In 2011, The Killing entered the already distinguished arena of AMC serial dramas to much anticipation and accolades. The tense, atmospheric murder drama garnered hype and attention during its first season, only to incite a minor audience rebellion when the finale wrapped up without solving the show’s central mystery. Season 2 premiered with greatly reduced ratings before finally revealing the solution to Rosie Larsen’s murder.

With a shrunken audience and seemingly nowhere else to go, it came as no surprise that AMC declined to pay for season 3 of The Killing. However, almost immediately after cancelation, rumors began to fly that Fox TV Studios – the production company behind the show – was shopping season 3 to other networks. After months of gossip and negotiations, it now appears that Netflix is the frontrunner to finance new episodes of The Killing.

According to a report posted on Deadline earlier today, Fox TV Studios is in the final stages of negotiating the premiere of The Killing season 3 on Netflix. Strangely enough, the seriousness of these talks has brought AMC back to the bargaining table, though only in a broadcasting capacity. Though AMC would not pay for the full production of episodes of The Killing, their involvement of the deal will possibly gain the network the privilege of airing the new episodes before they are hosted by Netflix.

A well-received drama in its first season, The Killing starred (and if this deal goes through, will star) Mireille Enos (World War Z) and Joel Kinnaman (the upcoming RoboCop) as homicide detectives tasked with solving the increasingly nebulous murder of a Seattle high school girl. The series is now known almost as much for its controversial first season finale as it was for its highly praised opening episodes.

If the current rumors of Netflix’s interest and AMC’s involvement prove true, we may see new episodes of The Killing air on the same network that initially declined them a season 3. Netflix’s share of the deal is unknown as of the moment, but it may end up streaming these new episodes of The Killing shortly after the expiration of AMC’s first-run privilege.

It’s difficult to gauge actual public interest in more episodes of The Killing. That much-diminished audience may evaporate even further now that the show has solved its major mystery. Combined with a lengthy hiatus between the last aired episode and the first theoretical installment of season 3, there may not be much desire at all for a return to the show’s gloomy, blood-soaked interpretation of the Northwest.

All we know is that if the show wants to attract new viewers and pull all the old ones back, it’s going to need to come out swinging something fierce. Fox TV Studios better have a crackerjack outline for The Killing‘s new direction if they want to justify all the effort and expense they’ve gone to reviving the grim mystery series.

As of the moment, season 3 of The Killing has no solid air date. If the deal outlined above is successful, production on new episodes may begin as early as February of 2013.

Source: Deadline