By Paula Hendrickson
AMC is known for powerful and well-produced original series like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and last fall’s breakout hit, The Walking Dead. Another AMC show from last year, Rubicon, was also well written, produced and acted, but had an incredibly complex plot and languid pace that proved off-putting to many viewers. Missing just one episode could mean utter confusion. I hope the same fate won’t befall AMC’s newest series.
The Killing—which premiered April 3—has an intricate plot and could become hard to follow if you miss an episode, so this time, please remember that AMC airs repeats scattered throughout the week and again immediately before new episodes air. If you missed the two-hour premiere, there is still time to catch it. Trust me, it’s well worth the effort.
Set in Seattle, this slowly unfolding atmospheric murder mystery is hard to resist. The series stars theater veteran Mireille Enos (also from Big Love) as homicide detective Sarah Linden, a single mom who is literally packed up and ready to start a new life in California with her fiancé before she gets handed one last case.
Linden is paired with Stephen Holder (Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman), the undercover narcotics detective assigned to replace her.
Enos and Kinnaman are surrounded with a great cast. Billy Campbell (The 4400) is ideal as the mayoral candidate Darren Richmond, an astute but secretive politician wary enough to doubt his most-trusted aides, played by Kristen Lehman and Eric Laden. And Michelle Forbes (Homicide, True Blood) and Brent Sexton (Justified, Deadwood) turn in powerful performances as the victim’s parents.
While some people have compared The Killing to Twin Peaks, another season-long mystery about the murder of a teen-age girl and set in the Pacific Northwest, don’t be misled. While the general locations and premise might sound similar on paper, these are two very different shows. This series also has a large cast, but there is no Log Lady or dancing dwarf in sight. In fact, The Killing is based on a popular Danish television series.
Perhaps designed to keep viewers involved between episodes, AMC has a rich website full of interesting extras, from a Suspect Tracker poll that gauges who viewers think the killer is to virtual tour of the teen-age victim’s bedroom, where you can look for hidden clues. You can also view behind-the-scenes videos, play games, enter the official sweepstakes or simply learn more about the characters: http://www.amctv.com/originals/the-killing/about/.
Yes, the two-hour series premiere has already aired, and you can still catch it during one of AMC’s middle-of-the-night airings, but it might be best to watch it live Sunday night from 7 to 9 p.m., then stay tuned for the next episode from 9 to 10 p.m. The only thing better than two consecutive hours of The Killing? Three consecutive hours.
Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
From the April 6-12, 2011 issue