There is no more surprise when AMC develops a great television series. With Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead, AMC has been hitting home-runs left and right. The network’s latest is The Killing, a rich and dark mystery drama with honest characters, a heavy plot, and a lot of rain.
The Killing’s premiere was on Sunday at 9 p.m. The two-hour block (“Pilot” and “The Cage”) was a great taste of what to expect. We’re introduce to the main players of the series: Sarah Linden as the lead homicide detective who is moving to get married and start a new life. She’s being replaced by Stephen Holder, a sarcastic, unpredictable cop. Then there are Stan and Mitch Larsen, the parents of the murdered Rosie. Finally, there is Darren Richmond, a politician running for mayor.
What impressed me the most about the first two episodes was the pacing. From the first shot to the cliffhanging conclusion of “The Cage,” I was hooked. We were presented with enough information to understand the characters and the situation, but still have a handful of questions that need answers. These questions specifically target Darren Richmond. Who called him on the phone about the trips that weren’t on the public record? How did his wife die? Who’s leaking information about him inside his campaign? And how does any of this connect to Rosie Larsen’s death?
The acting is excellent in The Killing, led by Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden. She is a strong and composed woman, but through her stoic expressions you can sense her sympathies to the victims. To be in that type of profession, one has to be tough and Sarah is that person, but she has also expressed a cynical side to her as if she’s given up looking for the good in people. There has to be something in her past that has made her the way she is.
Her partner, Holder, is played by Joel Kinnaman. I don’t think you can quite make up your mind about Holder yet. He’s sort of a wild card in the sense that I can’t fully trust him yet, but I want to. He has the exterior of a young punk, but has shown a sly side to him that has proven to get results. The way he found out about “the cage” showed how he got to the point of homicide detective.
Probably the most difficult roles are played by Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton (Mitch and Stan Larsen). The Killing carefully takes the death of a family member with sensitivity and honesty. The scene when they tell their two young sons about Rosie is heart-breaking. Through all the grieving, I never cringed at any cliches that would land a spot on the Lifetime network.
All in all, this is a murder mystery that has plenty of potential to rival some of the best television shows. There is a lot of truth to learn about every character and there will surely be twists and turns on the way to solving this mystery. I cannot wait to take the ride all the way through.