A slow-burning, dramatic thriller with top tier writing, The Killing is on a level that all cop dramas should strive for. Unfortunately due to the wave of ADD sweeping over this country, everyone gave up on this show after season one. The first two seasons revolve around the story of one girl’s murder and the conspiracy surrounding her death. The identity of the killer is not revealed until the end of Season Two; apparently this frustrated people and so with the premiere of Season Two along came a drop in ratings big enough for consideration for it to be cancelled. Luckily, through fan outcry, AMC green lit a third season resurrecting the series for the first but not final time. Despite the demand for more mystery, AMC once again cancelled the show after the season three finale leaving everyone on a cliffhanger with no signs of ever being pulled back in. But in the age of NETFLIX, it was brought back to life for an unprecedented second time for a final six episodes, Season Four; the final season.
Where this show truly shines is in the relationship between the two main protagonists, Detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman). Two police detectives who don’t get along; this has been done before, but despite this arguably over-used plot device it can still be compelling story telling if done properly. The serious, no-nonsense Linden clashes beautifully, and often times hilariously, with Holder’s loose, rebel without-a-cause attitude and despite their initial disdain for one another it is in their mismatched partnership that a unique and unbreakable bond begins to form. A stronger partnership brings out the best in each of them when it comes to their jobs; their personal lives are in shambles, or at least on their way to being a cliché, and they know it. Due to Linden’s commitment to her job her life (mainly her son) is put by the wayside. A chasm begins to take shape between them and this weighs heavily on her and at times it hurts her work. Holder is a former narcotics officer who spent years undercover doing drug busts and even partaking in the drugs himself. When we first meet Holder he is a recovering drug addict who wants nothing more than to prove his self-worth to not only himself but his newly acquired partner. The darker the case the more they must rely on each other, and in the department of Homicide the sun doesn’t come out nearly often enough.
With such a morose storyline an equally glum setting is necessary to create an immersive and engaging experience, and the rainy and gray location of Seattle is perfect for what transpires over the series. Often times the emotions and scenarios these characters find themselves dealing with matches the dreariness of Seattle which paints a vivid picture and does not allot for very much happiness. This is a police drama and mystery that is intent on telling a story however dark it may be or end up. If the humor lends itself to the story naturally then it most certainly is there, but the aim of the creators is to produce something that causes its audience to feel something; if that feeling is sadness and uneasiness then so be it.
As wonderful as seasons three and four are, the series will be best known for its first two seasons and the arc of a truly heart wrenching and horrifying tale of murder and conspiracy. A murdered young woman, a lost daughter never to be returned to her family safely, and two determined albeit fragile detectives bent on solving and maybe in some way assuaging the unimaginable pain of a family ruined and violated by a brutal loss. Throughout two seasons we live with a family trying, somehow, to move on and realizing this will be the most difficult thing they will ever face. Relationships are tested, some are irrevocably damaged and nothing, no matter how fiercely sought after, will ever bring their daughter back. It’s sad and real and not always finished, if you give it a chance you will be profoundly moved. There are bad guys and good but no one character is without their many faults, and so despite being wicked or virtuous, in the end, these are all just people. It is their decisions and actions in such dire moments that determine where they end up. You feel for these people, even the evil ones, and none of this would be possible without a phenomenal cast and equally talented writers.
The best and worst part of every series no matter how amazing it all turns out is the series finale. It feels like the departure of an old friend with whom you have spent many nights and moments with. In the end, even with all the obstacles these two characters face, they come to a satisfying and somewhat open ended finish (maybe more episodes… please; doubt it.). Give this series a chance; expect a slow pace during the course of the entire series and become enamored by these characters and the stories they tell. You won’t regret it, I promise.
TV Series: 4 Seasons
Starring: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Liam James, Billy Campbell, Michelle Forbes, Brent Sexton, Joan Allen
Network: AMC; NETFLIX
Creator: Veena Sud
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Season 1: Story: 5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 3.5
Season 2: Story: 5/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 3.5
Season 3: Story: 4/ Acting: 4.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
Season 4: Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
SERIES OVERALL: 4.5 Nerdskulls
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