The Killing's Sarah Lund bows out - but is she a hero or villain?

Dec 17, 2012

SPOILER ALERT: Fans struggle to cope with life after series climax raises questions about justice

AS FANS of Sarah Lund adjust to life without their favourite Danish detective, many are asking if the character ended up as a vigilante hero on the run or an impulsive killer who is no better than the child kidnapper she spent so much time pursuing?

The shattering climax of the epic, three-series drama came on Saturday night when Lund (Sofie Grabol) put a bullet in the head of the creepy Zeeland executive Niels Reinhardt (Stig Hoffmayer) after he privately confessed to killing a young girl. It was an act of summary justice that destroyed Lund's chances of happiness with the chain-smoking special branch stud Matthias Borch (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and her newly reconciled son.

For The Independent's Nick Duerden the climax was a disappointment because "it had Lund do what the Sarah Lund of the previous 39 episodes would never have done: take leave of her senses". But he adds that devoted viewers would have "been fools" to have expected a happier outcome.

Vicky Frost, writing in The Guardian, is more positive about Lund's spur of the moment decision to execute the unrepentant Reinhardt. It was her "retort" to all the times she had seen justice not done, writes Frost. "The result of a career's-worth of girls abused and tortured – and a determination that Reinhardt should not be able to add to their number."

Writing for the Radio Times, Alison Graham says that whatever you make of her final act, life after Sarah Lund and The Killing is going to be difficult. "Though both have been in our lives for but a short time, their impact has been enormous, way beyond anything anyone could ever have imagined as they sat down to watch those first 20 episodes of a gloomy, humourless Danish crime drama in January last year."

Indeed, it seems the only person who isn't struggling to cope with life without Lund is the actress who played her. Grabol, who is appearing in a Copenhagen stage production of Fanny & Alexander, says she won't miss the messed-up Scandinavian sleuth because "she's fiction".

"It's not a realistic image of Danish life," Grabol tells the Daily Telegraph's Patrick Smith. "I mean, sometimes the sun shines in Denmark, sometimes it doesn't rain, and we don't all wear jumpers."

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