Having a birthday at the bleak, grey end of the year has instilled in me a feeling of resignation about such events. This year however, I was filled with the joy of a small boy tasting a banana again after the end of post war rationing when I received the 2nd series of the DVD box set of The Killing for my birthday.
My wife and I (plus dog) assumed the customary sofa position to watch the series. Pressing "Play" led to an instant feeling of gratification, together with a continued view that Copenhagen looks a grim place where it is always raining when someone is murdered. Copenhagers must be crapping themselves during the weather forecast.
I realised too that I had been pining for Sarah Lund ever since the conclusion of Series 1 in the same way that my father in law has pined since Suzanne Charlton stopped presenting weather on ITV.
I got a bit lost in Episode 1 with all those new characters but found my feet again in Episode 2 at the end of which my wife and I knew instantly what the other was thinking.
This time though, we decided to check with the kids whether they were happy for us to watch another episode.
My eldest consented to my request after which an unusual thing happened. She walked into the lounge to mock her parents for their sad behaviour only to become entranced by the programme. She was shortly followed by our youngest. Soon, our close family was indeed close sharing bodily warmth together on the same sofa whilst the dog passed his time moving from knee to knee before compressing my genitals suddenly with his enormous paws leaping from the sofa to check whether his bowl was still empty. This added an extra layer of tension to each episode.
Series 2 has led to a continuation of an annoying habit my wife developed in Series 1 - shameless and vocal speculation of what was going to happen next. She announced "it's Jonas" during episode 3. While accepting that he was a possible perpetrator with powerful skills of people manipulation as well as being blond, he was unlikely to be the killer as he was only 3 and had last been seen firing his toy gun at his grandfather.
I have enjoyed hearing the Danish language again and consider myself fluent having now listened to it for 30 hours. While not a melodious language, it can teeter on the brink of a lilt before reverting to comparative ugliness gurgling like a blocked drain. Where a familiar name appears on the subtitles, the word once spoken sounds only distantly related to its more recognisable equivalent. I discovered too that the name of one of the main characters (Myg Poulsen) in Series 2 can only be pronounced authentically if you inflate your cheeks releasing the air at the same time as you declare the name..
Series 2 continued a number of blunt but effective dramatic devices to enhance the tension. My favourite has been the use of a distant piano riff played when Sarah Lund applied her considerable deductions skills, the riff punctuating each thoughtful pose until she would depart in haste from the place with the tinkley piano followed by her long suffering but appropriately named partner, Strange. It was a subtle piece of theatre, which I longed to be bastardised into a shot of Ms Lundt going into the Damer (or Ladies), disappearing into a cubicle, followed by silence, a few tinkly piano riffs ending with a flush and her running out to interview the Jens Peter Raben for the umpteenth time. This would be more realistic - I am sure modern day detectives do some of their best work on the bog.
There were many shrieks prior to us reaching the finale of series 2 thankfully of shock at where the plot had swung, rather than the continued compression of my genitals by the dog. And when we found out who did it, we were bereft that it was over.
For the record, Jonas was not the killer although he was the only one who seemed to have got what he had always wanted from the start.