The Killing

Joel Kinnaman as Detective Stephen Holder in AMC's The Killing

Joel Kinnaman as Detective Stephen Holder in AMC’s The Killing

I am coming late to AMC’s The Killing party.  I am one of those poor wretched souls that does not have cable.  Why?  It costs too friggin much, and most of what is on cable, in a word, sucks.  I don’t need to know how to keep up with the Kardashians or know what a Honey Boo Boo is or watch brides freak out before their wedding.  For the most part, I am happy with my cable-less lifestyle.

I do miss AMC.  They have fantastic original programming.  Breaking Bad is my absolute favorite show.  Pound for pound, it’s the best writing I’ve ever seen on a television show. The Walking Dead has set the benchmark in the zombie genre.  Hell On Wheels, is entertaining as… well, hell.  And then there’s The Killing.

The Killing is a show that took me a long time to warm up to.  They made the first two seasons available on Netflix some time ago, but I passed it by because it didn’t seem like my type a thing.  Frankly, I’m tired of all the cop shows.  They’re all the same.  Someone’s murdered.  Cops with dysfunctional lives hit brick wall after brick wall until miraculously they piece everything together in an hour.

I started watching the first episode of The Killing a few months back, and I was interrupted about halfway through, and I just never went back to it.  To that point in the episode, I was at best, “Meh” about the show.  As I was wrapping up The Gore, I needed something to watch to just completely remove me for the book’s storyline.  I clicked on the first episode and resumed watching.  I made it through about 90% of the episode thinking I was done with the series.  It just wasn’t for me.  But, bam!  The last scene hooked me enough to watch the next episode.  I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the performances by all the actors in that scene were spectacular.

I can’t say too much about the storyline of the first two seasons, because every episode leaves you questioning everything you thought you knew about what had happened so far.  Yes.  It is about dysfunctional cops, and they do hit those brick walls, but the show goes much deeper than that.  You witness the effects of a murder investigation on both the family of the victim and the suspects.   And the crime isn’t solved in one episode.  It took them two seasons to solve the murder.

The acting is what sets this show apart.  In my opinion, Joel Kinnaman is the shining star in this series.  He plays Detective Stephen Holder, a former meth-addicted narcotics cop.  To say he’s got demons is putting it mildly, but somehow Kinnaman makes his character not only likeable, he makes him relatable.   Brent Sexton comes in a close second with his portrayal of Stanley Larsen, the patriarch of the victim’s family.  You can feel his rage just beneath the surface.  He wants to do the right thing, but he’s not sure what that is. The rest of the cast is excellent as well.   This is more or less Mireille Enos’ series, and she does a superb job of carrying it, but without Kinnaman, the show doesn’t work.

If you haven’t watched The Killing, check it out.  It is worth a subscription to Netflix. Do yourself a favor.  Stay away from any and all spoilers, because I guarantee you won’t guess who done it