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Meet the star of The Killing

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Got The Killing box set for Christmas? Then you're in good company.

Much of the Stylist office got the dark, tense and sporadically gruesome Danish crime series in their stocking this year.

The murky melodrama has inspired a US version and won rave reviews, a die-hard cult following and a BAFTA for best international show. But it’s Sofie Gråbøl, who plays The Killing’s knitwear-loving homicide detective Sarah Lund who has captured the nation’s imagination. Stylist sits down with one of the most talked about women of 2011.

How has the global success of The Killing affected you?

You have to try not to get carried away with it; forget about the BAFTA and all the recognition because it can become really terrifying that suddenly you have to live up to all these expectations. It’s nice to know there’s this huge audience waiting for you, but it’s hard not to get paralysed by the fear of letting people down.

You’re very different to the enigmatic and sometimes cold Sarah Lund; do you find it hard to get into character?

I’ve been playing her for so long, she’s almost like a relative now. I don’t really have to think, I just slip into her – or maybe she slips into me. Sarah is a lot smarter than I am but also a lot more closed up and unable to communicate emotions. The extraordinary thing is I don’t feel finished with her yet; she keeps fascinating me.

It’s fair to say the UK is obsessed with her jumper. Do you love it or hate it?

We’ve had our crises, the Jumper and me, but we’ve worked through them. I have surrendered to the jumper! It was love at first sight but then it just got so powerful that sometimes I felt like it was stronger than me. It has this almost iconic uniform quality to it though so now, I just put on the jumper and Sarah Lund is there. It does all my work for me. I hardly have to act; I just have to wear the jumper.

You appear in the Christmas Day episode of Absolutely Fabulous. What was that like?

I was a huge fan of it in the Nineties. So when Jennifer Saunders contacted me the idea was so outrageous I just had to do it. It was like two opposite worlds meeting: The Killing, where everything is suppressed, and Ab Fab where everything is big and far out. I only have a tiny cameo but that afternoon spent filming was like finally visiting the house of someone I’d always admired.

The Killing: Series 2 is out on DVD now (£39.99)

Picture credit: REX Features