What Up Yo.
Lets discuss “The Killing”.
More than once, the series has survived certain death…
And the loyalty of the fans, you can’t fuck with the visual storytelling community when it falls in love with a series.
Not many shows get put to sleep twice, only to have the die hard fans revolt and will it back to life.
Well, it’s a bit more involved than that…or is it?
Based upon the Danish television series “Forbrydelsen“, the American version was developed by Veena Sud and picked up by AMC.
The series stars Mireille Enos, who when the series premiered had just come off of the truly amazing series HBO’s “Big Love” …a series that delivered 3 high caliber seasons, then a lackluster 4th and then a final 5th season that was, in my opinion, fucking awful, rushed and almost destroyed the shows legacy in my mind.
The series also stars Joel Kinnaman…who I knew nothing about.
They’ play cops in a small community in the Pacific Northwest.
I think I’ve seen 2 sunny days in 3 seasons of the series.
Enos plays Sarah Linden. Linden had to leave the job because she went nuts during one of her last cases…becoming way too emotionally involved and devastated with a case she was investigating. We learn later in season 3 what that case was, why she became as obsessed as she did, and it’s brilliant.
She meets Kinnamans Holder when they are brought together to investigate the recent disappearance of Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay).
Rosie, a sweet 17 year old from a loving family, vanished after going out one night and within a few episodes…almost every character we are introduced to is a suspect.
Enos plays Linden as strong, hard working, Intelligent and a bit fragile from her previous situation. She has a deep passion for the job, and great love for her son…who she raises alone.
Cut to Holder.
We meet him and he looks like he was pulled off the streets and given a badge.
There is no discernible skill to this Detective that we can see immediately…and that’s his gift. He can blend where and when it’s most crucial. He is a young detective with a questionable past. He’s brash, unorthodox in his techniques…and he’s an excellent cop when paired with Linden.
The two of them together are unstoppable.
They are the quintessential odd-couple. The reckless cop and the by the book cop who compliment each other despite being complete opposites.
Listen. We have seen this many, many times before…but it is this balance between people that sustains relationships in real life. And between the direction, writing, acting, timing, pacing and raw chemistry between these two actors is what drew me in.
By the time the first season ends…the characters are fleshed out, vital and lucid.
I was invested completely in not only the case…but in both characters lives…and I relished in watching hour by hour.
They pulled off a smart and frustrating first season.
We questioned everyone while trying to figure out who killed Rosie Larson.
Each episode ended with another plausible explanation as to what happened to young Rosie.
Maybe her parents, Stan & Mitch Larsen played superbly by Brent Sexton & Michelle Forbes, played a part. Improbable at first…but possible as time goes on.
Maybe Belko (the under rated & under used Brendan Sexton III) did it? Working for Stan all those years and secretly falling for Rosie.
He’s a member of the family for the most part, he dated Mitches sister Terry (played by Jamie Anne Allman) at one point, something she hasn’t gotten over but he has.
Was he I love with Rosie?
Was he quietly hating Stan, burying his resentment for him under his loyalty…knowing Stan wouldn’t stand for him counting his 17 year old daughter.
These characters breathe. This family, tight and close when we meet them completely fucking unravel as the episodes roll out.
Then there’s Darren Richmond played by the dependable and solid Billy Campbell. He’s running for mayor, very connected politician, and Linden just doesn’t fucking like him. Each scene between them gets more and more tense as she believes with everything in her that he’s the guy.
But he has his minions, Gwen and Jamie played by Kristin Lehman and Eric Ladin, who are both in love with him in their own ways…and both have motives it turns out later.
Each actor in this series acts their hearts out.
You don’t feel you’re watching a series at times, but a documentary.
And that’s the sign of a great show…you forget your watching a series…you enter it’s world. It envelops you completely.
And thats what happens in “The Killing”
Maybe it was her friend Sterling
(Kacey Rohl) or Jasper, who is so sinister looking, who actor Richard Harmon plays so well we swear he kills girls every weekend after his first meeting with Linden And Holder.
This is the 3rd series I’ve seen Richard Harmon in, and I love this guy. Love him.
He is currently in the brilliant sci-fi series “Continuum”. That show is out of this world good. I hope we see more of this Harmon.
Maybe it was Rosie’s teacher Bennet Ahmed played by Brandon Jay McLaren. Poor fucker. Once Rosie’s father Stan learns they were close, Stan’s violent persona from his time in the Russian Mob resurfaces and he…
Now that were discussing this, there’s also the Russian mob angle…
And then, eventually, Holder himself becomes suspect…if not a suspect.
