“The Killing” is dead, and it’s all AMC’s fault.
Despite canceling the frustrating crime drama after the second season due to falling ratings, and then bringing it back for a third season after making a deal with Netflix, AMC has decided to end “The Killing” for good.
Summer 2014 will be a sad one for viewers: Season 3 ended with the biggest cliffhanger since the finale of Season 1 failed to reveal Rosie Larsen’s killer, and with no likelihood of Season 4 on the horizon, the fate of Detective Sarah Linden and her (spoiler alert!) homicidal choices will remain a mystery.
“The Killing,” regardless of dwindling viewership, displayed some seriously awesome writing and acting in Season 3. Here’s why AMC (and Fox Productions) should cancel their candlelight vigils for the drama and keep it on the air instead:
Bex Taylor-Klaus’s portrayal of teenage lesbian Bullet is perfect
Bullet, despite being a secondary character, has that tough-girl persona that at first is off-putting, but you soon learn that it’s just a defense mechanism. She is endearing in a tragic way — a runaway who gets into trouble, but means well. Bullet is raped in the first episode while looking for her friend Kallie, whose disappearance is the basis for the plot of Season 3. Yet the brutality of what happened to Bullet fails to quell her never-ending loyalty to Kallie in her search, and her touching relationship with Joel Kinnaman’s character, Detective Stephen Holder, serves to amplify Bullet’s odd charm and give viewers a sense of security that Bullet is not truly alone.
Even though (spoiler alert!) Bullet is killed by the serial killer hunting down young female runaways, AMC could easily expand on her backstory and provide suffering viewers with some closure that Bullet’s life wasn’t always sad and chaotic.
Seattle, WA is the best backdrop for the bleak darkness that is “The Killing”
Though Vancouver serves as the filming location for the show, Seattle, WA is more relevant and familiar to the audience of “The Killing.” Creator and executive producer Veena Sud picked the location because Seattle “served as the perfect metaphor for every character and the theme of the show.” It is dark, bleak and sad in every episode: The city appears to be undisturbed and quiet due to the muffling of the constant rain, yet horrible crimes still happen.
The show’s setting makes it real and personal. It is depressing in the worst kind of way — a teenage girl’s murder is the basis for Season 1, and countless girls are dead in Season 3 — and it never really gets any sunnier. Yet it is the false sense of hope that draws in viewers: Each episode is spent longing for the sun to break through the dreariness and the grittiness that serves as the playground for Seattle’s crime games.
Everyone loves to hate-love Sarah Linden
Sarah Linden, played by Mireille Enos, embraces the anti-hero identity with clear-cut precision. Her lack of emotion (besides anger) suits her well, as she tends to hide behind oversized out-of-style sweaters and her gun in order to get answers from suspects. She’s unfriendly, detached and quiet: How could anyone root for her?
The answer is that Linden has passion. Despite her distant nature, Linden borders on obsessive when it comes to cases, especially in Season 3 when a previous case reemerges that had landed her in a psych ward years before. Linden may be terrible at relationships (her teenage son is taken from her in Season 2 and is not a big part of her life in Season 3) but she does her job well. She even displays a surprising amount of physical strength and innate courage in the most recent season, characteristics that make her more human and relatable.
Linden’s shocking and out-of-character moment in the Season 3 finale is the BIGGEST reason AMC needs to keep “The Killing” on air. There is too much unresolved conflict and potential punishment in store for Sarah that must be addressed, not to mention what this may mean for other characters.
Unresolved endings for the Larsen family, Kallie, and Kallie’s mom
When we last saw the Larsens in Season 2, Rosie’s killer had been identified (it was her aunt!), Rosie’s mother had finally returned from abandoning her family (she couldn’t deal with her daughter’s death!) and Rosie’s father had been having a hell of a time keeping away from the mob (he used to run it!). The Larsen’s complex family issues were so very human that it made the whole murder case even more devastating. But there was zero mention of them in Season 3, despite being the focus of the first two seasons.
Even if AMC won’t return to the Larsen storyline, why not bring in another complex family? Kallie and her mother had barely ANY screen time in Season 3. It was hinted strongly that Kallie’s mother was a former drug addict and a neglectful mother, but she loved her daughter. She didn’t even get to know what happened to Kallie at the end! NO ONE DID. Fan fiction can’t give fans closure on this one, AMC.
Scary dudes like Peter Sarsgaard make the whole ordeal worth it
Sarsgaard’s character, Ray Seward, is in prison for the entire season, which just adds to the sunshine-y cheerfulness that defines the show. He fools the audience into thinking that he’s a cold-blooded wife-killer — a deranged sociopath who doesn’t care that he permanently scarred his young son, Adrian. Seward’s wife’s murder case is the sole reason Linden developed an obsession with detective work, as well as an obsession with helping Adrian give her the real story of what happened to his mother.
If AMC can pull off another twisted murder case and use the prison or another creepy setting as a plot device, “The Killing” can certainly be saved. Audiences love a good serial killer — especially if they aren’t sure that he did it.
Think AMC should keep its burial plot for “The Killing?” Or is the depressing-yet-thrilling crime drama salvageable? Hit us up in the comment section below or tweet us @SpeakeasyMag.