The Killing (U.S. TV Series)

[I really like this series so I decide to show you what stuff I like…]

The Killing is an American crime drama television series based on the Danishtelevision series with the same English title, but known as Forbrydelsen (The Crime) in Danish. The American version was developed by Veena Sud and produced by Fox Television Studios and Fuse Entertainment. The series’ first season, consisting of 13 hour-long episodes, premiered on the cable channel AMC on April 3, 2011, with a two-hour premiere. On June 13, 2011, AMC ordered a second season that contained 13 episodes, which debuted on April 1, 2012, with a two-hour premiere. AMC announced on July 27, 2012, that the series would not be renewed for a third season.However, in late 2012, the entertainment trade paper Variety reported that the show will return to AMC, with a planned May 2013 debut. On January 15, 2013, AMC and Fox Television Studios announced that the series has been renewed for a 12 episode third season. Production will start on February 25, 2013 in Vancouver, Canada.

Cast

Main

  • Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden, the lead homicide detective
  • Billy Campbell as Darren Richmond, politician running for mayor of Seattle
  • Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder, Sarah’s homicide detective partner
  • Michelle Forbes as Mitch Larsen, Rosie’s mother
  • Brent Sexton as Stan Larsen, Rosie’s father
  • Kristin Lehman as Gwen Eaton, Darren’s lover and his campaign adviser
  • Eric Ladin as Jamie Wright, Darren’s campaign manager
  • Brendan Sexton III as Belko Royce, Stan’s co-worker and close friend (regular season 1, guest star season 2)
  • Jamie Anne Allman as Terry Marek, Mitch’s younger sister and Rosie’s aunt
  • Annie Corley as Regi Darnell, Sarah’s social worker and mother figure also helps take care of Sarah’s son Jack (regular season 1, guest star season 2)
  • Liam James as Jack Linden, Sarah’s son (recurring season 1, regular season 2)

Recurring

Series overview

Set in SeattleWashington, the series follows the investigation into the murder of local teenager Rosie Larsen, with each episode covering approximately 24 hours.

Season one (2011)

The first season covers the first two weeks of the investigation and has three main storylines: the police investigation into Rosie’s murder, the Larsen family’s attempts to deal with their grief, and the fluctuating electoral fortunes of a political campaign that becomes embroiled in the case.

Season two (2012)

The second season debuted on April 1, 2012, with a two-hour premiere. In January 2012, creator Veena Sud stated that Rosie Larsen’s killer will not be revealed until the end of the second season. The season resumes the investigation into the murder and reveals secrets about the Larsen family, as well as a possible conspiracy within the campaign race and the Seattle police department. The Larsen murder case gets closed, with the discovery of those involved in it.

Season three (2013)

A year after the Rosie Larsen case, Stephen Holder searches for a runaway girl and uncovers a string of murders connecting to Sarah Linden’s previous murder investigation. Linden, no longer a detective, must return to both a career and a case she had put behind her.

Production

The pilot was ordered by AMC in January 2010, and then was picked up for a full series order in August 2010. The series is filmed in VancouverBritish Columbia, with some scenes in season two filmed in CoquitlamBritish Columbia at Riverview Hospital. Production began on the pilot episode on December 2, 2010. The pilot is written by series creator and executive producer Veena Sud and is directed by Patty Jenkins.

In contrast to the original Danish series, executive producer Veena Sud explained, “We’re creating our own world. We are using the Danish series as a blueprint, but we are kind of diverging and creating our own world, our world of suspects and, potentially, ultimately who killed Rosie Larsen.” Sud describes the series as “slow-burn storytelling in a sense that every moment that we don’t have to prettify or gloss over or make something necessarily easy to digest, that we’re able to go to all sorts of places that are honest, and dark, and beautiful and tragic, in a way that is how a story should be told.”

Cancellation and revival

AMC announced on July 27, 2012, that the series would not be renewed for a third season. However, Fox Television Studiosannounced that they were attempting to shop the show to other networks. In August 2012, it was revealed that Fox Television Studios was in talks with both DirecTV and Netflix in an attempt to revive the series. In November 2012, it was confirmed that Fox Television Studios were in final negotiations with Netflix in order to continue the series for a third season. AMC, who had originally canceled the show, was also included in part of the deal. The deal in question would gain the network the privilege of airing the new episodes before they are hosted by Netflix in return for sharing any associated production costs with Netflix. Variety reported on November 30, 2012, that the show will be returning to AMC, planning for a May 2013 debut, with production set to begin months before that. Cast members Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are confirmed to return, with Veena Sud as showrunner and returning writers including executive producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin. On December 12, 2012, it was confirmed that cast members Billy CampbellMichelle Forbes and Brent Sexton will not return for the third season.

On January 15, 2013, AMC and Fox Television Studios announced that the series has been renewed for a 12 episode third season. Production will start on February 25, 2013 in Vancouver, Canada.

