The Killing: The Complete First Season
by Jef Burnham
Now available on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
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Who killed Rosie Larsen? This drives the entire narrative of this Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-nominated series, adapted from Danish television’s Forbrydelsen. Each installment of The Killing’s 13-episode first season covers a single day in the investigation into seventeen-year-old Rosie Larsen’s murder. Set in Seattle, Washington, the series follows three primary interwoven narrative threads including homicide detectives Linden and Holder’s investigation, the mounting tensions among the grieving Larsens, and Seattle politician Darren Richmond’s mayoral campaign. Everyone has something to hide. Everyone has their secrets. But as Linden and Holder delve further into this mystery, they find that no one had more secrets than Rosie herself.
Sounds an awful lot like Twin Peaks, doesn’t it? In truth, I agreed to review this series precisely because its synopsis read like that of Twin Peaks, which is a series I am truly fond of. At the very least, I thought, I could bitch about it not being as good as Twin Peaks or about it blatantly ripping off Twin Peaks. The Killing indeed bears more than a passing resemblance to Twin Peaks at times, but aside from a few major plot points and set pieces, The Killing is very much its own series. And a terrific one at that!
The Killing most notably stands apart from Twin Peaks in its overall lack of Lynchian craziness, but more importantly in its distinct and varied cast of characters, bolstered by stellar performances across the board. In particular, Mireille Enos, whose performance earned her both an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination, and Joel Kinnaman as detectives Linden and Holder, respectively, do an impressive job of carrying the season through to its nerve-wracking finale. The very inclusion of Holder, in fact, stands out as one of the series’ most integral and engaging elements. Holder transfers to Seattle’s Homicide Division from Narcotics in the pilot, and unlike Linden, who approaches the investigation with the utmost professionalism (until she becomes crazy obsessed in later episodes, that is), Holder conducts his inquiries like a street-hardened Narcotics officer, often utilizing Narc tactics to uncover new information.
Although endlessly watchable, I will admit that a few things about The Killing irked me. At times, I felt they might have strayed a bit more from Twin Peaks than they do, as some connections between the two series are pretty explicit. Additionally, I found the extreme apathy characterizing the entirety of Rosie’s high school exceedingly hard to swallow, and some of the explanations for dead ends in Linden and Holder’s investigation more than a bit far-fetched. That said, the pros here far outweigh the cons, and I highly recommend The Killing, particularly for fans of crime drama.
The Complete First Season set boasts an extended version of the season finale, exclusive to this release. However, since I did not watch the series as it aired, I can’t speak to the differences between the extended and broadcast versions of the finale, but the promise of this additional footage certainly gives fans of the series an added incentive to make the purchase. Additionally, this set includes commentary on the pilot with Executive Producer/writer Veena Sud, commentary on the extended finale with Mireille Enos and writer Nicole Yorkin, “An Autopsy of The Killing” featurette, deleted scenes, and a gag reel.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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