Nothing is definite, but I would be surprised if we continued. There is something about the number three which is whole. The end of the second one, it wasn't really over. You never know, but I'm pretty sure. I think, in terms of calling it a marriage, it's going to be a tough divorce."
It looks like a tough marriage too, judging from the bleak, dark scenes that punctuate each season of The Killing so far. There really is no let-up, and I wonder if, at the end of a day's filming, Grabol worries her face may get stuck in the deep frown of her alter ego?
She laughs a lot. "We are in this very dark, damp atmosphere when we are filming," she describes. "But when the cameras aren't rolling, we are smiling and joking a lot. It is not a heavy set.
"Personally, I feel very much at home in this atmosphere, I don't feel sad or dark inside. I feel just happy."
The Killing Season 2 and Complete Season 1 and 2 boxsets are available to own on DVD now. See some images from this series in our Slideshow below..
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