THE KILLING: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: zero (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Based on the concept, I would have thought I’d enjoy “The Killing.” I like a good detective procedural, and the idea of a murder mystery taken over the course of a season with a day-per-episode structure could be intriguing. Sadly, it’s not the format of the show that made me hate it. It was the show itself.
“The Killing” tells the story of a detective on the verge of changing jobs who gets handed a last-minute murder case. The victim is a high schooler named Rosie Larsen, whose death appears relatively straightforward at first. But as the case unravels, it shows connections to multiple people in town, from a teacher at the school to a City Councilman running for Mayor.
Sounds interesting, no?
Well, the problems come in the execution, not the concept. In the bonus features, the creator of the show stresses how she wanted to examine the emotion behind a murder rather than sensationalize the murder itself. However, this results in countless cliched moments of the parents weeping in front of an answering machine or grieving in private at home. The reality is we’ve seen this treatment before, so it’s really nothing original.
My biggest problem with this series is the characters. They’re all assholes. More over, they’re purposefully depressing, nihilistic beings who are truly terrible people whether they were involved with murdering Rosie or not. The lead detective has a teenage son, and she’s such a godawful mother that I feel no sympathy for her. Her new partner is a recovering meth addict whose entire approach to police work is to smoke dope with people and get them to talk about nefarious things.
There’s not a shred of humor or positive emotion in this series. It’s needlessly bleak, for the sake of being bleak. I struggled to get through even a single episode let along suffer through the entire season.
And to top things off, the story goes nowhere. Even the goofy, wacky “Twin Peaks” from the 90s decided to answer the question as to who killed Laura Palmer in a somewhat timely manner. Sadly, “The Killing” drags things out not for a sense of drama but rather because there’s no creativity once there’s a resolution. It’s painfully lazy writing, and there’s no excuse for it.
“The Killing” fits squarely into the slate of AMC original programming like “The Walking Dead” and “Hell on Wheels.” It’s misery porn with action words in the title that literally go nowhere.
The four-disc DVD set includes several bonus features, including deleted scenes and commentary on a couple key episodes. There’s also an extended season finale, “Orpheus Descending” as well as a gag reel and the behind-the-scenes featurette “An Autopsy of The Killing.”