The title of the show should already imply how Linden and Holder’s investigation ultimately pans out (with Rosie found murdered). However, it’s a credit to the show that despite knowing the outcome, the climax of the pilot still proves to be poignant and powerful. The cast of strong actors should be thanked for that. There are also some nice twists put in place in order to firmly intertwine the plot threads of the core characters (the detectives, the Larsens, Richmond and his staff.)
The second hour of the premiere – entitled “The Cage” – delves into the immediate aftermath of Rosie’s murder, with the police trying to snag any leads they can, the Larsens trying to balance their grief, and Councilman Richmond being put on the defensive after his campaign is linked to the crime.
Like I said before, the pacing of this show is slow-burn – the entire pilot is a essentially an hour-long buildup to the title of the show. However, taking time with the “whodunit?” mystery is OK if there is something else to hold our interest. And luckily there is: the characters.
My early favorite is detective Holder, though he admittedly comes off as somewhat of a douchebag for most of the pilot (with Linden being his even-tempered foil). However, towards the end of the second episode, we get to see that Holder’s douche persona is actually his sharpest weapon as an investigator. The scene at the high school where Holder tricks a couple of teenage girls into spilling a secret was great and kept me guessing about his character.
Forbes (whose steely expression is always a blanket covering her characters’ true depth) is a close second; I look forward to seeing what unresolved mother/daughter issues are haunting her. It will also be interesting to see if Mitch’s relationship with her husband (which starts off seemingly strong and happy) erodes under the weight of their grief. Definitely want to see how that plays out.
As the main character, Linden is OK – though her stoic attitude isn’t the most engaging feature for a leading lady to have. I hope that over the course of the season we see Linden being less disciplined, less robotic, and exposing more of her idiosyncrasies and flaws. The same goes Councilman Richmond: despite his squeaky clean manner and stoic attitude, there are hints that Richmond is fighting to keep some serious demons at bay.
Final thought: The showrunners will also have to quickly resolve the fact that Linden has one foot out the door; two episodes in, and the contrived excuses for why this lady can’t simply get on a plane and go started to feel a bit cumbersome and contrived.
All in all, The Killing was a very intriguing show and definitely has potential for some great storytelling to come. Series like HBO’s The Wire have demonstrated just how rewarding the end results can be when you invest the time to truly explore characters and how they (and entire communities) are affected by the ripples of violence. Hopefully The Killing will be able emulate that power, while telling its own tale.
The Killing launches its two-hour series premiere Sunday April 3rd @ 9pm /8c on AMC.