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Customer Review

118 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Savvy And Smart Mystery For Adults--Reminiscent Of "Twin Peaks" Minus The Extravagant Quirkiness, May 20, 2011
This review is from: The Killing: Season 1 (DVD)
Note: Many people felt cheated at the resolution of Season One when questions about the central mystery were still unresolved. So beware, if this is a deal breaker for you--"The Killing" may not satisfy exactly what you are expecting.

AMC, having established itself a leader in smart and sophisticated counter-programming (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Rubicon), serves up another winner with "The Killing"--an adaptation of a successful Danish television series. I, personally, look at the show as the thematic cousin to "Twin Peaks" albeit with a completely different tone and vibe. Both shows center around the murder of a girl, both even feature the tagline "Who Killed.....(Rosie Larsen and Laura Palmer, respectively)," both chart three similar storylines, and both shows met with viewer hostility when the season didn't fully wrap up the murder mystery. In both, we see the investigation progress, we see the painful aftermath on the girl's family and friends, and we see how the murder may be tied to local politicians and bigwigs. That, of course, is where the similarities cease. "The Killing" is a deadly serious and contemplative drama set in Seattle--not at all encumbered with the quirky eccentricities that defined that other Washington State township. It is an intense and quiet show with a slow build--those eager for easy answers and constant action may need to look elsewhere. The pace of "The Killing" is more akin to the unraveling of a fine novel.

Through successive episodes, the path to identifying the murderer becomes increasingly muddy. Steely and determined Mireille Enos play the intrepid lead investigator haunted by past mistakes. She is unable to move on with her own life and, in fact, sacrifices potential happiness in her dogged pursuit of justice. Her replacement (only he can't replace her when she won't leave!) is the offbeat Joel Kinnaman. Both humorous and strangely intense, the two forge an uneasy relationship that provides a lot of conflict, drama, and unexpected laughs. On another front, the always terrific Michelle Forbes and Brendan Sexton III play the deceased girl's parents. Forbes is magnetic going through the stages of grief and Sexton is a powder keg of repressed emotion. And lastly, there is the political component that weaves around the central mystery in surprising ways. Billy Campbell plays a mayoral candidate whose closeness to the investigation causes some major issues on the campaign trail.

Of course, this brief synopsis really does no justice to the intricacies of the actual story--but serves as a simple introduction. Every episode is structured as one day in the investigation, but the show really does a fine job balancing the three concurrent plot components. Well written and intelligent, the show is not your typical police procedural. This one relies on in-depth characterizations and complex plotting. Again, if you are looking for light hearted or breezy fare--this would not be it. This requires and rewards patience and attention--and that's something I appreciate in the land of formulaic television.

Check this out as a slow burn mystery. I especially recommend it for the performances. While everyone is quite good, I have to single out Forbes and Sexton. Forbes puts it all onto the line in raw naked emotion--I can't think of a recent TV performance quite so harrowing. And Sexton is more understated, complex, and internal--but no less effective or believable. Great job to them. An intriguing show for adults, if that sounds like a recommendation--it certainly is. KGHarris, 5/11.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 18, 2011 4:40:58 PM PDT
Lee Black says:
Excellent review - probably I think this because it says the things I would say about the TV show.

Posted on Jun 25, 2011 5:42:44 PM PDT
J. McQueen says:
Good review, my friend. I have to say I thought that the best episode of the series was "Missing" one of the last one in which th two police officers spend the entire officers do nothing but drive around in the car and talk. Those two actors played off each other exceptionally well.

Posted on Jun 29, 2011 3:20:49 PM PDT
Jill Lang says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Aug 15, 2012 12:09:47 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 15, 2012 12:14:23 PM PDT
Scientific K says:
With its multitude of unconnected threads, it resembles a soap opera a lot more than a serious drama. Several things about this show bugged me to the extent that I lost interest halfway through. (Unfortunately, I had to watch the rest to see how it turns out.)

A cop (Holder) that looks more like a perp (a recovering drug addict, or a serial killer).

The detectives' total disregard for the law by conducting warrantless searches.

Billy Campbell's annoying, one-note acting.

The fake torrential rain in every outdoor scene. Anyone who's spent any time in Seattle knows that it doesn't rain nearly as much or as hard there (or in Vancouver, for that matter, where the show was filmed).

Last but not least, the absurd "resolution" of the mystery.

Two and a half stars would be generous.

Posted on Jul 11, 2013 9:06:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2013 3:13:04 PM PDT
You state: "On another front, the always terrific Michelle Forbes and Brendan Sexton III play the deceased girl's parents."

I think Brendan Sexton III plays the goofy friend of Stan Larsen. Brent Sexton plays Stan Larsen. I found this confusing at first. If I am wrong about this, I am sure I will hear about it. :-)

BTW, I do agree 100% with your review. I like The Killing and thought of the Twin Peaks feel without the goofiness. I guess this was due to the apparent winter shooting in the Pacific Northwest and the dark aspect of both the story line and the cinematography.

I will admit that solving the murder mystery is an important theme, the best part are the characters, their interactions, their lives, their foibles, their ruthlessness at times and their humanity.

One of the better made for TV shows I have seen in awhile.

Posted on Jul 26, 2014 11:29:55 AM PDT
gamer says:
I agree with you about the acting, especially Michelle Forbes. But, like poor Scientific K whose comments were universally found to be not helpful, I lost all interest in the series after about seven episodes.

Her partner looks like he hides in the bushes at a middle school waiting for recess, and I got sick of him. It could just be me though, because I had a friend who was a meth head and he looked EXACTLY like him. So he's probably a great actor. What I really hated about the series were all the red herrings. I get that if you were to put a microscope on anybody's life, they may seem guilty, kinda like a hypochondriac reading WebMD. But the skeletons in the closet were too grandiose, and when the conspiracy ended in The White House... okay, I'm exaggerating. But when the fifth character looks like he's guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt and you KNOW the evidence isn't what it seems, you kinda just want the series to end so you know who did it. The woman isn't that compelling of a character either. She's obsessed and neglectful of her family. So what?

For me, the story wasn't interesting. If the two main characters click with you, then I can understand all the 5 star ratings. For whatever reason, I didn't find either one of them compelling.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2015 12:42:20 PM PDT
NiQ says:
to gamer,

i agree w/ your insights 100%. the partner is so annoying w the hip/hop black voice affection that i cant stand the show. and talk about lighting, it's like too dark ie show cant afford light bulbs. i get it, we steal from se7en but we cant be as interesting as se7en.
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