The Killing's Slow Descent to No-Goodness

How did The Killing go from being my favorite new series to a weekly chore? Maybe that’s harsh, but the show is just not fulfilling the promise of its pilot. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way: over the past few weeks, critical backlash has built up against the former critic’s darling. But lest you think I’m being anti for the sake of hipness, let’s talk about why Sunday night’s episode annoyed me to no end.

I’ve never had any real suspicions that Bennett Ahmed killed Rosie, because hi, I know how mysteries work. You don’t introduce a suspect that early on and provide more and more evidence against him just to conclude that yes, he did the deed. And yet, we’ve spent far too much time on this red herring. We literally don’t have any other leads, which means that we’re no closer to finding out who killed Rosie than we were at the beginning. And that’s frustrating. A good mystery should build—sure, distract us with Bennett, but at least offer some alternate possibilities so we have other routes to investigate.

Not to mention the fact that The Killing’s plot is very derivative, and I don’t just mean from the original Danish series. Anyone else thinking about Mystic River? Frankly, how could you not? Let’s see, young girl is murdered. Her father seeks revenge. The prime suspect’s wife voices her suspicions. The father takes the law into his own hands, realizing too late that he’s killed the wrong guy. I’m not suggesting The Killing intentionally lifted its story from Mystic River, but this routine has been done before. What I loved about the series was how unique it seemed early on; now it just feels like a retread.

Meanwhile, the Richmond stuff continues to go nowhere. You can’t argue that nothing is happening—his campaign experiences its share of ups and downs on a weekly basis. But what does any of this have to do with Rosie Larsen? I figure there must be some connection that we haven’t seen yet, aside from the affect Rosie has on Richmond politically. But the series needs to do more to tie its disparate storylines together, because as it stands, the Richmond scenes don’t mesh with the investigation.

And yet, I will continue watching The Killing, because hey, it’s a short season and I want to find out whodunit. I’ll keep reviewing the show whenever I have something interesting to say—but the show will have to find something interesting to say first. Because while I maintain that the first half of the season was some of the best television I’ve seen in recent memory, I can’t pretend The Killing is still appointment viewing for me.

Is this simply a function of drawing out a mystery on a TV series? It’s certainly a challenge—you have to sustain audience interest, provide sufficient clues, but also realistically maintain momentum over the course of several episodes. On The Killing, the pace of the investigation makes sense in terms of how little time has passed, but as a viewer, it’s becoming unbearable. Especially after last night’s episode, in which we learned how much time we’ve wasted chasing the wrong man. What’s next? And does anyone still care?

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@smithinjapan
they have said they changed who the killer is from the orignial. So dw, about spoilers from the original :)

And seriously...you get a realistic cop show and start complaining about the slow moving plot....sheesh.
I agree this was a very predictable event, but that was never suppoed to be a big twist...it was all about showing the irrational behaviour of people in deep grief and why personal involvement just doesn't work outside a Bad Boys movie
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God will someone kill this show...I am so bored...as it is moving so slowly....I have watched the original Danish version and that was slow, boring and went on for 20 episodes.....and you didn't know who did it till you got to episode 19.....
so please kill it before it kills me.....
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I was riveted from beginning to end of episode Undertow , Phew what an episode. The killing of Bennet while expected took my breath away at the sheer violence and passion in that scene. I cant wait to see the rest of the season.
ps: at this stage frankly I dont care again who killed Rosie am just excited at the journey to find out who killed her. Wow
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That's why I love Prime Suspect. In most episodes/seasons, whatever, it's literally the guy that seems like he did it who did it. He seems suspicious, then the evidence mounts against him and eventually, yeah, he did it. The deal is about how you actually catch him. How do you prove it was him? Are you REALLY sure he did it even though he's never admitted to it? Maybe you're missing something here. That and the great depiction of police politics made for a great, original series. Let's see how the remake fares.
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Thanks for the spoilers, guys! I haven't seen the original and liked the mystery of it (like Louis I knew it wasn't Ahmed, but hey). Ah well... should have known better than to look at the comments.
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pS, if Alan dale is in a tv show, he is always a very pivotal character. You can bet your house on it that he had something to do with the attempted cover up to the mayor killing Rosie by accident.
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Whoever the blogger here is, banging on the last episode, they should just stop blogging about tv shows cause it is apparent they are not clues up enough to understand that the last episode dropped the biggest clue to the mystery to date!!
Thelast episode gave us clues that will now start revealing over these final episodes that the current mayor did it. He was up on stand denying sexual relations and then you saw how his wife shrugged him off away frm the cameras, showing she knows what he is like. He then would have had the opposing candidates girlfriend, get her fathers men to steal a car from the chick who works with him on the campaign and dump the body in order to hurt his campaign and get away from a mistake.
The current mayor will get found out and then the dude running for the campaign will win the election because the current mayor turns out to be a killer.

