3. The Police
Sveistrup thinks of Lund “more as an alien who has to deal with these humans”. “These humans” include her police chief Lennart Brix (Morten Suurballe) — “He tries to protect her but his own ambitions don’t always match with Lund’s abilities” — and in season one, her partner Jan Meyer (Søren Malling) who slowly earns her respect and pierces her armour — until he is heart-wrenchingly killed in episode 18.
“The whole idea of the first season was to take things and persons from Lund. The plot line was to ruin her life. I think I wanted to experiment with the Sarah Lund character that lost a lot of things like the biblical story of Job. I wanted to see if she lost her son, her relationship and her partner would she still feel the need, the urge to solve the crime? When she did that, that proved her character, her destiny.
“Soren Malling, who plays Jan Meyer, knew from the beginning that he was going to die. He didn’t like that very much. We had a meeting around episode 15 with him and Sofie. And I said, “Okay Soren, we have to talk about something different today because now is the time — in a few episodes you will die.” It was a shock for him because he had actually forgotten about it. He thought I had changed my mind. It was very essential for Lund’s story and nothing can compete with that.
“Soren and the guy who plays the killer in the first season Nicolaj Kopernikus and the guy who plays the killer in season two Mikael Birkkjær, they have formed a club called 'The Dead Ones', the ones that got knocked off. Whenever I meet them, they tease me about that.”