After a hat trick with hit original series Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, AMC doesn't intend to slow down any time soon. In addition to Hell on Wheels, production on the first season of The Killing is wrapping up for a March 2011 debut. The cable network has released a short promo and a featurette to whet the appetites of murder mystery fans.
Billed as a character-focused alternative to more standard police procedurals, The Killing follows an investigation into the murder of a Seattle girl. Each of the thirteen episodes covers exactly one day, and the narrative jumps between the lead investigator, the girl's grieving parents and the mayor of the city.
Based on Danish miniseries Forbrydelsen, the show will explore the motivations and emotions of its characters as they follow the clues to find the murderer. According to executive producer Venna Sud:
"What we're trying to do with this show is take the genre and turn it on its head... This is all about the secrets we have... it's about how worlds collide, how there's very little separation in a city, how everything sort of comes together around this murder investigation."
Sud's previous working includes writing and producing two seasons of CBS' Cold Case. Other crew members include executive producer Mikkel Bondesen (Burn Notice, The Good Guys) and associate producer Shana Fischer (Dirty Sexy Money). Mireille Enos will lead the series as Detective Sarah Linden, the lead detective of the murder case. Fans of HBO's Big Love will recognize her as Jodeen Marquart, one of the leading wives. Bill Campbell of The 4400, Enough and The Rocketeer plays the mayor, who has a special interest in both the case and the detective. Michelle Forbes (True Blood, Battlestar Galactica) and Brent Sexton (Deadwood) round out the cast as the victim's grieving parents.
Watch the promo and featurette below:
If the sneak peek and the cast and crew interviews are anything to go on, The Killing will focus heavily on grief and betrayal. The acting and production design looks subtle and muted - even the Northwestern setting lends itself to a contemplative and bleak atmosphere. Between that and the character-focused nature of the series, AMC is taking a big gamble. Mainstream audiences seem to be much more interested in glitzy whodunits like Numb3rs and the various CSI incarnations. However, cable networks have had much more success with more ambitious versions of the police procedural, like The Closer, Southland and Justified. AMC hasn't tackled anything quite like this yet, but if their recent work is any indication, the new show will be one to keep an eye on.
The Killing starts its freshman season in March on AMC.