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When I was twenty-four, I was the foreman for the jury of a murder
trial. There was plenty of evidence, including eye witness testimony,
that indicated the young man's guilt. After two days of deliberations
and endless discussions, we voted to convict. On our way out of the
courtroom, I remember distinctly the high spirits we were all in. We
had done our job as citizens. We had helped take a bad man off the
streets. We helped get justice for a murdered individual. There were a
lot of smiles and handshakes and back-pats. Then on the way out we
passed the convicted man's eight-month-along pregnant wife. She was
sitting, alone, on a bench outside the courtroom, sobbing. The
implications of our decision for her and that unborn child hit me all
at once as we passed. I wasn't smiling anymore; none of us were. The
thing is, I still believe we did the right thing. It was our job to
vote on the evidence and that's what we did. But even so, I'd be lying
if I said I slept soundly that night.
The reason I mention that long-winded story is to illustrate a point. Real life is messy. Even when we make what we truly believe are the "right" decisions we don't always feel all that good about them. Sometimes to do what we think is right we end up hurting, albeit unintentionally, someone else. Even worse, sometimes we hurt someone doing what we think is right and then find out later that we were wrong. And that, as Aristotle would say, just plain sucks.
But it is the imperfect, wonderful world we all live in. Which brings me to AMC's fantastic 'The Killing'. A Danish import, 'Killing' follows the murder investigation of young woman in Seattle, Washington. The story is told in thirteen 1 hour episodes through the perspectives of the people whose lives are impacted by the murder and subsequent investigation, with special emphasis on lead investigator Sarah Linden (played picture-perfect by Mireille Enos). Amazingly, despite a fairly large cast, there is nary a flat character to be found. All the players are fleshed out, fully realized people with deep complexity and back-story. This allows the show to rise above a simple whodunit police procedural and really delve into just what a murder means to the people in the victim's life. It is alternately dark and gritty, inspirational, and heart breaking to watch these people cope with the loss and fear that surrounds this girls murder.
And that brings me back to my original point. The reason I love this show so much is because, unlike the many many many police procedurals out there, it is no fairy tale with all the bad guys punished and good guys victorious. It makes you wallow in the mud with the characters, encouraging you to feel all the frustration and confusion that they feel. It makes you want what they want, only to remind you that even good people and good decisions have consequences that are far less than ideal. This is the kind of show that you think about after it's over, asking yourself if you would have done this or that differently. But that deeply unsettled feeling you get is the digestive price you pay for such a rich, not-written-for-kids storyline, and is so worth it. There is really nothing quite like it on TV right now; I highly recommend it.
I had to watch this twice, the two hour premiere that is. I think what
struck me most was the calm and slow storytelling. When TV is drowning
in unrealistic CSI's et al (where investigators cook up fingerprints to
techno music in dimly lit rooms), every time we pass a CSI on channel
surfing my husband always says 'don't they ever turn on the freakin
lights in that office?' and we both laugh.
This is police work as it really is, plodding, unexciting, procedural, a lot of driving, mixed with a bit of clever intuition, slammin good.
Every character is a suspect, the story can go anywhere, so promising.
If anyone was worried about the state of the serialized TV drama going too far down the f-word/porn route, all arguments that only subscription HBO or Showtime dramas were good bc they used nudity or cursing bc 'that's how real life is'...this is yet another AMC show that shuts them all up. Don't get me wrong, I love my Trueblood and huge fan of Sopranos et al, but this show isn't a 'guilty pleasure', its just a pleasure.
I am writing this after the first season finale, and I came to this
without expecting much and what a shocking pleasant surprise it was and
absolute gem of a thriller.
I rarely give a rating of 10, there would always be some part that would be missing and something goes wrong in any department, nothing ever went wrong with this.
The whole first season is one murder case, so you can expect some slow pace, and slow pace doesn't always mean a drag, and "The Killing" is the best example for that, the pace is deliberately set to slow, to let all emotions, settings to sink in, the show gives you very subtle clues and you would swear that know who killed "Rosie Larsen" and think it is your idea, which is most often first proved right then wrong :) The acting, direction, screenplay, music a absolute top notch, a lessen that other crime thrillers (CSI, Criminal Minds, Suspect Behavior et. al.) should take a note of this epic of a thriller.
If you haven't watch it yet you are missing an epic.
Having watched the Danish original "Forbrydelsen" it was with great anticipation and some apprehension that I finally got to see the American adaption to this outstanding and huge successful drama. I was both surprised and amazed. "The Killing" has managed to maintain the somber and somewhat dark ambiance of the original while still incorporating enough elements to make the current version plausible. Kudos to the cast of this version which has kept the integrity of the original and so far, it looks every bit as good as I could have hoped. Although the plot takes its time to unfold, it's well worth the wait. Soon you will be trying to guess who killed the beautiful High School student and realize that nothing is as it seems, each episode offering a different perspective (and suspect) until the tantalizing conclusion. Get hooked!! ;)
I was quite hesitant about watching a US production of The Killing
after reading negative reviews comparing it to the Danish original, but
in the end opted to do so and am very glad I did. What an excellent
production! I love the understated mood that somehow manages to amp up
the tension so much better than a lot of the hysterical, overacted BS
one CAN get with some American crime-themed shows. This one is a
The acting is excellent: the case bring their characters to life subtly but forcefully. And -- hallelujah! -- the people are real, they LOOK real, and they are credibly flawed, and not the laughable, plastic and pretty TV stereotypes we are usually subjected to. Think Bones (for example) ... and if the thought makes you want to vomit, you will love The Killing. If you are a Bones et al fan, go watch The Killing for a lesson on how it should be done.
