The Killing (TV Series 2011–2014) Poster


Frequently Asked Questions

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  • The Killing is based on the Danish tv series Forbrydelsen (translation: "The Crime"), which was broadcast in the UK under the title "The Killing"

  • The Killing is based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen, which was broadcast in the UK under the name "The Killing." That series also followed the police investigation of a murdered girl and people who have watched both series say that the first few episodes of the American version closely follow the opening episodes of the Danish series. When the Danish series was released there was no sense that this was related at all to Twin Peaks.

    Twin Peaks was an ensemble drama which looked at the residents of the eponymous town in the wake of the killing of high schooler Laura Palmer. Produced by David Lynch, the series had a heavy dose of surrealism and the supernatural including the use of ritual meditation to obtain clues, quirky characters such as the "Log Lady" who treated a piece of wood like it was her child, and prophetic dreams including the famous "backwards talking" dancing dwarf. Twin Peaks was about showing the dirty underbelly of American suburbia where, in Lynch's vision, the thin veneer of respectability hid all sorts of sordid happenings. In addition, Twin Peaks was a send up of night time soap operas and contained many of the staples of the soap opera genre such as multifarious romantic relationships, dastardly plots, amnesia, and shocking personality changes. Twin Peaks was very much an ensemble show and the ostensible star of the program, Kyle Machlachlan as FBI agent Dale Cooper, was one of the last characters introduced on the show, not appearing until more than halfway through the pilot episode.

    In contrast, The Killing seems to be a much more "straight" dramatic rendering of a murder investigation. It lacks the surreal and supernatural elements of Twin Peaks and while The Killing includes sub plots about the family of the murdered girl and a political campaign which gets caught up in the case, it seems to be very much more tightly focused on the lead investigator Sarah Linden. The pilot, for example, doesn't introduce any characters who are not connected to Linden for a full fifteen minutes and the beginning of the show follows her actions primarily. In addition, The Killing lacks the soap opera elements of Twin Peaks, and also seems to have different thematic goals. While Twin Peaks was about showing the pre-existing darkness in American suburbia, The Killing seems to be about examining how the tragic death of a young girl impacts those whose life she touched.

    The main similarity between the two seems to be the broad plot similarity of the investigation into a girls murder in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Lyndon Johnson Rosales said "El Diablo" to Sarah Linden, in reference to the devil mask that Kris Echols and Jasper Ames wore while in the cage the night of the party.

    ("El Diablo" is spanish for "The Devil")

  • "If I Should Lose You" as sung by Nina Simone. It was his late wife's favorite song.

  • A number of fans felt that the show had implicitly promised them that the Rosie Larsen murder would be resolved at the end of the first season. This seemed to gain some credence when the final episode built to the arrest of a suspect as the killer. However, the episode ends with an indication that the suspect was framed and may in fact be innocent. This twist ending, which invalidated the apparent guilt of the suspect and revoked the closure which the episode appeared to give to the Larsen case, angered a number of fans.

  • Some viewers are confused as to the wrap up of the Orpheus plotline which involved a client of Beau Soleil escort agency who had unnerved some of the prostitutes with talk about drowning. At the end of season one, Sarah Linden discovers that the anonymous email account that Orpheus used is connected to Darren Richmond and one of the prostitutes identifies Richmond as Orpheus to Holder.

    As shown in the end of season one and the beginning of season two, Richmond was framed for Rosie's murder. However, he was Orpheus. He had been a client of Beau Soleil. His talk about drowning, which had frightened the prostitutes, was not a threat or a dangerous sexual fetish, but rather was him musing about the death of his wife, who had drowned. The night of Rosie's murder, Richmond drove to the spot where his wife died and jumped into the water intending to kill himself. However, he was saved by a local fisherman. This explains why Gwen saw Richmond return soaking wet.

  • The urban legend site had a good article on the issue of homeless people and cell phones a few years ago when Michelle Obama visited a homeless shelter and someone there took her picture with a cell phone.

    As the article explains, cell phones are a vital piece of technology for the homeless, allowing them to get in touch with relatives and friends and contact support services. You also need a phone number if you're going to be applying for a job. It's also true that many people don't understand how cheap cell phones have gotten these days. While many people have name brand smart phones which can cost hundreds of dollars and have expensive monthly voice and data fees associated with them, it's possible to buy a cell phone for ten or fifteen dollars at a convenience store and pay for minutes as you use them. It's also true that most of the kids in the show are not part of families which became homeless but rather have left their home for one reason or another. In this case they might still have cell phones which their family paid for while they were living at home.

  • Whenever they ask a witness about the victim, they only ever show them one photo. Legally that is leading, and everything obtained from that witness afterwards can be thrown out. Which means that everything can be thrown out. In actual police procedure, they get photos of at least 2 other people who can fit the same general description so that they can prove that the witness is actually picking out the victim or the perpetrator and not just saying yes to the photo. Psychological testing proves that people will mistakenly ID people MOST of the time if only 1 photo is shown, thus actual procedure says they need the witness to pick from a minimum of 3, 5 to 7 is best.

    So is this just bad writing, where the writers know nothing of their subject, or is it intended? If the latter, then it is just too unbelievable to be valid as a procedural show, which they are intending it to be.

