Darkness: Those Who Kill on Acorn TV is a 2019 reboot of the acclaimed original Those Who Kill from 2011 (available here in the U.S.). In both series, a cop and a forensic psychologist, or profiler, team up to stop a serial killer. The team in Darkness: Those Who Kill is detective Jan Michelsen (Kenneth M. Christensen) and psychologist Louise Bergstrom (Natalie Madueño). Jan has been working the case of missing teen Julie Vinding (Alvilda Lyneborg Lassen) for 6 months with no success. When another teen girl disappears, the police bring in Louise. Once Jan and Louise team up, they begin to make progress. Yet, something about this killer doesn’t quite add up to a typical profile. Louise knows they won’t catch him until they figure it out.
Jan and Louise
Jan is a taciturn sort, not one for small talk. Yet he is clearly sensitive. It’s crushing him that he hasn’t found Julie, and he regularly visits her family. Jan is living in a crappy borrowed room due to a painful separation from his wife. He still wears his ring. When Louise comes on board, he’s not quick to warm up to her theories, but eventually he respects her input. Louise has reluctantly come back to the police to consult on this case after leaving the force altogether a few years earlier. Turns out she made a judgement error about a suspect back in London, so she has fled the field. Both she and Jan are the walking wounded, and they start to lean on each other a bit. They make a good team, kind of like Lauri and Tervo in the Finnish series All The Sins.
The killer in Darkness: Those Who Kill
The identity of the killer is immediately revealed to viewers as Anders Kjeldsen (Mads Riisom), an anti-social oaf with a record of assault and rape. 20 years earlier, he became obsessed with classmate Natasha, who disappeared on the night of prom. When the series kicks off, Anders kidnaps Emma Holst (Tessa Hoder), puts her in a yellow dress like Natasha and sticks her in a filthy basement. When Jan finds Natasha’s remains in a bog, the team is able to piece together who Anders is and why he is kidnapping young blond girls. But they still have to catch him. The basement belongs to Stine Velin (Signe Egholm Olsen), a rental car clerk who allows a threatening and occasionally violent Anders to come and go. Of course, we’re dying to know their backstory.
Our take on Darkness: Those Who Kill
For a series created in 2019, is sure doesn’t break any new ground, but Darkness: Those Who Kill is eminently watchable. I even binged it. As curt as he is, I actually like the character of Jan. What makes the series unique is that Anders is fascinating to watch, with his inarticulate rage that stems from childhood trauma. The Stine character is also interesting because of her odd, maybe even sick, attachment to Anders. Just when the series started to feel long, there was a twist that re-engaged my attention. The cat-and-mouse game was suspenseful enough to keep me hitting “next episode”.
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