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‘The Killing’ Resurrected: AMC's Cancelled Detective Drama Comes Back to Life
January 27, 2013  | By Eric Gould  | 12 comments

Like the defiant corpse in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Killing isn't dead just yet. Turns out the show that infamously followed (and followed, and followed) the murder investigation of Rosie Larsen was recently resurrected by AMC — the channel that cancelled it this past July.

Thats right, the show we loved, and then loved to hate, is coming back for another go after being cancelled almost immediately following its second season wrap last spring. It will be a new murder mystery, since the Rosie Larsen story finished up last year. (And to many, that was one season too many, too late.)

Various sources, including Variety, are reporting that, through a few financial concessions, some hard-selling by producer Veena Sud and possible shared production costs with Netflix, AMC has revived the show for another year.

The question is whether audiences will similarly take back The Killing.

There was much to love about the show in 2011, its premiere year. Like other shows in the AMC stable (Mad Men, Breaking Bad and the long-lost Rubicon) The Killing was a cinematic-quality television experience, following gloomy detectives Holder and Linden (Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos, top) through the even gloomier rain-soaked Seattle streets as they looked for a teen girl's killer. It also delivered incredible drama by taking viewers inside a family ripped apart by the murder of a child.

The Killing, when it started out, was gripping, gritty and, unfortunately, all too believable. It was also quite something to listen to, as well, with the score by Franz Bak taking many scenes notably deeper, especially last season's finale. (Bak also scored the original Danish version of the series, Forbrydelsen.)

And then, a funny thing happened on the way to what viewers presumed The Killing was: a one-season murder case. Just as Rosie got sucker-punched with a flashlight, so did the audience. Viewers sat primed, erroneously, for a one-season finale to the Larsen storyline. Then, the arc lurched, and went headlong into a second season at the conclusion of the first-season finale. And it didn't just go into the first episode of the second season as a reward for returning. The Larsen murder mystery ran all the way to the second season finale.

The message boards went haywire with rants, the ratings dropped and the second season letdown was palpable. For all the assets a single-season story arc has going for it — novel deep character depth, the feel of real time unfolding — a two-season trek has similar liabilities; umpteen twists in the investigation trail and writers left with unavoidable red herrings to toss around. Even Detective Holder seemed a little shady in a few episodes. At one point it seemed as though even the doorstop could have committed the Larsen murder.

Viewers who bought into the season-long arc (including me) but were accustomed to cases getting solved in one show, or a few, started tuning out. By the payoff — the second-season finale — the show's buzz and ratings were underwhelming.

Followers of the original Forbrydelsen knew the storyline ran two seasons before the murder was solved. But somehow in the States, the expectations were for one, due in part to AMC decision to not dissuade us otherwise.

So why bring the series back? Some of The Killing's appeal may be actors Enos (left) and Kinnaman, who were popular with fans even as they lost interest in the show itself. (The two may be the only returning major characters.) This summer Enos appears in the zombie tale Word War Z, and Kinnaman will turn up in the 2014 reboot of RoboCop. As wiggly as the Larsen storyline got, the Linden and Holder characters were always eccentric and watchable, and there was always the sense that a new case would bring similarly interesting results.

Producer Veena Sud and her team are obvioulsly capable of making great, compelling television, and reports have it that they presented a persuasive case for a new third season storyline, hence the show's return.

Sud clearly has the chops, exploring as she did the tragic loss of a young woman in all its unhappy detail. She saved the deepest and maybe the best drama for last season's finale, where we saw the missing reel of a self-made movie that Rosie had shot just before her death.

As the Larsens sit in their living room, Rosie smiles from the television screen, flipping through a series of hand-written cards, talking about how she looks forward to seeing the world and telling her family how much she loves them. It’s a beautiful, haunting moment as they see some of the last, happy moments of Rosie's life.

The Larsens got closure. And so did those who stuck around for 26 episodes.

Now The Killing has a second life. And presumably the new storyline will live within the boundaries of expectations — and a set number of episodes.

