Hell-evision: The Killing (AMC)

Before you read anything else I’ve got to say here, let me start with this:  I was a Twin Peaks fanatic.  That show was liquid canvas – everything in it was interesting, complex, challenging, beautiful, horrific, ugly, wonderful, scary, and more.  It blew what I laughingly refer to as “my mind.”  As much as I’ve loved and obsessed over many many TV shows since then (Xena, X-Files, Supernatural) – none have approached the possession of my mind, heart, and soul quite as much as Twin Peaks did.

Except for LOST – it transcended television.  Yes, I even loved the finale more than any episode of anything ever, and no I don’t care if you hated it. Ummm . . . shit, I lost my point.

Oh yeah, my point is that AMC’s new series The Killing could potentially be on of those obsession-creating TV shows.  All of the requirements are there:  Remote locale?  Check.  Quirky denizens?  Check.  Deliberate pace, atmospheric photography, and moody music?  Check, check, and check.  AMC also hired talented actors, and that means everything in a show like this; they also gave it a gimic – each episode is 1 day in the investigation.  While it’s based on a Danish TV show of the same name, AMC’s The Killing has a lot more to do with the aforementioned Twin Peaks.  Heck, even the title credits and music are highly reminiscent of David Lynch’s television experiment.

Mireille Enos

Mireille Enos

It takes place in the US Northwest, starts with the murder of a high school girl, and ends up involving a lot of unexpected people in town – all of whom seem to know more than they’re saying.  Except of course for the parents who are emotionally comatose from the tragedy.  Any of this sound familiar?  How about “Who Killed Laura Palmer… I mean…Rosie Larsen?”  You see where I’m going with this.  And yet, despite every ounce of me wanting to scream “RIP OFF!!!!” at the top of my lungs – The Killing is good stuff.

It’s also not a carbon copy of Peaks.  So far, there’s no hint of supernatural mumbo-jumbo going on.  The investigator is not FBI, she’s a Seattle homicide detective and it’s her last day on the job.  She plans to uproot with her son and head to California to be with her fiancé, but the case (and maybe something else) is keeping her from leaving.  Her partner is a new homicide detective – it’s his first day on the job – and they are as different as can be.  Mireille Enos‘s Sarah Linden seems burned-out and lost – every move seems forced as though she has to will herself to take each step.  Whereas Joel Kinnaman‘s Stephen Holder is electric – he’s like a maybe-nicer/maybe-skeevier cop version of House without the uber-genius.  Or maybe with the uber-genius – it’s hard to tell but every scene with Kinnaman in it is hard to look away from.  Together, they make an interesting partnership as neither trusts the other, but they’re both polite and pleasant and appear to want to solve the case.

Speaking of the crime, it’s unclear exactly what’s happened to poor teenage Rosie.  After 4 full episodes, we are still only aware of a few facts – and some of those are likely misleading.  The flashed scenes of her murder, the creepy camera video (that’s not what – or even who – it appears to be), the body, the descriptions of her lasts moments, and the unending grief of Rosie’s family all serve to hammer home the harsh reality of a shocking death like this.  I have a feeling we’ve not seen the worst yet.

Be warned though – The Killing is a slow burn.  If you don’t dig on languid-paced, atmospheric dramas, this probably isn’t going to work for you.  But if you liked any of the shows I’ve mentioned, enjoy mysteries, or respect the arts of acting or writing – give this show a chance.  If I’m right, you’ll be just like me at the end of each episode – frustrated that you’ve got to wait a week for more.

Joel Kinnaman

Joel Kinnaman

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About De7en

Don't let the day job fool you, this computer consultant knows the Ooky Spooky. De7en was weaned by Jaws, suffered through puberty with Carrie, and tore into adulthood hand-in-glove with Freddy. From foreign frights and classic cuts to gallons of gore and more extreme fare, De7en is always ready to dig into something fresh.