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Review: AMC’s ‘The Killing’

Posted by MissBonnified on May 24th, 2011
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The-Killing-promo-poster.jpgI love crime shows. I have no idea why. I could happily watch hours upon hours of “Law and Order : SVU”, “Bones” and “CSI : NY.” Maybe that’s why I was so excited to hear about “The Killing.” I’ve learned from past experience not to judge a show based upon it’s seemingly simple description. Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about it :

Set in Seattle, Washington, the series follows the police investigation, the grieving family and the suspects, after the homicide of a young girl, Rosie Larsen.

Sounds pretty simple, right? That’s what I thought too….until I started watching.

Location, Location, Location

Here’s what I know about Seattle.

- It rains all the time.
- The city apparently has a ton of super good coffee spots.
- It’s the birthplace of grunge.
- The Cullen family don’t live there but live in Forks.

I’ve only been to the airport once for a brief layover so I don’t really know what it’s like to live there but here’s my overall impression based upon the show. It’s gloomy. It almost never stops raining. Everyone there is just as pale, if not paler, than the fictional family of vampires living in the same state. All the kids look beyond emo. No one wears makeup (except the high school boys….and the campaign advisor) and almost everyone dresses straight out of the L.L. Bean catalog - super granola.

Given the nature of the show, I think they did a great job picking Seattle for the setting. It has everything you could ever want for a murder-mystery. It’s got the constant gloom factor, it’s ALWAYS a dark and stormy night and there’s a lot of angst-y, super emo-fied, troubled teenagers skulking around in the constant drizzle.

Sherlock Holmes Is Now A Chick

Mireille Enos plays Sarah Linden, the lead homicide detective on the case. You get the feeling that she not only sees things other people might not but she misses NOTHING. Every detail registers on her stern face and she always looks like she’s concentrating on something. That’s a great trait to have as a detective. I also get the feeling she’s like a lioness stalking her prey - the killer(s). Based upon her boss letting the newcomer know that she’s a hard act to follow, I definitely get the impression she gets results and closes cases.

stephen-holder-mireille-enos.jpgSo Sherlock had Winston and Sarah has Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder, Sarah’s homicide detective partner. So far, besides being her partner, he doesn’t really remind me of Winston at all. I can’t quite explain why but Stephen makes me feel like I need to take a shower. There’s something about him that reminds me of a slimy otter. I can’t put my finger on it but I can’t bring myself to trust him. In this sense, Joel is great. He’s really good at somehow mixing together the rebel without a cause, the emo / sunshine deprived Seattle youth, bad cop and reformed punk into one character. I want to believe he’s on the side of the law….but I can’t be quite sure. Guess I’ll have to keep watching!

Family Ties

So here’s what really sets this awesome series apart from the rest of the crime shows. Most crime shows solve multiple crimes within the season. In most cases, you have some sense of closure by the end of the episode unless it’s a multi-episode arc. “24″ was such a sensation because it took the events of one day and broke it up into hour piece segments.

What “The Killing” does is try to solve one murder.

It explores in gritty, dirty, tragic detail not just the trials law enforcement encounters when trying to piece together the whodunit but it also shows the audience who they are as people. You see the strain the job puts on Sarah’s relationship with both her son and her fiance. You see how the death of a family member affects the family itself. It’s not like other series where you witness a mother mourn for her child in a 10 second clip. Part of what makes “The Killing” so chilling for me is the sense that I’m a silent observer in a family’s very private and very painful moment.

Final Thoughts

One of the reasons why I especially like this show is because of the cast. They aren’t supermodel gorgeous (don’t get me wrong, they aren’t ugly by any means) nor are they well muscled (at least, not that I can tell). They look like you and me - normal people. They wear clothes I see in catalogs delivered to my doorstep. I wouldn’t wear the weird sweaters Sarah wears but it’s something that is strangely familiar to me. I’m not saying the casts of other crime shows don’t look like real people. They do….but for some reason, I never really thought of them as someone I could see as my neighbor.

The people who live in this world do feel like people I would know and see walking around my town if I were to live in Seattle. Watching a family grieve for the loss of one of their own makes you feel somewhat bound to them. Maybe that’s why this show hooked me from the beginning. That and I want to know who killed Rosie and why. I want justice for her and her family. This is the power and the draw of this show for me. It got me to become invested in the outcome. Bravo, AMC.


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