It is so obvious and the last episode is when they started dropping the clues aiming at the mayor. Massive pivotal point in the entire series and you can bet that every episode from here on out will be focused in a fast paced direction leading up to the arrest of the current mayor.

I suggest the blogger actually pay attention instead of thinking she is some professional judge of a television show.
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I'm liking this show more and more, actually, I'm loving it.

What Mr Peitzman wrote up here is just ridiculous crap hopefully noones's interested in.
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I still like the show, though I gotta admit it's getting more annoying every episode (they have been after the wrong guy for quite some time - are they really that narrow-minded? what about collecting actual evidence?). I also don't give a damn about the whole election campaign and right now it's got nothing to do with the murder and just steals screen time from important/interesting characters. Also it's really weird to see the police chief working so hard against his detectives. Is he trying to let a murderer walk free?
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I love this show, the script is great and the performances wonderful. I think Michelle Forbes is a standout. I'm riveted every week and am enjoying the progress of the story!
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I still enjoy watching it. A lot of people have the attention spans of goldfish.
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@Taccado and anyone else interested. I will try not to write any spoilers but still explain the differences between the two shows. If you are neurotic about spoilers, please stop reading now. I would not call this here below spoilers but some people probably would.

They seem to have made some writing mistakes when doing the remake and trying to cut almost half of the material from the original script. The original danish show did not feel especially slow, except maybe for some small parts. They also made a better job of making everyone a suspect, even the politicians. So, both the politicians storyline were better, and they also had a clear reason for being in the story, as suspects and other reasons too. The boyfriend also had more reason for being in the story, other than being just a boyfriend. Actually all characters (as i remember) in the original had much more reasons for being in the story, and most of them were suspects too. In the remake they have missed alot of that unfortunately, both having a lot of suspects and "suspicious" clues, scenes and also tense, thrilling moments that arose from all that. That is the major problem i think, but still i would not say the remake is a bad show. But the original was a bit better. Also it can be partly a cultural thing, american viewers in general seem to prefer things that are faster and louder, and also seems to be more nitpicky of small details. I dont know if european viewers have more suspension of disbelief for small faults, red herrings and such things in a show, or if it is because the writing problems in the remake that makes mistakes like that more obvious. The original also had mistakes, but you didnt care because it was thrilling and entertaining. Watch the original too, and season two of the original. Season two has one of the greatest politician-characters ever seen on tv i.m.o.
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I disagree with you for the most part. The show is meant to be a slow burn - similar to how a real-life murder case would pan out. It's realistic, and it doesn't have many (or any) sensationalizing aspects to the story. It's gritty, rough around the edges, and truthful. While I agree that the political aspects seem to have little relevance at this point, I guarantee it will be significant eventually.
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This isn't a 13-hour-long episode of CSI. It's not called The Killing of Rosie Larsen. Just The Killing. Vague. Broad. Limitless in its scope, save for the central mystery. Let the story breathe, for heaven's sake.
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On second thought, this week's was OK, although for one little family they're always exactly where they need to be to take matters into their own hands. That and it's nice to see cops forced to work within some framework of civil liberties. The state has to prove its case and it's nice to see them have to justify their actions. That said, this needs to wrap up and soon.
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I've committed to seeing the season through, but I won't be back if there's a season 2. Got to agree with several points made in the article - what's the relevance of all this political stuff? Why did we have to spend so long on a dead end full of red herrings? But I'm definitely counting the episodes until this story is over with. The acting is awesome but the story is a twisting maze going nowhere - the first time I've been disappointed in an AMC series. Ah well.
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Billy Campbell is second billed - which is what makes me think that the political stuff Is important. i can't see them second billing somebody who's just a filler. Hope I'm right.
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I must confess that I don't usually start on continuing dramas - no capacity for delayed gratification - but I started "The Killing" because I didn't know; I was bored and it was on. That having been said, I must say that the show began to hook me. The acting was superb, the plot intriguing (although reminiscent of "Mystic River") and I was beginning to get interested in who might have murdered Rosie.
Then they went off a cliff. Muslim Terrorists? OMG. Even as a red herring it's just so "Been Done". Running into an FBI Sting? Ditto. I've gotten tired of Richardson's campaign and keep hanging in thinking that it Must be germaine.
Frankly now it's become a chore, and I'm just hanging in hoping that the murderer will be revealed at the end of the season. If the solution gets carried over until some Next season, I'll Quit and will no longer care. This is now the biggest waste of time I've gotten involved in since "Twin Peaks."
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Wow, I've read a few comments and wonder what people were expecting. The whole season is devoted to the story of one case. This isn't CSI with two or three cases disposed of in short order. I watched the Danish version and enjoyed it up to the final episode where I found the resolution to be weak. But nineteen episodes out of twenty is not bad. I've found the AMC version marginally better. Like The Wire it is more ambitious than a weekly crime story fix. Obviously not to everyone's taste.
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In both series (Danish and AMC) there is a clear effort to tell a story that has not been abbreviated to fit between a few commercials. Leads that don't give satisfactory results are undoubtedly a part of real cases. In this story they can be more interesting than the story that leads to actual resolution (that is as close as I'll get to a spoiler). I think it works better if you save up a few episodes to watch together rather than one per week.
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I gave up on it, which is very rare for me. I just didn't feel like watching it anymore.
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it all comes down to this: The Killing is trying too hard to both extend the mystery over multiple seasons and distance itself from its Danish counterpart. It's the same thing that happened to Modern Family, after the critical acclaim and the guarantee of a 2nd season, the show fell into disrepair, as the writing got sloppy, the actors lazy and the reliance on those who adored the show became unbearable to first time watchers.
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I really enjoy the show. Maybe I'm just ignorant when it comes to good tv but it's entertaining to me. Probably my favorite show since The Wire. Up there with Breaking Bad and The Pacific
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I watched two episodes of this show and it bored me to death. Glad I got out early...
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I agree with the review. The show is moving at too slow a pace with few new developments. It was very promising at the start but I've grown a little bored.
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Glad Im not the only one who thought the same--



