Frank Ockenfels/Courtesy of AMC
Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos as Detectives Holden and Linden in The Killing.
If you haven't been watching AMC's crime drama The Killing, and you're a fan of the genre, hurry over to AMC and get caught up before the June 19 season finale (all the episodes are streaming there). Be sure to set aside a block of time and get comfortable because the show is mighty addictive. Once you start watching you're sure to find it hard to stop.
If you are not already aware, The Killing, which is based on the Danish show of the same name, is a murder mystery with a difference. Unlike most crime procedurals, the show focuses on a single case for the entire season rather than one per week. It works. The writers are given the freedom to fine tune their characters and offer them the luxury of taking their time to move the story forward. Occasionally these characters make mistakes and don't always bounce back from them right away, if at all, which makes them seem that much more human. Really, there are times when the exemplary writing and acting make you forget these characters are fictional, so natural are the interactions between them.
The plot is deceptively simple; the execution is not. Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holden (Joel Kinnaman) are detectives in the Seattle Police Department assigned to investigate the murder of a sweet-faced teenager named Rosie Larsen. Linden, who is supposed to be leaving Seattle with her teenage son to join her fiance in Sonoma and be married, becomes obsessed with the case and stays on, damaging her relationship with her husband-to-be and alienating her son. Holden, a former narcotics cop, has just been promoted to Homicide and finds the grittiness of the Larsen case appealing. He and Linden occasionally get on each other's nerves, but they are perfect foils for each other and eventually form a strong bond. Holden also supplies a small dose of comic relief with his snarky remarks and skewed observations of the world.
Rosie's devastated parents, Stan and Mitch (Brent Sexton, Michelle Forbes) are two of the most affecting characters in the show. Their grief takes a terrible toll on both them and their young sons.
Possible perpetrators include the mayoral wannabe Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell), who, along with his cronies, comes under suspicion since it was in one of his campaign cars Rosie's body was found. Then there is Bennet Ahmed (Brandon Jay McLaren), Rosie's teacher and one of the last to see her alive.
Don't expect The Killing to wrap up neat and tidy. In fact, now that the season is nearing its end, I don't see how every loose end can possibly be tied up. Will pieces of the puzzle be left to the imagination of the viewer to put into place? At this point, nothing would surprise me, but the writing has been so sharp all along, I have to trust that the finale will be as dramatically satisfying as the rest of the episodes.
No word of a second season has as yet been announced. But with all the critical acclaim and high ratings, I would guess it's only a matter of time before AMC gives the word that another season of The Killing is in the offing. Hopefully this will be the case since a single season of this gritty, addictive show is nowhere near enough.