    Okay, they just answered my question: Writers, producers, directors, actors, catering, nobody working on this show know a single thing. S1E10 at 20 minutes, they have a cab parked in front of the Federal Building in Seattle. Since September 11, 2001 only official federal vehicles can park in front of any federal building in the USA. Try it, they will chase you away quicker than anything. They will also ID you, your vehicle, your license plates and if you try it again, you get arrested. You would have thought this would have started April 19, 1995, but only in certain places, it took 911 to make it be everywhere. They also did not have the big concrete bollards that are in front of every federal building in the USA. So no attempt at authenticity. They assume their audience is stupid.


The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • A combination of Jamie Wright, the primary aide to Darren Richmond, and Terry Marek, Rosie's aunt.

    The reason for Rosie's death are discovered over the course of season two. The police discover that Rosie had been working as a maid/waitress at the Wapi Eagle Casino. While working there her and another maid would like to sneak up to the partially constructed tenth floor to take breaks and smoke cigarettes. The night of her murder, Rosie had seen Michael Ames at the ferry to the casino. Later, Linden discovers a City Hall keycard badge with blood on it on the tenth floor. Holder then discovers that the night before Rosie's death, someone had broken into the waterfront project which Michael Ames was building for Mayor Adams, but that Ames had gotten the intruder released from police custody. The police then link the badge to the Richmond campaign and surveillance footage puts Jamie at the casino the night Rosie was killed. They surmise that Jamie, Chief Jackson, and Ames had conspired to plant the Indian bones which had been discovered at the site. This would shut down Mayor Adams' pet project and help Richmond win the election. In return the Indians would be given permission to build a new casino in the city itself, and Ames, whose wealth came mostly from his wife, would see his own company given a host of city contracts, allowing him to start a new life.

    When confronted, Jamie admits that he, Chief Jackson, and Ames had met up that night to discuss the plan, which Richmond knew nothing about. They met on the uncompleted tenth floor of the casino, where Rosie happened to have been, looking at the skyline of Seattle. After the meeting Jackson and Ames leave and Jamie is about to follow when he hears Rosie's cell phone ringing. He discovers her hiding in the room and confronts her. She insists that she didn't see or hear anything but her video camera, which she had been using to make a school project, falls out of her bag and Jamie, fearing the worst, beats her unconscious. Thinking her dead, he puts her body in the trunk of the campaign car he used to drive to the casino and leaves. At some point he realizes Rosie isn't dead and she manages to escape the trunk, prompting the chase through the woods which we saw in episode one. He recaptures her and ties her hands, putting her back in the trunk and drives her to the lake. There he calls Michael Ames to come meet him.

    After seeing that Terry Marek's car matches the description of the one Ames was seen in that night, the police confront her and she admits that she was driving Ames when he got the call from Jamie. Meeting him at the lake, Ames and Jamie argue as Terry watches, increasingly distraught. Jamie explains that he can't bring himself to kill the girl in cold blood and urges Ames to do it, but he can't bring himself to do it either. Jamie reminds Ames that this whole scheme is his chance to make his own money and get away from his wife, but Ames, realizing that the scheme will collapse now that there's a witness, says that he can no longer leave his wife. Terry, unaware that it's her own niece in the trunk, goes over to the campaign car and puts it in gear, letting it drive into the lake.

  • The twist ending is that James Skinner, Linden's boss, former partner, and lover, was the killer. This is discovered independently by Linden and Holder in the season finale. Linden and Holder had found a burned human body which turned out to be Angie Gower, the victim who had escaped earlier from the killer and who had identified him to Bullet. This led them to believe that, despite the arrest of Joe Mills, that the real killer might still be on the streets and was tying up loose ends. Initially they suspect Holder's former partner Reddick because they discover that he had known the first victim and because he had taken the phone call from Bullet. Linden also figures out that the tree house which Ray Seward had built for his son was right near the retaining pond which the killer used as a dump site. The killer had seen Adrian there when he was disposing of the body and had gone to the apartment to kill Adrian. When he instead found Trisha Seward he had to kill her instead.

    Holder and Linden confide their suspicions to Skinner who urges them to pursue this quietly lest they ruin an innocent cop's name. Before they can do much else Holder is scooped up by internal affairs who want to question him over a report that he was been harassing Reddick, including a, false, charge that Holder had made inappropriate sexual advances towards Reddick's teenage daughter. While being interrogated by Internal Affairs, Holder learns that it was Skinner who made the false report and that he did so shortly after Holder and Linden met with him. This causes Holder to become suspicious of Skinner. Meanwhile, Linden tries to find Skinner to get him to help Holder with IA. She reaches him at his house where he's packing for a trip, seemingly unconcerned about Holder. As Skinner is leaving he says goodbye to his wife and daughter and Linden notices that Skinner's daughter is wearing a ring which had belonged to Kallie Leeds, the missing girl who they believe is one of the Pied Piper's victims and whose ring wasn't found among the stash recovered from Joe Mills' place. She realizes that the only way Skinner could have gotten the ring is if he's the killer. When she confronts him, Skinner claims to have kidnapped Adrian Seward and stashed him some place. Linden forces him at gunpoint to take her there and on the drive Skinner confesses to the killings and explains himself.

    He claims that the first killing was an impulsive act of rage and that after that he kept on killing, always picking victims who were street kids, prostitutes, junkies and the like. He says that he was "saving" them from their meaningless lives. He also claims to have killed many more girls than the police discovered and to have stashed their bodies in several different places

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