Mini-review: Those Who Kill 1×1 (A&E)

Just as bad as when it was in Danish

In the US: Mondays, 10/9c, A&E

There’s a lot of debate about the purpose of international remakes, particularly in the age of the internet, BBC4 and streaming services that allow you to watch the originals even before the remakes air.

I think there’s a point when

  1. It’s a good show
  2. Not many people will have seen it
  3. You do something good with it

So, for example, there was a point to Showtime’s remake of Prisoners of War/Hatufilm, Homeland, which told a different story from the original, which being on Israeli TV hardly anyone had seen; there was also a point to The Tunnel, Sky Atlantic/Canal+’s remake of Denmark/Sweden’s Bron/Broen, since it tied up the narrative considerably and gave it far more local colour and humour, even if the female lead character was nowhere near as good.

I will tell you what there’s is absolutely no point to, though: it’s A&E’s Those Who Kill, which fails on all three counts. Firstly, the original Danish show, Den Som Dræber, which aired on ITV3 in the UK and is available on Netflix in the US, was rubbish – a terrible attempt to make a US serial killer and crime show that treated women terribly and was unremarkable in every way, beyond featuring Lars Mikkelsen.

Neither of those would have been insurmountable issues, had the writers and producers actually done something good with it. But they haven’t. It’s almost exactly the same.

In it, Chloe Sevigny, who was so good in Sky Atlantic’s Hit and Miss but is utterly ignorable in this thanks to having to play a thankless, by the numbers, blank cipher of a rookie detective, goes through exactly the same motions as her Danish predecessor, assisted/hindered by dodgy university professor/potential serial killer James D’Arcy. The big change, if you can call it that, is that while Lars Mikkelsen’s character was a surprisingly supportive and emotive boss, James Morrison’s (Space: Above and Beyond, 24) is a surprisingly supportive and growling boss.

It’s clearly got a much bigger budget than the original, has Glen Morgan (Space: Above and Beyond, The X-Files) writing and producing, and Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team, The Blacklist) directs the pilot at least. But it adds nothing to something that was incredibly derivative and cliched in the first place.

This is rubbish in any language. I don’t need to review it because I’ve reviewed it already and I don’t need to watch any more of it because I’ve watched it already.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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