The Killing: Who the Fuck Killed Rosie Larsen?

Posted: June 20, 2011 by Keith Stone in The Killing, TV

The Killing was built around the murder of a teenager and subsequent investigation so it didn’t seem fair to pass judgment on it until the season was over and the case was closed. The episodes were interesting and realistic, if not a little slow, and the acting was good, but I was under the assumption that everything was leading to the reveal of the killer. Unfortunately in last night’s season finale, we were left with a cliffhanger as Councilman Richmond was arrested and looked very much like the perp. I have a few problems with this. Cliffhangers are fine on shows that have more to offer than just one plot point. THE ENTIRE PREMISE OF THE KILLING WAS TO FIND THE MURDERER!

There were no other reasons the show existed. I didn’t care about Linden’s wedding. I didn’t care about the Seattle mayoral election. I wanted to find out who killed Rosie Larsen. While never explicitly stated that his or her identity would be discovered this season, after 13 episodes of plodding detective work it seemed like a given. It was something I was interested in on a week-to-week basis. Now the show goes away for almost a year. I doubt I’m going to care too much about it in nine months. If it was coming back in three months, I might not mind.

It was a novel idea that each episode consisted of one day in the investigation but in the end, it didn’t serve the show well. It moved too slow and focused on too many sideplots such as Richmond’s campaign and Linden’s dysfunctional family. At first, I thought they may play some sort of role in the case but mainly it was just filler. I understand that this show was different in that it tried to humanize the characters but after a certain point I never wanted to see Linden’s cigarette-smoking son again. Including Rosie’s parents as main characters was a nice touch but after a few episodes they were kind of stale. How many ways can two grieving parents be portrayed?

The season could have been wrapped up nicely in eight episodes without the one-episode, one-day gimmick. There were entire episodes where nothing really happened including the one where Linden and Holder search for Linden’s son. I’m sure that’s how real murder investigations are, but the show didn’t need to be THAT realistic. I even liked the plot twist at the very end, where Holder appeared to be complicit with somebody who wanted to take Richmond down. Why couldn’t this arc be included in the first season? I’d much rather watch Linden investigate her former partner than a mosque for three episodes.

The reason people enjoy watching Law & Order is because you find out who the bad guy is in each episode. Worst case, you find out in a week or two. It’s not great TV, but it’s entertaining. The Killing appeared to be a superior version of that with a deeper storyline and better acting. I was willing to wait to find out who the murderer was in exchange for this, but The Killing wasn’t as smart as we thought it was. Its divergent plot points added up to nothing. It looks like the mystery of Rosie Larsen’s murder won’t be solved until next year. Will anyone be watching?

  1. Professor says:

    The original “The Killing” was a Danish show that had 20-episode seasons. The first case was solved over the course of that season and then they moved on to the next. AMC only has 12-13 episode seasons (like HBO and Showtime) so they had to leave it open-ended until next season when it comes back. The problem with American TV is that it’s either one-and-done episodes or dragged out for 24 episodes. I’d rather they follow the source material and do the story properly rather than a rush-job and completely botch it up. I’ll be back to watch it next year.

  2. noway says:

    Being bored yesterday, I started with this series The Killing.
    I’ve watched the whole first season in a single day,leaving me behind with a big question mark (nothing revealed).
    Good for me,that there is no waiting time cause season two is already out.
    I’ve watched 5 Episodes of season two so far…seing this whole plot fall apart.
    Seriously,how can they fck up a great plot like this?
    Could be worse though.biggest plot developement fail of all time is still LOST.

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