By the time season 1 ends, we didn’t know what the fuck was going on.
What we did know was Rosie was getting into some weird shit and she wasn’t the clean cut kid we thought she was when the tale began.
Tight as a drum storytelling and even better acting from all involved as each primary actor was given an opportunity to showcase their talents with terrific multi dimensional characters and meaty scenes with heavy content
It’s not easy to watch, it’s nice and dark and brooding.
I would finish and episode and have a new favorite actor each time.
So we reached the end of that first season…and we were given no killer, just left with more questions.
Fine by me, I couldn’t wait for season 2.
But fans were furious…well those weren’t fans, they were casual viewers that didn’t like being taken out of their comfort zones.
They didn’t like not knowing who killed Rosie.
But that’s the sign of great visual storytelling. Great television.
That is something that the aforementioned casual viewer never stopped to realize.
We had been seduced by the story, by the series…and we wouldn’t stay watching till we had an answer.
Again, many out there didn’t like that.
Season 2 premiers.
What they should have done (which is easy for me to write as it won’t cost me anything) was set out to piss people off even more…
Don’t solve it again.
I write this because at the end of season 2 they did solve who had killed Rosie…
But the focus behind the writing of the show had changed a bit.
The backlash to ending season one without offering a conclusion to the crime was so great, that they began to compromise the storytelling and began to try to appease the audience.
They were afraid people would stop watching.
They were afraid they would be taken off the air.
They were afraid.
So they solve the crime…and it’s was a fantastic mind bender.
You didn’t see it coming and just when you thought you had all figured out….
They throw another 1, 2 punch that just leveled you.
But I could sense a desperation in the writing in season 2. They had to wrap this up.
AMC shuts it down, just like “Rubicon” ( what the fuck AMC …seriously? that series was amazing)
Then the fans react.
I remember back in the 80’s ABC cancelled a little show called “Moonlighting” during it’s first season.
Fans began to write ABC to save the show, had to write them a lot to get the show back on the air…and it worked.
Now, 30 years into the future, no letters needed…
Just Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The fans roared…AMC relented and brought the show back to life for it’s 3rd season, which…in my opinion…was better than it’s first 2.
This is due in part to amazing performances given by Peter Sarsgaard and one of the best actors on the face…Mr. Elias Koteas.
In this series we go back to the case that was haunting Sarah Linden when the series began, and learn why she bugged out so fucking hard.
A young child watched his father brutally murder his mother while hiding in a closet. His father (Saarsgard) is now on death row weeks away from execution, and doubts begin to surface over whether he actually committed the murder or not.
There are also young homeless girls turning up dead…
When we return to the series…its 16 months later, Holder isn’t a punk ass anymore, but a hard core, suit wearing detective. Linden, after the trauma of seasons 1 7 2…leaves police work all together to heal, when they first see each other again…Holder needs assistance. He need Lindens brilliance, and he seeks her out.
She plays possum…she’s fine not being on the job anymore she claims..but this just isn’t true.
As the season unfolds…once again you’re in the hands of master storytellers here, you don’t know who to trust, what to believe and who to hope for…ecept for Linden & Holder, who’s relationship is a thing of pure beauty at this point, and the chemistry between the actors is…
So the third season concludes, we are given a killer…but something was off.
They were brought back to life with conditions,
“We will bring you back…but you must solve the crime at the end of the season. “
You can’t do that to artists.
You can’t tell a storyteller how to tell their story’s.
You simply cannot.
The final episode of the 3rd season, the final moments of that episode…
It felt downright rushed.
As if Verena Sud said…
“OK, I’ll give you a fucking amazing season of television here…and at the end I’ll just end the fucking thing…whether the story calls for it or not.”
So season 3 ends and AMC pulls out a 35 and gives “The Killing” another 2 in the back of the head.
“The Killing” is down, bleeding to death and left for dead…but this time the wound is fatal.
Then the fans stand up.
The Fans, me being one of them, utilized social media and made their voices heard.
They would’t let it die.
Well AMC didn’t listen this time, but Netflix…proving to be a massive power player in the Golden Age Of Televisions landscape…did.
Pulled up in a super ambulance, dragged “The Killing” inside and resuscitated the series.
Rumors began to float around the internet that “the Kiling” had been saved, snatched from the clutches of death himself.
It returns on August 1.
It’s a reason to rejoice people…It’s simply stellar storytelling and shouldn’t be missed by any fellow long-format series addict like myself.
Take it from your Uncle Wes. This series is phenomenal.
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