For the last four years, fans of AMC's The Killing have endured quite a roller coaster ride (both on and off screen). Despite overwhelming critical praise out the gate (read our series premiere review), the drama show burned a good portion of its audience with a season 1 finale that failed to solve the central mystery of "Who Killed Rosie Larson?" The showrunners made up for the flub with a strong second season - and a fitting conclusion to the show's first case. Yet, the damage had been done and many season 1 viewers simply were not interested in playing catch-up - and AMC cancelled the series (for the first time). Yet, the network decided to reverse course and push ahead with season 3, thanks to behind-the-scenes renegotiating, and The Killing showrunners delivered a gripping third chapter.
Nevertheless, with low ratings, the series faced cancellation again and AMC finally threw in the towel - only to see Netflix resurrect the show one last time for its fourth (and final) season. Now, one month before the last six episodes of The Killing debut exclusively on the streaming service, we're getting our first look at what's in store for season 4.
Check out the official teaser above but, for those who are not caught up, keep in mind that the footage (and the rest of this post) will spoil a key twist from the season 3 finale.
NOTE: The rest of this post will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for The Killing season 3. If you do not want to be spoiled, look away - and check out the episodes you have missed on Netflix!
The trailer picks up directly after the shocking conclusion of season 3 - in which Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) executed her former partner (and lover), James Skinner (Elias Koteas), following the revelation that he was responsible for the death of countless young women as well as the framing of death row inmate Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard). As a result, season 4 will deal (in part) with Linden and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) attempting to cover up Skinner's murder - since Linden opted to kill him in cold blood even though he had surrendered (and was not armed).
However, as the two get their stories straight, and destroy evidence of Linden's vengeful actions, a grisly murder calls the pair back to work. When an entire family is slain, questions begin to surface about the only survivor (possibly suspect), Kyle Stansberry (Tyler Ross) - a student at an all-boys military academy. Despite appeals from the school's headmaster, Colonel Margaret O'Neal (Joan Allen), Linden and Holder embark on what could be their final case together.
Netflix is marketing The Killing season 4 as the "final" season - leaving little hope for another revival. Given that only six episodes are included, fans should prepare for a tour-de-force conclusion to the characters and their story - with a very real possibility that audiences will be hit with an unhappy ending. After all, The Killing is one of the dreariest shows available on (streaming) television and Linden as well as Holder are carrying a lot of baggage into season 4.
Still, it's encouraging to see that the season 3 cliffhanger isn't simply going to be washed away by fast forwarding to a future time. The murder of Skinner was a powerful moment and watching Linden wrestle with the fallout should provide plenty of intriguing drama in the coming episodes. After all, throughout the series, Linden has put her own life on the line so that families can get closure (and justice) for the murders of their loved ones. Now that Linden has dirtied her own hands with murder, will she still put the well-being of others ahead of her own - by revealing the location of Skinner's victims and, subsequently, force her to atone for his unlawful execution?
The Killing season 4 premieres August 1, 2014 on Netflix.
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