Reception

Critical reception

Season one

The series premiere received universal acclaim from critics, and holds a Metacritic score of 84/100. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter gave the series a very positive review, calling it “excellent, absorbing and addictive. When each episode ends, you long for the next – a hallmark of great dramas.” Goodman also praised Mireille Enos‘ performance as the lead character Sarah, saying “It’s not until you watch Enos play Sarah for a while that it sinks in – there hasn’t been a female American character like her probably ever.”Entertainment Weekly‘s Ken Tucker gave it a B+, saying “The acting is strikingly good” and that “Some viewers may find The Killing a little too cold and deliberate, but give it time. Its intensity builds steadily, giving the series unexpected power.” Alex Strachan of The Vancouver Sun says the series “is soaked in atmosphere and steeped in the stark realism of Scandinavian crime novelists Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson” and that it “is not as much about a young girl’s murder as it is a psychological study of what happens afterward, how a tight-knit community tries to recover and how a dead child’s mother, father and siblings learn to deal with their pain in their own private ways.” Matt Roush of TV Guide applauded the series, calling the acting “tremendous” and that he “was instantly hooked by the moody atmosphere of this season-long murder mystery set in Seattle.” He went on to say “What really stands out for me, in this age of cookie-cutter procedurals, is how The Killing dramatizes the devastation a violent death has on a family, a community, on the people involved in the investigation. Nothing about this show is routine.”

Subsequent episodes were met with lesser praise by some critics, criticizing the show’s reliance upon increasingly implausible red herrings to drive each episode, and the withholding of details about each characters’ background, especially Rosie’s, thus making them difficult to relate to or empathize with.

The first season finale was met with negative reviews from a number of critics. The Los Angeles Times called it “one of the most frustrating finales in TV history”, with Alan Sepinwall of HitFix.com calling the end “insulting”. Finally, Maureen Ryan of AOL TV said the finale “killed off any interest I had in ever watching the show again.” “[The show] began last spring looking like the smartest, most stylish pilot in years,” complained Heather Havrilevsky in The New York Times Magazine. “Fast-forward to the finale, in which we learn that what we’ve been watching is actually a 26-hour-long episode of Law & Order, and we’re only halfway through it.”

Season two

The early seasonal episodes received generally favorable reviews from critics. Lori Rackl of the Chicago Sun-Times stated: “Few television shows are as addictive as this pensive, wonderfully paced suspenser.” The Washington Post‘s Hank Stuever stated: “My own enjoyment of The Killing begins and ends with the gloom so brilliantly conveyed by its pace and performances.” Brian Lowry ofVariety stated the series remained “compelling,” adding “the writers… are adept at overcoming the stodgy pace by dangling tantalizing clues near each hour’s end, creating a strong pull to see what transpires next.” HitFix‘s Alan Sepinwall compared this season to the first and called it “better”. He added: “The performances are still good, and now the characterization is a bit better. When you add that to the fine atmosphere… and you view the mystery itself as a kind of necessary evil that allows you to see the parts of the show that do work, then it’s not bad.”

The season finale “What I Know” received mixed reviews. Sepinwall stated: “I’d like to say that season 2 of The Killing was an improvement on season 1, and in some ways, it probably was. The second season certainly did a better job of doing what Veena Sud claimed to be doing last year, in that it took advantage of the extra time to sketch in some of the characters… I honestly feel like any kinder feelings I have for the second season came from the complete lack of investment I had in it.” Sean McKenna of TV Fanatic rated the finale 4.7 out of 5 stars, but, upon first viewing, “wasn’t sure what to feel. I wasn’t elated. I wasn’t excited,” however, after watching it again, was “sucked into the world, mesmerized not by the victory of our hero cops…but by the gut-wrenching moments that unfolded.” CraveOnline‘s William Bibbiani called the finale “an odd duck”. After citing Jamie’s early revelation as “melodramatic silliness”, Bibbiani added: “The rest of the episode gets its job done, with one major, glaring flaw. The characters end up more or less where they need to be, but some nearly ridiculous loose ends remain.” Brandon Nowalk of The A.V. Club rated this finale a C-, calling it “so unconvincing”, adding “I couldn’t believe how little all this resolution affected me after The Killing so thrillingly took my grudging engagement for a ride a few weeks ago. This is the same show that delivered Richmond’s hospital nightmare, the hunt for Holder, the anti-Western standoff “Sayonara, Hiawatha“, and the crazy train of the last two weeks? No, this is the full-circle episode, the one that takes the show back to its roots. Wah wah.”

Ratings

When it premiered, the pilot was AMC‘s second-highest original series premiere following The Walking Dead. The premiere drew 2.7 million viewers and a 2 household rating. The two encores of the premiere episode brought the ratings of the premiere up to a total of 4.6 million total viewers and a 3.7 household rating. The UK premiere on Channel 4 brought in 2.2 million viewers. In the second season, the viewership and ratings dipped to a series low 1.59 million viewers and 0.6 rating with adults aged 18–49.

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