Over the weekend I finished watching the first season of AMC’s series, The Killing. I’m about a year behind, as the second season recently completed, so I still have some catching up to do. In the meanwhile, I want to talk a little bit about why I like the show and why I disagree with the criticism of the series in its first year.
For those who don’t know, The Killing is based on a Danish television show called Forbrydelsen. Unfortunately Forbrydelsen is not available on DVD in the United States — though it can be had by other means, as you might expect — and so I can’t comment on how faithful of an adaptation The Killing is, but I can speak to The Killing as a standalone entity. I will try not to spoil anything involving the central mystery, though I do plan to talk about a couple of plot points, so if you haven’t seen the show, but want to, I suggest you not read on unless that sort of thing doesn’t bother you.
Forbrydelsen was a huge hit in its native country and during its first season The Killing averaged about two million viewers an episode which by network standards isn’t great, but is respectable in the realm of original cable programming. The Killing actually outdrew Mad Men, AMC’s flagship show, so clearly there was something about The Killing that people responded to. The show is about a murder and its investigation, the familiar beats of a television procedural paced out over many episodes, thus allowing for more false starts and dead ends and general mystery-type stuff. It also allows for us to get to know its main characters better, which is a plus for me.