Sarah Lund vs Laure Berthaud

So. You’re a crook, a colleague, a swain: which of TV’s top female cops do you fear or hope for? The French Berthaud of Spiral is needy, sulky. There’s an element of the kittenish. The Danish Laure of The Killing is laconic and schtum to the point of surliness. Both are romantic figures. Both are richly sympathetic.

I suppose it’s important that Laure is a fantastic colleague, and supports, sisters or mothers the more wayward of her team. When she does get romantic (if that is quite the word for her office liaison) it’s unwisely. Sarah, on the other hand, is an appalling colleague: she doesn’t so much upstage or suspect everyone around her as dismiss them as confusing or distracting her detective powers.

Indeed, isn’t it true that Berthaud is just about riding the tiger of the chaos of her investigations whilst Lund has merely to commune with her own understanding of the swinishness of the world to emerge with a culprit, eventually?

By a nose, Lund is the more interesting character because she gives so little away.

Anyway, they are the amongst most absorbing cops we’ve ever had, though Wallander and Maigret would give them a good race. Jane Tennison is in there, batting for the old bats and perhaps less fantastic. Perfectly English, Tennison can’t offer the touristic allure of the younger pair.

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Publication date

23 November 2011


On TV & Radio