The musings of a feminist pop culture fanatic

The Killing (4/8)

EW Description: “AMC’s chilling drama about the police investigation of a teenage girl’s murder is a mystery worth diving into.”

Rosie Larsen is the main character and unifying force of this show. However, by the time of the first scene, she is already dead. The entire series is built around the investigation of her death. We get to see this from three perspectives: Rosie’s grieving family, the detectives investigating the murder, and a city councilman running for mayor who might be connected to Rosie’s murder.

Some have referred to this show as the longest Law & Order episode ever, and that’s a valid comparison. My biggest problem with procedural crime shows is that everything moves quickly so that it can be wrapped up in an hour. Everything seems to fall into place just so and it is completely unrealistic. It is also highly impersonal. I’m not a person who likes shows where I feel detached. For me, watching television is cathartic. I want to feel the characters’ pain, and the procedural format is not always very good for that.

I suppose this is not really a procedural, though. It is more of a serialized drama set around a topic typically found on procedural television shows. We get information about Detective Sarah Linden’s personal life and City Councilman Darren Richmond is full of scandal. The characters are all fully fleshed out and they have lives outside of their jobs. That’s very different from most crime shows.

The first two episodes premiered last Sunday. In those, we met all the characters, the detectives found Rosie’s body in a car belonging to the city councilman, and the investigation into her disappearance began. Rosie was not even confirmed dead until the end of the first episode, which shows how slowly the mystery is unfolding. Personally, I love it. Sometimes, when shows move really slow, it gets extremely frustrating. The key is going to be revealing enough new information each week to build suspense. The writers need to be sure some questions get answered. If every week just leaves the audience with five new questions and nothing answered, people are going to get frustrated. Look what happened to Lost. The audience can be patient. Just tease us with a little bit along the way.

My only complaint with the show is the tenuous way that Detective Linden is connected to the mystery. She is technically the star of the show. However, the episode begins with her preparing to move from Seattle to San Diego to get married. For some reason, she is not allowed to leave until Rosie’s investigation is complete. No one ever explicitly says that, but that’s the overall assumption. I understand needing to give her a backstory and introduce some conflict. The writers could have easily just focused on her rocky relationship with her son over her impending marriage without introducing the possibility of moving away. It just seems like the weakest part of an otherwise strong show.

Even though I definitely do not have time to get hooked on another show, I’m adding this one to my weekly TV schedule. It is really well-written and I’m dying to see what happens next.

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