There is more and more good stuff coming out of the USA ... good news for those of us craving quality entertainment.
"The Killing" is an adaptation of a Danish TV series, and was billed to
me as "Twin Peaks meets 24". Well it certainly does seem like an
updated "Twin Peaks" so far, minus some of the bizarre twists and
turns. Not that there's anything wrong with that,
beautiful-girl-murdered is a time-tested premise that makes for a good
In the first two episodes I was relieved to find some serious, quality television. The story isn't terribly remarkable - so far we know that a pretty typical teen girl has been murdered, that her parents are genuinely crushed with grief, and that the detective who caught the case, Sarah Linden, was due to leave the job and move to San Diego to get married had the case not come up.
The story is told with impressive direction and good enough writing, with plenty of details and realism to hook in most viewers. Like any good mystery, the introduction simply raises questions, and gets the viewer to care about what's going on. Mission accomplished.
The music is a bit hokey, drifting into melodrama at times, but that's the only real fault I can find. This is a fine start. It seems unlikely to dethrone "The Wire" as a pinnacle of realism but it's already better than any crime drama the networks have going. I'm looking forward to the next episode.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
OK, maybe 10 stars is a bit exaggerated but I just couldn't help
myself. I've seen a lot of shows in the genre, including all the CSIs,
NCISes, Criminal Minds (plus Suspect Behavior), and so on and so on.
You get my point, I've seen a lot and it's pretty hard for a new show
to impress or surprise me. This one is different. Refreshingly
different. So, in comparison to all its direct competitors there is a
full 10 above my review, well deserved, even though it may not be the
greatest show you've seen on TV.
Why did I like it so much? Well, the pace to start with something. It is somewhat slower than you'd expect. It doesn't drag, but it's not racing ahead either. After the pilot ended I looked back and said to myself, "so that's what I'm missing in CSI..." It gives you a chance to keep with the storyline, to empathize with the characters, to immerse yourself in this dark (and rainy) atmosphere. The slower than average pace (what is in my observations average), in other words, makes it more enjoyable and conveys more emotion.
Emotion is the second thing I may point out. Well, it's not a roller coaster after which you'll be crying, but you genuinely start caring for one dead girl and her devastated family. Again, I am missing this in most other shows where death is so common and the whole episode revolves around a few suspects and a bunch of evidence, that you never get a chance to realize how terrible the whole situation is. Maybe some scenes do that, but these constitute a small fraction of the episode. Not here though. There are no high-tech gadgets that give you an answer. In The Killing you can almost feel the pressure the entire time. The family of the girl receives a good deal of attention and you can see the suffering in the hours and days after their daughter and sister goes missing and afterwards found dead. How does a day pass after such a tragedy? The policemen are also affected in their own way and you can sense it.
Who killed Rosie Larsen? By the end you start caring for the answer and it eats you. Until you find out who did it and why there will be anticipation of the next episode. A very enjoyable experience for crime show fans. Give it a chance and I hope you'll like it.
This is the Americanized version of a Danish series. I use the word
Americanized as that aspect probably goes some way to explaining some
of the negative reviews on here that encourage people to watch the
Original Danish version. I watched one episode of the Danish version
but decided I didn't want to have to READ every (subtitled) episode and
so moved on to the Americanized version.
And I'm glad I did.
I enjoyed the slow pace at which the story unfolds and the fact that I couldn't tell who the 'guilty' person was by how many minutes were left in an episode.
The characters feel to be believable and are well portrayed.
It's best not to know too much about the story (or stories) before watching as it is the flow of it's telling that determines how much you will enjoy this series. You'll know after two episodes if you want to carry on.
Watch, enjoy, and let others know of it.
I haven't seen the original Danish version and America has always received flack for their versions of European films or series. I have to say though The Killing US is slow, dreary, and brilliant! The first episode was gut-wrenching and I was sucked in straight away. It is very slow, not much happens in each episode but it allows for the viewer to feel the pain and frustration of the family and the police in finding the culprit. If I had watched the Danish version I cannot say I would feel the same. Obviously the original is always better but I think people are being unfair in slating the US version. A must-see in my opinion.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Killing is a re-imagining of the excellent Danish original
Forbrydelsen. For the first couple of episodes they are almost word for
word. Unfortunately it is when the story steps out from the core plot,
the death of Rosie Larsen, that it comes unstuck. In the main it does
hold that same slow gripping pace and the story taking unexpected turns
but its choice of back-story is weak. The excessive focus on Sarah
Linden and her son, her home life and the peculiar disconnected
relationship with her mostly unseen fiancé are immensely distracting.
Many of the other characters,especially the marginally psychotic Belko
Royce, are utterly dysfunctional. While it is a grim tale there is
little about the characters that makes you warm to them.
It is not helped by the producers choosing to rerun the torrential downpour of Se7en,which just adds to the misery.
The original in tone is not much different but it does have far greater character development as well as a larger, more diverse cast as potential suspects.
Where The Killing falls down most is its choice of story lines. As a 13 parter rather than the original 20 it was going to make changes. The pity is these choices left it with some fairly ludicrous plot lines, especially towards the end of the season. It also removed scope to give some more development to the main characters, especially Linden and Mitch.
All in all not a bad effort. It starts well, has enough twists to keep most viewers interested but its choice of characters and their stories will leave you disappointed. Do check out the far superior original.
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