The Killing is the American remake of the Danish show Forbrydelsen (The Crime, but also known as The Killing). Season One sees Homicide detective Sarah Linden (Enos) about to leave Seattle for a new life in California when local teenager Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay) is found brutally murdered. She teams up with her replacement, rookie detective Stephen Holder (Kinnaman), to work the case. As the case gets more complicated, more people become involved and secrets are unravelled.
Rosie’s parents Stan (Sexton) and Mitch (Forbes) struggle to come to terms with what has happened and deal with their grief in different ways, revealing the Larsen family’s dark secrets. Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Darren Richmond (Campbell) is indirectly linked to the murder, causing problems for his campaign team (Lehman and Eric Ladin). As the detectives further explore the case, their list of suspects grows.
The Killing’s bleak atmosphere and vast array of interconnected characters evoke memories of Twin Peaks and The Wire, although it isn’t quite as good as either. However, the show’s strength lies in the exploration of the characters and how they react to the murder, their grief and their problems. It also contains enough twists and turns to keep you wanting more, leading up to a dramatic finale at the end of Season One.
Unfortunately, Season Two disappoints, introducing new evidence and characters that were barely acknowledged in Season One and an ineffective corruption sub-plot. The tone is just as depressing but with less audience engagement. By the time the Larsen storyline is concluded, you almost no longer care.
After surviving a cancellation, The Killing’s third season returns strongly; arguably being as good, if not better than the first. This time round, the show concentrates on the city’s streets and the desperation and poverty the more vulnerable characters face.
A year after the Larsen case, Linden has quit the police force and is attempting a new start with a ‘normal 9 to 5 job’ and a new boyfriend. When a teenage girl goes missing, Holden seeks Linden’s help. Linden soon realises the case is similar to a murder case that drove her insane years before, and that a serial killer may still on the loose. With the help of her former partner James Skinner (Elias Koteas), Linden and Holden try to catch the killer and prove the possible innocence of Ray Seward (Sarsgaard), a death row convict charged with the previous murders.
Overall, The Killing is very watchable but really suits only one series per storyline. Despite the depressing tone of the show, it often leaves you wanting more at the end of each episode, keeping you guessing as to who the bad guys are.