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I was so surprised when watching the Walking Dead finale last weekend to see a commercial the next case in "The Killing." I was really bummed when the show was cancelled. Even though Season 2 did prolong the case a little too much, every episode was still well written, well acted, and well produced. I think they producers have probably learned their leason about us American's universal ADHD and inability to stick with just one thing for too long. Frankly, I'm truly surprised that AMC does not get more negative publicity for splitting up seasons of shows (Breaking Bad and Walking Dead), that makes me peeved much more than a well made series that drags on a bit. Can't wait to get back into solving the case with Holder and Linden, I predict they will actually hook up this season too. Thank you AMC for resurrecting such a fine show.
Apr 5, 2013   |  Reply
Im a fan and I love this show so glad they're bringing back and looking foward to it, I never forgot about it and watched every episode
Feb 23, 2013   |  Reply
I LOVED this show! And didn't mind that the murder didn't get solved until the end of the second season. People just had expectations which weren't met. The acting, writing, casting, production were all first-rate. I'm so glad it's coming back for another season.
Feb 11, 2013   |  Reply
Robin, All -- Much, much, much to love about The Killing, especially in the style of Rubicon. Just sayin', 26 episodes for the payoff is a little much for even the most diehard fans. But all of you that stand by the show, that's loyalty. I'll be checking the new edition. –EG
Feb 12, 2013
I don't get all the kvetching about the extended season. It bounced around, and set a bunch of red herrings flying, but that's what mysteries are supposed to do. Hasn't anybody read any real mystery novels? I think we're so used to simple-minded mediocrity of the Castle kind that we no longer have the attention span to watch anything more complicated. I got frustrated with season 2 of The Killing, but that's what mysteries are supposed to do. Killing won't be a classic like Breaking Bad, but I look forward to another season of something actually worth the time.
Feb 10, 2013   |  Reply
I loved Season 1. Season 2 sucked because, as mentioned in this article, just about any character could have conceivably murdered Rosie Larsen. Even the actor who played "the murderer" wasn't aware of his/her character's role in the murder until right before filming. Handling the show in that manner, in my opinion, limits the ability of what actors can bring to a role.

Regardless, I will watch season 3, but like most people, the first few episodes are going to make or break any sort of long term commitment to watching this program.
Jan 31, 2013   |  Reply
I am almost positive this was done to irritate Rubicon fans! Could AMC release Rubicon on DVD at least?!

That was easily the 3rd best show AMC has done.
Jan 28, 2013   |  Reply
Rob -- Ya think?!!?! Where the heck is that DVD??? –EG
Jan 28, 2013
Stephen Wentworth
I agree with most of the sentiments already posted: first season was pretty darn good and got me hooked. Second season was a waste of our time. I suppose I'll give the new 3rd season a chance, but it will be on a very short leash indeed.
Jan 28, 2013   |  Reply
I was on board - I watched from day one. Sud promised it wouldn't be like Twin Peaks and that we would have a killer by the end of the season. Later I read an interview in which she admitted late season one episodes hadn't even been written when she promised to ID the killer.

It turned me off but I watched season 2. It's banal ending doubled my outrage.

I will NOT tune in to season 3. Mad Men returns in April, Game of Thrones at the end of March, and, most importantly, Breaking Bad returns in the summer for its final 8 episodes. How can I be bothered for a single little tiny killing? This is America. We have tens of thousands of them every year.
Jan 27, 2013   |  Reply
I'd say I'm willing to give "The Killing" another try. The first season was deep, emotionally riven, and beautifully done. But we certainly understand the letdown many had with the second season. It's an ongoing, hot topic. –EG
Jan 28, 2013
I'll be watching for this return. I almost didn't watch season 2, but there the episode was on my DVR. I was pulled right back in. I wish AMC had been able to make the same decision for Rubicon.
Jan 27, 2013   |  Reply
The fact that the American version lost the interest of its audience says more about the audience than about the series, scripts and actors.
Jan 27, 2013   |  Reply
Each time we discuss "The Killing", there are a majority of emails supporting the show, lobbying hard for its choices and its long-form structure. We're happy to see defenders of the show arguing passionately as to why we should like it -- because there is much to like, despite the long haul. –EG
Jan 28, 2013
Call me crazy, but I thought the way the last episode of the first season ended was magnificent. It amazes me how many people insist on conformity when the unexpected is so much more fun.
Jan 27, 2013   |  Reply
I ordered the Danish version (Forbrydelsen) and bought an international DVD player on which to watch it. It was superb! I also bought season 2, which I have not seen. I liked the American version, especially the actors. I'm very glad they have resurrected the series. All the excellent series are on cable.
Jan 27, 2013   |  Reply
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