This was a series filled not with domestic grief but with, I would guess, that of a nation mourning its role in the war on terror.
It's true, though I doubt this one programme could be said to speak for the whole nation. The second series dealt not with personal trauma, like the first, but with politics, and was predicated on certain ideas about the Danish involvement in Afghanistan. Perhaps it's worth at least spelling those ideas out.
The series starts with the murder of a lawyer, whose last moments are filmed. She reads out a message, purportedly from "The Muslim League", accusing "the hypocritical Danish Government and the infidel Danish people" of crimes against humanity in Afghanistan. The video is posted on the website of a Muslim, Kolmani, who owns a bookshop that stocks extremist Islamic literature. His website is used as a forum for extremist groups, and flyers he had printed in his dead wife's name were found at the crime scene. And so on. It's not looking good. He's brought in for questioning - but he has an alibi, and doesn't know who posted the video, though he had some contact with him. He says, at the end of the interview, once the police are satisfied that he's innocent, that this mysterious stranger sounded like a military man.
Just about everyone in The Killing - both series - is capable of duplicity. You can't trust a thing the bastards say. Surprises round every corner. But as soon as Kolmani tells the police that it was a military man who was in contact with him, and who was responsible for the posting of the video, you know that that was indeed the case. Whatever twists and turns there might be in the plot, you can be sure that the one twist and turn there won't be is that Muslim extremists were, after all, behind the whole thing. Our man says it sounded like a military man: it was a military man. He may have some strange ideas and sport a big beard, this Kolmani, but he's not going to lie. He even shakes hands with the police - including, if I recall correctly, Sarah Lund - as he leaves. What? A Muslim extremist shaking hands with a woman police officer? But yes, ignore any alarm bells, because as a Muslim he's denied any hint of duplicity, any of the moral complexity of the other characters. We're not going to see him again, no matter how many of the other early plot developments are revisited later on. He's a cardboard figure used to highlight the corruption, the venality, at the heart of the Danish establishment - and in particular to show how the war on terror feeds that corruption.
What it's all about, then, is the army covering up a possible atrocity against civilians in Afghanistan. No prizes for guessing whether there was indeed such an atrocity, or whether the family that may have been killed were Taliban informers, as claimed, or were in fact simply innocents up against a few psycho Danes. The killer of the lawyer, and of the later victims, is busy destroying evidence of this atrocity by getting rid of all the witnesses. I don't think I'm giving too much away for anyone who's yet to see it: this is the scenario as established almost from the start. What's not clear until the end is the identity of the killer, and who in authority may be covering up for him.
On top of that we have a set of venal politicians keen on playing up the threat of terrorism so they can introduce ever more draconian laws in their war-on-terror campaign: sacrificing, as they like to say in typically cynical and self-serving fashion, a few minor democratic freedoms now for the sake of preserving democracy in the long run.
All this, as I say, is established early on. Which is to say, the army are a bunch of corrupt and vicious killers, while the politicians are a bunch of corrupt lying bastards. The war on terror is a scam, and soldiers in Afghanistan are out there killing innocent civilians. Muslims...well, apart from that nice bearded one-dimensional Kolmani we have the odd character of Bilal, a loyal army man who's up to his neck in the army cover-up, and, as we discover, is a Muslim. But he hates extremism. Hates it. For a while he's the prime suspect. But he was only obeying orders. In a particularly odd scene towards the end he uncovers the suicide belt he's wearing, and, while everyone has time to throw themselves onto the floor out of harm's way, shouts "For king and country!" before blowing himself up. You see what a loyal citizen he was? How wrong we were ever to doubt him!
I thoroughly enjoyed The Killing 2. It was brilliantly plotted, superbly acted, and wonderfully filmed. So many scenes seemed....just right. I don't think the political assumptions behind it particularly matter for an appreciation of what high quality television it is. The politics were secondary. But they're there, and I think it's worth at least being aware of them.