Based on the Danish show Forbrydelsen, The Killing is a top notch crime drama with enough weight and originality to keep you watching over the course of this season set. The first two seasons follows Seattle detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) as they attempt to solve the murder teenager Rosie Larson. The third sees the duo tackle a series of murders that somehow connect to Linden’s past, while the truncated fourth continues the dangling threads of the previous season.
The Killing unfolds at a deliberate pace with the main thrust of the first two series showing the police investigation, but also the fall-out of the murder on the Larson family and how it impacts on the pending mayoral elections. The sprawling scope of this storytelling means that The Killing is rich on character development and each member of the cast gets the opportunity to shine. Enos and Kinnaman in particular get to expand their characters in a way that never feels laboured, creating authentic detectives in a world driven by bureaucracy. The rest of the cast are also impressive and Billy Campbell’s Mayoral candidate Darren Richmond adds an interesting dimension to the show, while also helping to offer ample plot red-herrings.
Created by Veena Sud, The Killing falls inline with the likes of seminal fellow murder-mysteries like Twin Peaks and True Detective in the rich way it delivers its storytelling and dark visuals palette. In fact, Nic Pizzalato the creator of True Detective scripted two of the episodes in the first series and it’s not hard to imagine that the two shows take place in the same world.
The multi-stranded narrative of the show is one of its strongest elements, however it also leads to the show’s biggest flaws. The occasional episode feels like filler and sometimes the elements of Liden’s personal life feel like unnecessary complications to offer additional character motivation. It’s easy to over look these because the rest of the show is so strong.
The Killing stands out amongst the many detective shows currently clogging the airwaves. Good acting and quality writing mean that it’s a cut above the rest. It’s weighty and developed, with enough twists and turns to keep viewers hooked. However, it’s the rich characterisation that helps the show standout. The final season though feels unnecessary.
Commentaries and documentaries offer a good insight into this impressive detective series. The disc is worth buying for the show alone, but this adds enough extra value for you to dig in for more information.