THE KILLING (2011- )

Season 3

Genre: TV Crime drama (on-going series)

Runtime: 45 minutes each episode

Rating: TV-14

Reviewed by Sam Waas

Can we say noir? THE KILLING (AMC network, Sundays) has it to the nines. If you're a fan of dark, moody drama, not necessarily violent but drenched in cloaked motives and desires, this TV series is for you.

THE KILLING, just beginning its third season, is a drama that originated in the Danish TV thriller The Crime, transposed to the States and developed by executive producer and writer Veena Sud, and imbued with the same Scandinavian-flavored angst, the Weltanschauung that's so popular nowadays.

The show is set in Seattle, actually filmed in Vancouver (which show isn't?), with the indigenous upper west coast rainy climate prevalent and used to set the tone of the entire drama. Scenes are filmed in chiaroscuro with a plethora of twilight shades, dirty blues and grays, never bright. Sets are sparsely furnished with seeming hand-me-downs, both interior and exterior lighting full of shadows and illusion. It's reminiscent of the superb SF film Dark City.

The weather and production design serve as backdrop for the rain that's always falling inside the show's characters, who masterfully echo their surroundings. Everyone is undergoing some sort of bleak epiphany, is sarcastic, sullen, and self-absorbed. Everybody wears bulky coats that mask movement and identity. Everyone smokes although claims to have quit. Relationships are chancy and prone to disaster. Even friendships are an invitation to pain.

Within this eternal gloom, homicide investigator Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and her partner Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) take on a single but ever-expanding murder each season. One might think this to be a thin framework onto which to hang an entire season, but in fact, the steady patience with which the layers of plot are revealed create elegant tension in the viewers' mind. Less is more in THE KILLING.

Forget bright, million-dollar labs or advanced computers that solve complex crimes before the first commercial. Forget genius consultants backing up stalwart, photogenic cops. Forget car chases, foot chases, gunfights. Forget rapid-fire confrontations so prevalent in other police procedural shows.

Instead prepare for extensive exposition into the underbelly of the human soul, both of those committing crime and those affected by it. Expect brilliantly underwritten dialogue and superbly underplayed scenes from nuanced actors. Expect a carefully constructed plotline that draws you into its deep luminescent folds and leaves you impatient for the next episode.

I won't talk much about the specific plot of the current season three. A young teen "working girl" is viciously murdered and it's soon discovered that numerous other victims have been disposed of in a swampy dumping ground. Detective Linden, probably the most obsessed cop ever, and her partner Holder, whom I think the best and rudest homicide cop possible, commit to finding the serial killer. They probe into Seattle's street crime, low-level pimping, and prostitution by a host of lost young women, children actually.

THE KILLING is, in my estimation, the finest police thriller on TV today, rivaled only by Justified. I urge you to catch up on the earlier season three episodes via your cable provider. For those wondering, watching the first two seasons is unnecessary to involve yourself in this third year, as each season stands alone. And yes, you can read the synopsis in other places but actually viewing the episodes is recommended to invest yourself in the flavor of this show. Need I say noir?

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