TV Catch Up: The Killing

by Jonah Goldberg

So while I was away (NR Cruise + vacation), I caught up on some TV. I finally finished the third season of The Killing. I won’t give away any major spoilers, but I’ve got to say the show is degenerating quickly. The main problem, I think, is that there are precious few likable characters anymore. The main character, Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), got kind of annoying this year. Her dysfunction and aversion to happiness is getting old. She’s still an interesting character, but you kind of want to tell her “get over yourself already.” Her partner, Holder (played brilliantly by Joel Kinnaman) is now the most likable and normal main character on the show and he’s a recovering meth head who talks like a wanna-be white rapper.

But the real problem with the third season is that instead of the deeply sympathetic family of Rosie Larsen, we get a bunch of street-urchin prostitutes and drug addicts to feel sorry for. The show’s writers seem to think that American audiences will instantly take a liking to a bunch of hustlers and drifters (or, to be more generous, that they will grow to love the little scamps). Maybe it’s a Scandinavian thing. Sure, I felt pity and sympathy for (many of) of them, but I didn’t really like the street kids the show spent so much time following. I guess I understand what the producers were going for, I just don’t think it worked dramatically. Sure, I wanted the murderer(s) and pornographers who prey on those kids to be caught and punished. But if the same kids loitered in front of my house, I’d shoo them away or call the cops on them. 

Then there was what amounted to a season-long fictional exposé of the death penalty. Peter Sarsgaard was great as Ray Seward the death-row inmate. But it all became so convoluted and — I’m trying to avoid spoilers — something of a huge waste of time. Moreover the whole idea that Seward would be on death row for his crime or that — even by waiving appeals — he could fast track his execution stretched plausibility. It was like Veena Sud (the show’s creator) was simply desperate to take The Killing to death row, no matter what. Eventually, I grew to be grateful for the death-row storyline because Seward was more compelling than the street urchins. 


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