The Killing is going to be one of those head-scratcher cases (no pun) in pantheon of TV series. The murder-mysery procedural was a good draw for AMC's budding lineup of critically-acclaimed TV lineup, but it left the fanbase in a very strange place by ending things on a season 1 finale cliffhanger, after a late-game decision to extend the series into a second season. That second season turned out to be quality viewing - but the sacrifice was a considerable portion of the audience, who didn't re-invest in the mystery of "Who killed Rosie Larsen?" (4.7 million viewers for the season 1 premiere; 2.5 million for the season 2 premiere).
AMC then promptly canceled the The Killing - that is, until a joint deal with Netflix saved the show. With season 3 offering a brand new mystery, The Killing saw a slight uptick in interest (1.8 million for the season 3 premiere - up from the 1.4 million season 2 finale numbers), but clearly it never reclaimed the clout it initially had, and is now being put out to pasture for good.
Deadline dropped the exclusive that The Killing has been killed again (these jokes are going to keep coming), pointing to the fact that, overall, season 3 held consistent with the season 2 ratings lows. Reportedly, Fox TV Studios might shop the show around to another network, but there is little leverage or incentive for anyone else to give it yet another extension on its warranty. There's also the fact that stars Mireille Enos (World War Z) and Joel Kinnaman (Robocop) are seeing career bumps right now, so the need (or pull) for them to return to a flailing show is not strong.
Fans know that The Killing was an adaptation of the Danish TV series Forbrydelsen, but while that series told its initial story in a longer (complete) seasonal arc, AMC's version fell into the trap of modern American TV strategy by trying to milk better home video sales by breaking up storylines across multiple seasonal sets (see also: Breaking Bad, Entourage, Battlestar Galactica....). The result: the loss of momentum, of viewers, and what could've been high-quality procedural mystery drama for cable TV.
How do you feel about the news of The Killing's second death? (Given the ratings, we're not expecting a whole lot of grieving fans...)
You can currently catch The Killing streaming on Netflix.