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The Binge-Watch List: The Killing won't stay buried

Monty Ashley | Aug. 11, 2014
It's not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That's more of a challenge. Every other week, we'll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

It's not hard to find TV shows to watch these days. But finding good ones to watch amid all the streaming video services fighting for your attention and your eyeballs? That's more of a challenge. Every other week, we'll help you separate a would-be House of Cards from the rest of the pack, as we look at which streaming TV shows are worth your time.

After two seasons on AMC, The Killing got canceled. Then it returned for a third season, thanks to a deal with Netflix, only to get canceled again. But The Killing hadn't run out of lives just yet — a week ago, the six-episode fourth season arrived on Netflix, bringing the series to an official end. You know, just like it had ended the previous two times.

Should you bother with the this-time-we-mean-it finale of The Killing? And, since Netflix hosts all four seasons of The Killing, is it worth watching the show from the start now that end is nigh? Let's get the bottom to each of these mysteries.

What it's about

First, there was a Danish show called Forbrydelsen. I'm told it's very good. Luckily for me, AMC made an English-language version, thus protecting me from the terrifying experience of having to read subtitles. The US version is set in Seattle and starts with two homicide detectives investigating the death of a teenager named Rosie Larsen. Things get complicated, and the investigation takes up two entire seasons.

The two detectives are, as is fairly common in this genre, a mismatched pair. Sarah Linden (Mirelle Enos) is experienced, taciturn, and starts the series one day away from leaving Seattle forever. She's joined by Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman, who you might have seen in the 2014 remake of Robocop), who's been working undercover with the vice squad. So while they investigate the murder, they have to become used to each other's quirks. If this setup appeals to you, I also recommend the 1988 film version of Dragnet, which takes a somewhat lighter approach than what you'll find in The Killing.

What makes it interesting

Taking a single murder investigation and spinning it out for two seasons allows the show's creators to pack in a lot of detail. After just a couple of episodes, the plot expands far enough to include a campaign for mayor. Things don't get as crazy as they do in Twin Peaks (another show in which a Pacific Northwest murder gets investigated for a long time), but over the 26 episodes of The Killing's first two seasons, there's a lot of opportunity for things to get complicated. The cases in the third and fourth seasons aren't as complex, but that's bound to happen when the producers don't know if they're going to get renewed or not.

 

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