I don't think Bennet is dead. I think he will survive into a coma and die in the second last episode as something will still lead into something else.



The next episode will bring our attention back--if not--it will ruin it for most.

I will regardless watch it until the end of the season to see how it progresses.

I'm curious how the show will continue into further seasons. If we know the killer by the end of the season--there has to be more to learn about that. Like say we found out the killer in the finale, there will have to be a new crime for us to figure out--a related one too.
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After the first 3 episodes I decided I wouldn't be watching it anymore. Took it off my Tivo list. Got boring for me. Maybe I'll just wait for the DVD and watch it then...., maybe. Breakout Kings way more enjoyable to watch.
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Normally, I would say those last statements and questions in this review are stupid, but the author seems intelligent. So why such stupid statements? Simple. In order to induce replies. Nonetheless they are just stupid. Why? Because this was the best episode so far. Because not only was Bennet innocent, but he also helped another girl. Becasue of moral implcations of what happened in this episode for Rosie's family. Because this is not a detective story, but a drama.
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This show started at the same time as "Breakout Kings" and I was taping that and watching "The Killing" but as the seasons of both have progressed I am getting way more hooked on "Breakout Kings". Hope A & E is smart enough to keep this show around. The political stuff on "The Killing" is what is killing the show for me. The show started with such promise but has been just boring the last couple of weeks. I am surprised that there is no press angle in this show at all, if a murder like this happened to a young girl after a high school dance and the police were dragging their feet and no suspects were emerging wouldn't the press be all over the police? Also, not enough Callum Keith Rennie. I liked having "Leoben" around. Michelle Forbes, Brent Sexton, Mireille Enos, and Joel Kinnaman are the only actors that continue to make this must see tv - those four all doing stellar work. All the rest, Billy Campbell especially, just aren't working and you can just fast forward through all the politics because it adds nothing but boredom to the story.
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It is kind of dragged out...well really...I was feeling that this week. But it's still a good show. The couple people who said the dialogue/characters are bad are wrong. And @ooominhooo you're a moron. The dialogue is great, and this show is much more than "remotely clever". Go watch CSI Miami. It does need to pick up a bit, but it's far from being no-good, as Mr. Peitzman seems to suggest. The writing is still excellent, as is the acting and technical aspects.
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I have always thought it was the red headed campaign staffer.
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But Bennet didn't kill Rosie.... Weird review Louis....
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i just wrote a ranting review yesterday. 3 storylines are not enough, the political thing is quite boring. I wish they would bring more backstory in - like Rosie's friends, Mitch's sister, etc.
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I didn't think it was THAT bad, but there were definitely things about it that got me frustrated. Mainly that there just happened to be 2 of the same exact Grand Canyon t-shirts involved. The odds of that happening are just ridiculously low and unrealistic. Richmond's story inched along again as well and you know they're holding out for the last episodes which makes his story pretty boring in the meantime. The twist with Bennet and Muhammed made some sense at least, but it is true that it basically brings the investigation back the square one and that's annoying. Thankfully there are clues left that haven't been addressed much, like the super 8 film and the new name/address Linden found. But regardless, it does feel like they were treading water for a few episodes. Last week I loved the character development and it distracted me from the lack of mystery, but this week it was a bit more noticeable. If it does get picked up for season 2 I hope the writing staff figures out how to better handle the middle of the story and keep up the intrigue.
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still," the killing "must see show to me,and i agree completely,but i think that how it works,even the best tv-shows have their own trembling time to time
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I'm done watching...I don't care who killed her anymore.
