I stopped  doing television reviews a while back for no other reason than I wasn’t watching any. At least, none that were remotely relevant to the site. But I am now four episodes in to AMC’s THE KILLING, an American remake of the Danish television series, FORBRYDELSEN, that I figured I may start posting my thoughts on the episodes. Starting with last night’s.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show’s premise, it deals with the investigation into the murder of Rosie Larsen, a high-school student found in the trunk of a car pulled from a remote pond. Each of the thirteen episodes represents one day in the life of the two detectives in charge of the case, the friends and family of the deceased and all the red herrings in between. Filling in the gaps is a bit of a WEST WING political plot-line that will undoubtedly become more relevant to Rosie’s murder — especially considering the car she was found in belonged to the campaign of Darren Richmond, a politician running for mayor of Seattle.

We are now four days into the hunt for Rosie’s killer or killers and I am going to admit for the first time since I started watching, I got a bit bored last night. Starting with a strong opening episode that not only hooked me, but also had me singing its praises in one of our podcasts, a pattern started to appear in the next two episodes that had me growing wary on investing much more time into the show.

I didn’t like how each episode would introduce a likely suspect in the final moments, then explain them away with the first moments of the next. It was starting to feel like an episode of COLD CASE, where the tiresome formula of an episode consisted of detectives going from one suspect to the next before finding out it was the second one they talked to, becoming as predictable as a SCOOBY-DOO mystery. In the case of THE KILLING, it was looking like this formula was going to be employed as well but to an entire season rather than a single episode.

Luckily that did not happen last night, with Rosie’s teacher, Bennet Ahmed, not being ruled out as a suspect by the end of the episode even if he did have some answers to why he held a particularly honed interest in Rosie. While that was a good sign, I was more disappointed with some surprisingly terrible writing that included such groaners as lead detective Sarah Linden asking her partner, “Do you ever wonder whether you can really know a person? I mean really know a person?” Ugh.  Or when Sarah and her partner Stephen go back to question Principal Meyers about Bennet and she follows up her remark of “Don’t you think I would have told you anything of importance?” with “Oh yeah, there was this one incident with a student, but she was a mental case, and his current wife is a former student of his.” Double ugh. I hate when whodunits do this as it is a cheap way for the creators to change everything you know on a whim, shoehorning any of the possible suspects into the role of the killer in the endgame.

There is also the depressing business of Rosie’s parents and her little brothers. I do like the fact that the show is not shying away from the effects of losing a child and all the grief and collateral damage that goes with it, but for some reason last night was a just a bit too much to watch. From Stanley’s breakdown in the bathroom, to the funeral home business, to the brother’s confusion and feelings of being neglected — it was almost too much drab material for one sitting. Top all that off with the incident int he grocery store where Rosie’s mother is blatantly shunned by another woman as if she was a walking turd leaking herpes. She and her husband are not suspects in the death of their daughter, and I get people may be awkward around someone whose kid was just murdered, but I had a hard time suspending my disbelief with this scene.

Lastly, the political angle my engross some, but I really wish they would marry it into the investigation into Rosie’s death a little quicker and a lot stronger than what we have now. A campaign car and Ahmed being the leader of one of Richmond’s athletic programs is not enough to warrant all of the time spent detailing Richmond’s campaign and all of the backstabbing and espionage that has goes along with it. I honestly do not care about anything going on with that storyline at the moment and it feels too much like watching two shows in one. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the link between these two plotlines strengthens in the next episode as we’re almost halfway through with the series and I’m starting to worry that even the writers don’t know who the killer is at the moment — although it has been mentioned it will not be the same one from the Danish series. If this rumor is true, and they are pulling a LOST, it will become painfully more apparent in the remaining episodes and probably lead to a conclusion that will not satisfy and leave loose ends dangling.

On the plus side the episode looked as good as ever. I also liked the lab tech informing Sarah that Rosie did not have drugs or alcohol in her system, but did test positive for ammonium hydroxide on her body and in her lungs. He explains this could be the reasons for the lack of evidence under her nails and not being able to determine if their was a sexual assault. This leads to Sarah remarking the killer sounds like a pro, to which the technician responds he wouldn’t be surprised if the killer had done it before. The possibility of a serial killer? Interesting, but I doubt it.

As it stands now, I think that Rosie witnessed something while out “experiencing the world” with her camera, something that would hurt someone’s political career. I’m guessing she was murdered by someone acting on that politician’s behalf, whether that politician knew it or not, shortly after helping Bennet with his floors. Bennett is being reluctant to reveal that info because he knows how bad it would look and his former student, very pregnant wife probably wouldn’t be too happy knowing about his relationship with Rosie that closely mimics the way theirs started.

I’m still in, but I gotta give this episode 2 out of 5 stars.

[rating:2/5]

Anyone else watching this? If you want to comment, let’s keep the discussion only to events and reveals of this and past episodes. No spoilers. That includes events from the Danish series.

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