From writer, executive producer and series showrunner, Veena Sud (Cold Case
), The Killing
is based on the wildly successful Danish television series Forbrydelsen
and tells the story of the murder of a young girl in Seattle and the subsequent police investigation. The Killing
ties together three distinct stories around a single murder including the detectives assigned to the case, the victim's grieving family, and the suspects. Set in Seattle, the story also explores local politics as it follows politicians connected to the case. As the series unfolds, it becomes clear that there are no accidents; everyone has a secret, and while the characters think they've moved on, their past isn't done with them.
The Danish television series, Forbrydelsen
, earned ecstatic reviews as it gradually rolled out around the world. But, given that the show was in the Danish language, its audience was limited. It was almost inevitably that an American remake would be on the cards, and the 13-episode series, The Killing
, is the result.
It’s best to treat The Killing as a different show to its Danish forbearer, although the content is similar. The central premise surrounds the murder of a young girl, and the police investigation that follows into the crime. It’s this single case that provides the main thrust of the series, but what The Killing does is approach it from a series of different angles. Thus, we see the case from the perspective of the police, the victim’s family, and the assorted suspects. It makes for a crime drama far deeper than usual, with a collection of compelling characters, all coloured in shades of grey.
The storytelling of The Killing is deliberately slow and measured, but then there’s a lot that needs to be taken in. And, particularly in the early stages of the series, it proves a worthy companion to Forbrydelsen.
That said, The Killing does stumble a little, on its way to an ending that could comfortably be described as divisive. There are no spoilers here, short of to say that the final episode is bound to invoke some kind of reaction. It’s best for you to work out whether that’s a good thing for yourself.
At its peak, The Killing is excellent television, however. It’s confident enough to measure its story out, and only occasionally relies on familiar story conventions to sustain interest. For the most part, it’s intense, character-driven and compelling drama. No wonder a second season was ordered so quickly. --Jon Foster