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This show started off so well and now it's just dragging. The fact that they included the political aspect makes me think they just needed some filler to stretch out the season. I give The Killing credit for trying something new but it's blatantly obvious that they never had enough material for a 13 episode season and now the viewer is suffering for it.
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I still like The Killing, but I've gotten a tad -- just a tad -- bored of the show. I figure it must be hard to make a (good) multi-season series based on ONE murder mystery, but I think the biggest problem so far is that most viewers are likely to dismiss the first real suspect as the killer. The route they're taking with the police investigation is realistic -- they're following clues and hunches and everything is pointing at Bennet and Muhamed -- but since most viewers already know/expect it's not them -- just because of the simple fact that Bennet is the first real suspect, it's a tad boring to keep watching episode after episode of the police focusing on someone the likely vast majority highly doubts to be the killer. Oh, and I'll just include this: I think the Mayor is the killer. Dun dun dunnnn.
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The last episode was one of the best for me. I just skipped everything that looked boring: the mayor election, or any other moments that aren't connected to the case.
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This show is terrible. The writing, the pacing, and the characters are all bad. I don't care if a show is slow and deliberate, it still has to be remotely clever or suspenseful.
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Disagree with your opinion. I think that maybe the show just isnt the type that will have mass appeal, its dark, bleak and realistic and maybe thats why some people feel let down after the hype. It spends a lot of time on character development, showing us why the characters make some of their decisions, often bad ones, and then how they deal with the consequences rather than throwing lots of twists and turns our way. Never expected that we would have solid leads on the actual killer at this stage.
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I still think it's pretty good. It might not be better then some episodes, but I think it's turning out to be a great series.
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It should be better than it is. It's just impossible that she'd still be around at this point.
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Creedguy20002: Callum Keith Rennie on the show was also in Harper's Island. But to the point: Could someone please tell me how this American version compares to the Danish one? I'm just wondering since the Danish version was so praised. So if the American version is exactly like the Danish one, why isn't it succeeding in the same way? Or is the plot, or the pace of it, very much different in the Danish version?
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I don't think the second half has been any worse than the first; it's all been pretty bad. The dialogue is cringe worthy at times, almost every aspect of the plot is derivative of something, and they keep wasting time on misleads that should be spent on telling us about Rosie. Stop trying to build suspense and make us give a damn about this dead girl, 'cause were nine episodes in and I still don't care about seeing her killer(s) brought to justice, just about satisfying my curiosity.
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Sure this last episode had some annoying bits with Linden calling him on the phone a second time after already knowing where he was. I guess this is the subtle version of the detectives yelling police or calling out the suspects name always early enough to give the suspect time to bolt. Either way, it's stupid writing and I know this show is better than that. Secondly I'm really getting tired of Michelle Forbes showing up like the boogeyman every time Linden turns around with that crazy hobo look of hers.

As for the article, I disagree. I think there have been plenty of clues and I have my own suspects in mind. What I really enjoyed about coming to this conclusion is that the clues were somewhat masked around other events. Finally, I really enjoy the political segments. The Mosque Imam with the giant chip on his shoulder is getting on my nerves, but I can't wait to see Richmond's decision to not throw Ahmed under the bus win him the election because the Mayor condemned Ahmed on National TV leading to his beating(probably not death).
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I share your sentiment. I told myself that if this week's episode didn't catch my interest then I would drop this show.
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While the writing on this show is 100x better, I thought Harper's Island did a pretty good job with pace and dropping clues. Granted they killed off the entire cast over the season, but at least you knew things were going somewhere. Brandon Jay McLaren (Bennet) was in that show to.
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