Something happened at the very end of this show, in the last ten minutes of the third season finale, that took me by surprise. I'd always enjoyed Forbrydelsen and marathoned the two previous seasons, but the conclusion of Sarah Lund's story made everything fall into place. I went back to the earlier cases, working my way backwards, and the amazing result is that Forbrydelsen reads like an actual novel, a story more concerned with the inner workings of its main character than the cases she solves. What sets Forbrydelsen apart as a crime drama is Sarah Lund's approach to her profession, and the roots of the inevitable ending are right there at the beginning - the moment when she realizes that she will be unable to solve the case within the confines of her department and goes off grid, regardless of whether or not it destroys her relationships and her career. Sarah Lund is driven by the idea of finding the truth, and in her pursuit, is utterly incorruptable, which more often than not makes the fallout even more destructive for her.
The show makes it a point to portray the context of her investigations, and the cases always have a political backdrop that plays into the central dynamic of the show: the system wishes nothing more than for normalcy to return, and prefers some kind of resolution, even if the true perpetrator remains free. Lund doesn't, she almost seems physically unable to stop, and the dark side of that thirst is that it also destroys lives. The family hit by the terrible tragedy of a murdered daughter never finds peace, and the ultimate resolution completely tears them apart. Lund loses a partner, a planned idyllic family life with her boyfriend, the relationship with her only son, because the one thing she is built for, she excels in, is hunting the truth to the brutal end. Sometimes it seems like she doesn't do it because she works for the police - being in the police is merely a vessel for her obsession, and when that vessel fails, she feels just as comfortable working outside its confines - which ultimately leads to that moment in the car, in the final scene of the episode, where she has a choice between her own life and her own family and justice and once again finds that they are mutually exclusive.
Lund is restless and stoic (Gråbøl effectively portrays her as a woman who never smiles and always assumes the worst about people, and barely ever is wrong), and the life to come will probably suit her better than that quiet existence in the quaint house with the small garden - because ultimately, Lund is better suited to rip out the roots and get to the bottom of things than to nourish anything to fruition. So she takes one last look at the life that was never truly hers, dissembles her phone and runs.
Forbrydelsen (2007-2012), starring Sofie Gråbøl, Søren Malling, Lars Mikkelsen, Morten Suurballe, Bjarne Henriksen, Ann Eleonora Jørgensen.