“The Killing” was AMC’s first (prestige?) drama to premiere after “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad.” The cable network was on a hot streak; critics and audiences expected excellence.
Well, “The Killing” didn’t live up to the hype — although following the footsteps of television’s two best shows isn’t easy — and turned out to be pretty terrible. The main problem was the lackluster storytelling that relied on constant red herrings and outlandish plot twists. For having such a serious tone, “The Killing” was pretty ridiculous in its first two seasons.
Well, now that the series has wrapped up the “Who Killed Rosie Larson?” plotline — unceremoniously — it’s on to another murder mystery for our dogged detectives, Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman). When Holder catches a body that’s murdered in a similar fashion to an old case Linden closed — with the killer (Peter Sarsgaard) now awaiting execution — he seeks her help. A retired Linden doesn’t want to deal with the trauma of her getting too involved in a case, but you know she will.
The two-hour premiere presents many of the things “The Killing” does well — moody and beautifully haunting camerawork, some strong acting (particularly Kinnaman) and a mildly intriguing mystery — along with its most problematic elements. The writing can be rote or downright awful, the plot developments move too slowly and the mystery has a potentially obvious outcome.
It’s still too early to judge if a new case can breathe life back into “The Killing.” Going off the series’ — and showrunner Veena Sud’s — history, it’s hard to be optimistic.
Those of you burned by two seasons of the Rosie Larson mess will probably never return to “The Killing.” I can’t blame you. Me? I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because I think I’ll be watching this mystery unfold — at least until I get pissed off again.
I really enjoy Kinnaman in this — he’s hilarious, badass and dramatically captivating all at once — and Enos is strong, even with some poor material. I’m also a sucker for mysteries. I’m hesitantly giving “The Killing” another shot for a few more episodes, but I don’t feel real good about it.